An example of artist Nicole Mary’s fibre-based art. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLE MARY

Power, politics, the information era and history intertwine in pliers to an echo.

Within these themes, fibre artist Nicole Mary found a common thread to unravel in her latest exhibition, which showcases the art of arm-knitting as a metaphor for exploring the community impact of radicalization.

“It’s all about information overload, the task of poring through how much information is spreading and the media polarization of politics,” said Mary.

“It’s about the overwhelming feeling that plays into that and the emotion that goes into seeing that polarization.”

For the Calgary-based artist’s main piece, she created five column-like structures made of cotton, of varying heights, meant to represent the structure and dynamics of power.

“It portrays how it feels to look up at something and look down at something, and the complexity of how symbols and political ideals can make you feel either very large or very small,” she said.

Mary, a Calgary-based artist, furthers this portrayal using hand-dyed red tones throughout much of her work.

The colour red is often associated with ideas of power, aggression, or fear. Mary likens seeing the colour to triggering a ‘primal sense’ in the viewer.

Each piece in the exhibition is made of cotton and large in scale and serves as a physical manifestation of the manipulation that arises when exploring community effects on radicalization and de-radicalization.

The concepts explored are complex and nuanced, just how Mary likes them, in art and in life.

“Ideas that I really like to play with are really rejections of purity,” said the artist.

Mary describes her work as ‘repetitive,’ using ‘precise’ ways of making. The installation process, however, is much less precise. The art isn’t final until the universe does its work.

“I really like to let gravity work with me as an act of letting go,” said Mary.

Pliers to an echo opened at artsPlace in Canmore Saturday (May 27) and will be on display until June 27, free of admission charge. 

By Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 30, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Rocky Mountain Outlook   Canmore, Alberta

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