Nadia Belerique: Bed Island

April 21 – June 4, 2016

Sand, dirt, dust, skin, shaken through its body
The view from the mattress.
Long sigh, closed eye, the long glint blurs the purple dark

-Tiziana La Melia, The Eyelash and the Monochrome

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“Bed Island suggests an analogy between intimate psychological space and the artwork’s construction. Large water-jet cut steel frames dangling on the wall have the dimension of bed sheets (specifically the kind that get bunched up and tangled), or pieces of paper with torn edges. Freestanding steel sculptures punctuate the floor like headboards, or railings, or hurdles; their long shadows suggest it’s getting late. These elements anchor the room, to which are added photographs, each one contributing a subtly vertiginous experience to the exhibition. Looking at them gets the viewer unmoored, so to speak.

“With the psychological space of the bed you get vulnerability and autonomy intermingled — sleep, dreams, sex, moments of repose, and bouts of depression. The idea of “bed” connects these things, along with its defining condition of being horizontal. You can fall into bed, but can you fall into an image? The photos are composed with layers of photographs and objects — an image of wood grain, for instance, or scans of a broken pane of glass, combined with bottles or shoes, sawdust or a cup, a roll of film, a metal candle holder that looks like a flower, or cut outs from other images. The combinations create inversions of positive and negative space, an effect that is echoed in the sculptures.

“Confusion about how figure and ground relate in the images comes from the layering of elements that are opaque or translucent, or in the contrast between fuzzy and sharp. That the artist was lying down with the camera, shooting up through a frosted pane of glass when making each exposure, further confuses things. Hung vertically on the wall, viewers experience a small destabilization.

“Lurking in this show is a distillation of a psychological state: of coming to people and things in the world. Bed Island is self-awareness as a process. A kind of intimacy that submerges and surfaces for just moments at a time.”

-Rosemary Heather


Nadia Belerique received her MFA from the University of Guelph. Belerique has recently exhibited in shows at Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; Tomorrow Gallery, New York and the The Power Plant, Toronto.  Belerique’s work was recently on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in the exhibition are you experienced? curated by Melissa Bennett and is currently exhibited in the group exhibition New Visions at the Tensta konsthall, Spånga, Sweden, and this fall will be exhibiting at the Gwangju Biennale. In 2015 Belerique completed a residency at Fogo Island and received the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts’ Artist Award.