Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2015
9-1/2 x 4-3/4 x 1-3/4"
Edition of 20
A found wooden spindle is sliced and painted to appear as a candlestick and it's own holder. The work is part of Partheniou's solo exhibition House & Home & Garden, which closes today at Oakville Galleries. The piece sits on the mantle, as part of a series of reductive replicas (paint on wood). A coffee cup appears both randomly abandoned, and oddly accommodated by the placement of the objects around it.
Elsewhere, other items also appear discarded: a pop can, a screwdriver, a used matchstick, a measuring tape, more coffee cups. The entire gallery (consisting of four separate rooms) appears to be under renovation until closer inspection reveals the extent of the artifice. The pink and blue insulation foam is painted and silkscreened wood. The copper pipes are painted dowel. The green painters' tape has been painted directly onto the wall.
Partheniou has created a room within a room and built an additional fifth room. It's unclear where the doors and windows lead to, "complicating the floor plan". This approach allows Partheniou to continue producing sculptures at a domestic, intimate 1:1 ratio (which has always been key to the way her work is read), and simultaneously expand to an almost architectural level.
The new fifth room, visible only through a set of bay windows, reveals the most detailed work: a junk pile of toys, board games, books, pots, pans, dishes, diskettes, an extension cord, a box of kleenex, a ream of paper, etc. Every item is made of painted wood (with the sole exception of the tennis balls, which are styrofoam with green flocking). They sit atop MDF plinths which resemble packing boxes, suggesting the last-to-be-packed items before a move or extensive renovation.
This subtle narrative plays with the gallery's history as a 1920's estate home, converting the building back into a residence, but one in a state of transition. Visitors might first feel that the gallery is in between exhibits, a sensation heightened by the well-timed actual repairs underway on the exterior of the building.
Terence Dick's review in Akimbo is here, Murray Whyte's piece in the Toronto Star can be read here, and the gallery site is here. An essay by the exhibition curator Jon Davies can be read here.