Every year in late March, students find themselves in a transition. With the end of school nearing, they have assignments to finish, exams to study for, jobs to find and new schools to apply to. This makes for a very hectic time, especially for graduating students.Yet Alysha Woolner, a graduating student in Sheridan and UTM’s Art and Art History program, found the time to do all that, and then some. Artist at night and curator by day, Woolner curated Between Shapes, a show of her prints, video, sculptures and sound works from the past year.
Those who are familiar with Woolner’s previous works (from plaster casts of wax bananas to what could best be described as tapestries of text) will be surprised. Using the open area of Annie Smith Centre at Sheridan College, Woolner exhibits her engaging works in a well-planned and organized manner.
Between Shapes revolves around transitions through various physical and mental states—specifically sleep and the process of falling into it. Alysha investigates the unconscious of the dreaming/thought experience, asking viewers to recall their own fragmented memories. She also investigates her existence in relation to those around her. She incorporates themes of conversation, physical wandering and the longing for a personal sense of where one is “meant to be” in the world.
Alysha creates work about and with her body in hopes of connecting people at a very basic level. Stuffed Pseudonym is a giant plushy of Alysha, slouched in a corner of the gallery space. To the right of this piece are prints of Alysha and Alysha Pseudo.
Untitled, another work pertaining to sleep and states of consciences, is a 2:29-minute video loop of Alysha wrestling to fall asleep. The bed, a place of rest, shelter and intimacy, becomes a type of stage, turning viewers into voyeurs of a place where she feels protected.
Another work worth mentioning is the simple yet beautiful digital prints of trees. Following a very specific colour scheme and framed with delicate wood frames, these works are probably the most traditional in the show, but manage to find their place amongst other work.
Between Shapes runs until March 30.