Impressions of TL;DR – New Exhibition by Laura Hudspith

TL;DR is a solo exhibition by Laura Hudspith combining sculpture, video, and light play. The installation’s opening night reception is on Thursday May 18th, 2017 at Project Gallery (1109 Queen St E) from 7-10pm. This exhibition runs May 18th- May 28th, 2017 and will be the last exhibition at Project Gallery’s Queen Street East location.

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Article written by guest writer, Ashley McLellan.

Imagine a perfectly ripe banana. It has a specific texture and scent and when transported in a bag, tender carob coloured patches form on the yellow skin as a result of the pressure. Now imagine a plastic banana. It’s colour and form are homogenous. No soft brown spots appear on the surface to indicate that it is overripe and it does not emit a pungent odour as it decomposes. The plastic banana exists indefinitely at one stage and creates a singular sense experience. It is a symbol of the natural banana meant for visual consumption. So why produce a forgery? The real thing can be both enticing and revolting as it moves from stage to stage. But the plastic version or fake is merely an object that takes up space and provides nothing. Considering the current state of affairs, it is an environmental burden that has nowhere to go, instead remaining whole and haunting the life cycle of natural beings that decay and disappear. The plastic is separate from the living environment, it does not change in relation to natural fluctuations but remains closed off and undisturbed. Out of this awareness arises a moment where the present must contend with all the undead plastic of the past; and possibly imagine a future swamped with an ongoing accumulation of plastic goods.

In Laura Hudspith’s exhibition TL;DR, plastic fruits and silicone desserts are strewn about a tableau vivant and a dense cluster of faux flowers cover a shallow grave that pulsates with light from below. Fakes dominate the space. The material accumulation reveals a desire to be seen in a certain way; discretely and without inviting further inspection. At the same time, there is an intense eagerness to be seen and acknowledged. Inevitably drawing attention to what is contrived.

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On the floor is a garden grave filled with a variety of flowers in shades of pink, purple and yellow. The flowers are vibrant and alluring; each one is perfectly coloured. There is a slight sheen on the surface, denoting the plasticity of the blooms. It is an unnatural garden with a pulsating blue light that illuminates it from below. The natural beauty of real, ephemeral flowers has been reproduced and preserved by the imitation blooms. A globular substance has been splattered across the luscious display and has dripped down and settled on the petals. The thick, white substance seems as though it would clog the porous boundaries of real flowers. The splattering of the gooey substance seems to be a violation of the garden’s bright blooms. But then again, I find myself asking if plastic objects can be infringed upon in this way?

In the video projection, a young woman lays on her back on the marbled surface of a large wooden dining room table; her soft subtle breathing is the only sign of life. She wears a clear, plastic dress that is tightly bound around the chest exposing her breasts while also binding and flattening them, potentially muting the desires placed on her female-gendered body. All around her are displays of fake fruit and sweets. There are tea cups and crystal glasses filled with frost and blush coloured liquids, platters of apples and peaches, jelly-like desserts set out on the surface of the table as well as grapes and rotting strawberries strewn about. Dishes are stacked haphazardly. All the food seems good enough to eat. But what is edible is rotting and what is ‘fresh’ is plastic. I am both drawn in and repulsed by the beauty of the excessive display. The plastic objects are visually appealing and the perceived texture is intriguing; in stark contrast is the notion of decomposing fruit. Do I want beauty at the expense of what is natural?

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Like all organic objects, the woman on the table is also subject to the process of aging. Her life force veers towards death while all around her recalcitrant objects defy dissolution. In this light, she too is a fruit ripe for picking; but this window of time will close abruptly as she ages. I have a vision of her lying on the table as guests sit all around taking pleasure in the display. For whatever reason, the guests quickly abandon the decadent scene and leave the woman behind laying near motionless in the middle. Maybe her living, breathing vulnerability all of a sudden flashed into perspective. Maybe there is something newer and shinier to absorb. In the gallery space the neon sign TL;DR or ‘too long; didn’t read’ advertises this short attention span. If a passage of writing is too long or too verbose, a reader has grounds to dismiss it and move on. TL;DR allows a reader to assume that an argument or passage is leading nowhere or that an argument could be condensed in order to arrive at a point faster. When bombarded by an endless amounts of reading, I can choose to feign engagement with an idea by glancing over an article and passing it on. ‘TL;DR’ but got what I wanted out of it anyway.

Amidst all the natural and unnatural, real and fake, I feel I am presented with a choice of how to try and be in the world in relation to people and objects. There is the path of feigning awareness and connectivity, and of being in relation with one and other only so far as is mediated by technology and is beneficial to my own sense of awareness. To post and re-post. On the other hand I can let go of false fronts and false intimacies and be exposed and open. For me, this is a choice of being troublesome and messy and of being vulnerable to the unpredictable, amorphous energies that vibrate and pass through my body. To be aware of how I effect and am affected. To let the soft spots slowly take over and encompass my being.

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