COUNSEL, DesignTO 2019 - Jen Arron, Zahra Ebrahim, Rhya Tamasauskas

Change and transition, for some, comes with a deep sense of unease. In these unsettled moments, the default behaviour for creatives is to turn to their hands and start compulsively creating as a way through. The making isn’t a hobby, or a way to pass time, it’s a near obsessive act of exploration as a means to find clarity of mind. Counsel’s inaugural show invites visitors to explore the artifacts that come with this compulsion to create and design in times of uncertainty. The show explores the work of three women, at three distinct crossroads, and the habitual, ritual, meditative making—making with no purpose in mind, no audience, no explicit intention—that serves as a way of progressing through processing restlessness, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness and worry. As the show is about process, the work is both finished and unfinished, by design. Each piece marks a moment of progress and motion, even understanding and wonder. What can feel like “purposeless” making can turn out to be a journey through exploring our relationships with the ordinary, the routine, the ego, our identity, and our purpose. The things that get made become expressions of this process, loaded with the wayfinding needed to get us to where we need to be next.

WEAVE ME, Contact 2017

Jen Arron's body of work, WEAVE ME, is best described as the outcome of stepping over a threshold. With one foot in the past and the other in the future, Arron’s work clearly reflects her transition from traditional photography to a playful exploration of fibers, textiles and the free form of weaving. With a heavy focus on studio based practice her installation speaks directly to the importance of process.

The installation’s collaged layers loosely represent what she holds sacred, the mundane, the letting go, a rebirth, our everyday. Fragments are taped to the walls, strung from the ceiling, complete & almost there, written in journals, glued to pages, pressed onto cabinet doors, stuck to the mirrors. The viewer is encouraged to explore and make connections. To be curious and imaginative yet succumb to the hazy edge, the moment before transformation.

Do you ever want to just dwell in the fray? In that hazy edge between the thing and where the thing ends?