Z Art Space is proud to present Montreal-based artist Felicity Tayler’s solo exhibition, Rewriting. Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Confederation of Canada and the 375th of the settlement of Montréal, this exhibition presents a series of paintings, collage, and installation works produced by the artist between 2006 and 2015. This was also the period when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister of Canada. The series, White Butterfly, responds to this recent past with a conceptual challenge to the formation of national identity in Canada and Québec.
White Butterfly solicits an indirect, almost subconscious response to the official discourse and to the many critiques arising from the present moment of commemoration. The modernist notion of national identity is deconstructed by the artist so that it can be reconstructed by a viewer. White Butterfly proposes a ‘rewriting’ of national identity formations that takes place through the emotional process of engaging with images. Identity is experienced as an ambivalent state, both predefined and amenable to self-determination. In that sense, the artist proposes a condition of possibility for a post-national identity linked to local histories.
Tayler's cross-media fragmentation creates a space to reflect on the emotional dimension of belonging or exclusion. White Butterfly series uses subversive artistic strategies, such as appropriation, imitation, reproduction, and reframing, to engage with historical tropes of Canadian and Québécois nationhood. While recognizing the important place of identity-based politics, and the right to representation as structural challenges to state authority, this body of work also asks, what agency does an individual have when emotional bonds are created through long-term exposure to ubiquitous media images and Euro-Canadian modern art? Referencing magazine pictures and newspaper headlines alongside works by 20th century Canadian and Québécois art historical figures, such as Tom Thompson, Joyce Wieland, Roy Kiyooka, Alanis Obomsawin and Yves Robillard, the White Butterfly series raises issues of cultural authenticity and appropriation, as they relate to the creation of a sense of self both within and beyond national boundaries.
The exhibition includes a sound track by Christian Carrière, featuring Melted Crystal, a psychedelic rock anthem by Japan-based band, Kikagaku Moyo.
Felicity Tayler is an artist, researcher, and writer based in Toronto and Montreal. She holds a PhD in Humanities and a Masters in Library and Information Studies. Drawing from professional experience in libraries, her art practice is informed by "archival encounters" and means in which the media for social imaginaries. Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Owens Art Gallery, and SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art.