Origami, quilts and geometry. Those are the sources of inspiration for Chilliwack artist Sylvie Roussel-Jannsens’ newest sculptures that will be on display in her solo show Whole.
The exhibition will be at the O’Connor Group Art Gallery of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre from Jan. 23 to March 2.
“Whole is a group of sculptural works made in the last three years. From installations to wall pieces and the return to illuminated sculptures, I am presenting the whole creative journey,” says Roussel-Jannsens.
Plus, she likes the play on words.
“In ‘whole’ there’s also the word ‘hole’ which is what my technique is,” she adds.
Roussel-Jannsens makes textile sculptures using wire and synthetic fabric into which she burns thousands of small holes using a soldering iron. The light, whether natural or artificial, shines through the holes and makes the fabric glow.
Whole will include 12 pieces: two light boxes, five folding pieces and five origami-inspired pieces (with folds that are welded in place). The origami-like pieces are made from modular shapes that can stack for easy storage and shipping.
If you’ve seen some of her work before, you probably know how large some of Roussel-Jannsens’ pieces are. One piece in the show, Lac Sainte-Marie, consists of a series of panels displayed in a circle measuring about eight to 10 feet in diameter. To make it more practical, the piece folds up for compact storage.
“I started with practical goals of re-imagining the way my sculptures can be stored and shipped. By doing so, I fell in love with folding shapes,” she says. “Inspired by origami, I soon saw the beauty of geometry and started to juxtapose simple squares, diamonds and triangles, thinking of the works as three-dimensional quilts.”
One piece, Beech Tree Tessellation (pictured), is made up of five diamond-like modular shapes. Together they take up a fair bit of wall space, but they can be separated to be displayed in smaller areas, plus they can nest in each other when not on display.
Roussel-Jannsens has been making light sculptures for nearly 20 years. Past work has focused on climate change and global warming.
“Lately, I have tried to express my passion for the environment in a new way. To make it more personal, I chose images that come from memories, used the human silhouette, and made further efforts to reduce the ecological footprint of my art practice,” she says.
“I’m still really concerned and interested with environmental issues, but I’m sort of getting off that literal message. It’s a bit more subtle,” says Roussel-Jannsens. “This is still about nature, but it’s more about the pattern now. It doesn’t spell out global warming.”
All the supporting structures she uses in her work are made of re-purposed steel wire. Half of the textile is reused or recycled. She tries hard to not have any waste in her artwork.
Whole, a solo exhibition by Sylvie Roussel-Jannsens, is on display in the O’Connor Group Art Gallery of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre from Jan. 23 to March 2. Opening reception is Saturday, Jan. 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. In addition to the opening, she will be at the gallery every Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. during the exhibition.