L.L. Contemporary is thrilled to present At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners, a solo exhibition by Canadian artist Heather Goodchild. This exhibition features a captivating collection of her recent paintings, which serve as gateways to translate personal experiences into archetypal imagery. The small scale of the works in this exhibition is intended to draw the viewer closer, providing an intensity of detail that vibrates with attention, yet is slightly skewed from reality.
The title At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners is inspired by a sonnet written by John Donne (1573 – 1631). The artist employs the phrase “imagined corners” to convey the threshold moments she captures, such as doors, windows, mirrors, hallways, staircases, and those instances of looking from one place to another. Rather than actively seeking these moments, she catches them as they happen and feels compelled to translate them into paintings.
Goodchild’s preoccupation with gateways is linked to a childhood fascination with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, and the pivotal moment when the film stock changes from black and white to colour as Dorothy passes through her farmhouse door. In his 2014 paper titled Entering the Other World of Oz: The Threshold Passage of Dorothy Gale, Ronald Boyer posits that the story “represents a modern example of mythologist Joseph Campbell’s model of the hero quest myth. According to Campbell, the hero is taken “from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder.” The journey that unfolds transforms the hero and they bring the knowledge that the transformation imparts back to their community. Boyer further explains that “In the symbolic structures and motifs of the hero quest as they appear in the mirror of narrative arts, contemporary individuals may glimpse – ‘as through a glass, darkly’ (1 Corinthians, 13:12) – the mysterious structures and transformative processes of the unconscious psyche.”
The paintings of scenes capture moments in Goodchild’s life where she perceived the thinning between reality and the realm of the unconscious – with the exception of Dorothy’s Door, based on a film still. This work acts as an entry point to a series of oil sketches (painted from life) of the artist’s garden. These sketches evoke both what is behind the door in the film (the beautiful garden in Oz) and point to the immersion into nature as a threshold to transformation.
Heather Goodchild (b. 1977) is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist. She has exhibited in Berlin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Toronto and elsewhere throughout Canada since 2001. She received the Chalmers Arts Fellowship in 2019 and was recently at the Varda Artists Residence program in California and the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts in Greece. Goodchild exhibited at the Textile Museum of Canada in 2013, was the Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2012, and showed at The Rooms, St John’s NL in 2020. Her recent exhibitions include the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts in 2021, IA&A at Hillyer in Washington, DC in 2022, and Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto from 2022 to 2023.