Jun 282012
 

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Elizabeth Babyn is a Saskatoon artist currently showing her mixed media installation, Sacred Connections, at loop Gallery in Toronto. The show features a “Unity Quilt,” constructed from Japanese Washi paper, paint on textile, and a collection of writings and images Elizabeth has collected from spritual texts, strangers and people she knows. She has stitched these together to express the underlying unity of all religions and philosophies, whether personal or institutional.

Elizabeth describes her inspiration for the “Unity Quilt”: “My ideas developed because I was working with the Fibonacci Number Sequences and Sacred Geometry within nature. The more I worked with them, the more evident it became that everything is connected. The same images occur in DNA and in natural objects. I wanted to find a way to express that [connection]…My original idea for the quilt was to weave scriptures from different religions together, but I decided to add other voices, to incorporate everyone’s voice, to give everyone an equal voice.”

“My previous show was entitled, Illumination. It started with a visit to Italy where I went into these beautiful cathedrals. When you go into a cathedral, temple or mosque, they all have the same meditative feeling. Investigating architecture, I found out that, from the earliest days, they used Sacred Geometry to build many of these structures.”

“I’d used Gin Washi paper before in the Washi show [in Toronto] in 2008, when I was dealing with the subject of forgiveness…I loved the way that material behaved and knew I wanted to work with stitches again. The stitches were a wonderful metaphor for healing, and unifying the quilt. When you’re stitching, you’re creating pathways…symbolic of journeys.”

“I started randomly putting [cut-out] words onto the blocks [of Washi paper], like those fridge-poetry magnets, then I started using complete thoughts, but deliberately shuffling them…one sentence goes into another, becoming a metaphor for mediating, and causing a distortion of the text, which is what has happened throughout antiquity with spiritual writings like the Bible, which has been edited a lot. Look, even today, at all of the different interpretations.”

It was Elizabeth’s dog who gave her permission to cut text from a favourite book on forgiveness. She came home one day to find the book, along with some household objects, in shreds. When she pushed the dog away, he slid across the floor, grinning, making her laugh, and transforming her anger into understanding.

As with Yoko Ono‘s “Wish Trees,” the public will have an opportunity to write their own guiding principles or truths, which Elizabeth will later add to the “Unity Quilt.” She says,  “The quilt is unfinished…I intend to have three paths symbolizing our individual journeys, the many ways to get to where we need to be. We often feel separate but as the paths start moving onto the wall, they…[connect] to the quilt.”

—Kim Aubrey

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Unity Quilt

Uni.

Fibonacci 1a (acrylic on canvas)

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Fibonacci 2b (acrylic on canvas)

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Fibonacci Sequences 1 (mixed media collage)

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Fibonacci Sequences 2 (mixed media collage)

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Sacred Connections 1 (mixed media collage)

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Sacred Connections 3 (mixed media collage)

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Sacred Connections 6 (mixed media collage)

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Sorting the quilt

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Organizing the Quilt

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Atonement (Gin Washi collage)

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Elizabeth Babyn obtained her BFA in Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design. She and her husband relocated from Caledon, Ontario, to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in the early spring of 2011. Babyn has participated in group and solo shows in Ferrara, Italy, Toronto and the surrounding ares, with galleries that include Propeller, Spin, loop, SGI, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. She has been a member of loop Gallery since 2003.

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