Shannon Garden-Smith is a Toronto-based artist and writer. She completed an MFA in studio art at the University of Guelph and a BA at the University of Toronto.
Garden-Smith’s highly tactile, slow processes of making explore unproductiveness in order to imagine ways of doing/making/performing that hold too much and too little.
The labour involved in her work is repetitive, accumulating over time into an act of surfacing which encompasses both senses of the word (the external application of a surface and something rising to the surface from within). Her chosen materials yield and hold one another in a manner that parallels the structure of something woven: a surface forms from the gradual accumulation of small parts.
In recent sculpture, she seeks to disorient the work bricks do through the gesture of touch. Using materials sourced from the realm of aspirational home décor, she presses these into contact with one another to produce attachment (or its indexical imprint). Extending this notion of physical attachment to attachment as an affective structuring principle, her practice explores the ways objects are reciprocally embedded in the lives of people. She works with decorative materials alongside the understanding that these are wrapped up in processes of self-actualization and identity-production through consumption. By merging identity formation with the purchase and consumption of decorative materials in the home, these materials demonstrate a broader tendency toward the wholesale commodification of social reproduction. She makes objects whose performance as walls/bricks/décor is exuberantly insufficient, resisting the contemporary demand for productivity.