home life / still life

July 4 - July 23, 2023 

 Elycia SFA

Elycia SFA: home life /still life

Elycia SFA is a queer textile artist based in Toronto. Her work explores personal narrative and the deconstruction and reconstruction of memory, as well as nostalgia and loss, by portraying these concepts in the form of handwoven cloth. 

This series is an ongoing exploration of the past few years spent in varying states of lockdown, and features benign yet intimate images of the home space. Lockdowns forced us into an extremely still experience with layers of grief and challenges of acceptance. This project invited image submissions from all over the world, and asks: What areas in your space have been helpful to get you through your own grief in this time? 

What spaces made you feel safe? 


 Curated by Erin Candela

 This project has been generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.



‘home life / still life’

by Erin Candela

Do any of us truly see where we are without the presence and exclamations of others to illuminate and define our lives? In other words, can any one of us alone have a true understanding or vision of reality ? If forced to look too closely at the details we hold true, one might even re-consider the solidity and dependability of the material world around us. In this quiet collection of work by Elycia SFA, the viewer has the opportunity to become closely acquainted with a certain delicate tension; found in the contrasting patterns of thread, the ambiguity of unfinished edges, and the implications both social and physical of measuring and revisioning "space".

In art, as in life, we often reward that which is independently unique or new, assuming that a hierarchy of vision elevates a single vital voice to the top. But just as key to a full engagement in and understanding of life, is the capacity to become tangled in another's perspective, allowing our own view of reality to shift, understanding ourselves and the world in fluid shades of grey. In mental maps, on the physical plane and in space, where we are, what we see, the places we occupy....are also defined on some level by where we are not, who is not, and how we may be seen to exist (or not) as a depiction of relationship.

There's nothing like immersing oneself into an unfamiliar territory of language and culture to focus and simultaneously expand one's definition and awareness of Self, for example, and a level of vulnerability and openness is required to emerge successfully. Through the shared images of their "safe" places, rooms and objects, participants in this project allowed a re-definition and physical translation to take place; the technical requirements of hand-woven textiles paring things down into their most essential components. Like magic in the hands of the artist, however, a red thread weaving in and out is suddenly capable of defining our most intimate and private moments. What we see is a re-visioning, a poetic documentation of personal life, but also something more....As a medium, the path of a thread leaves openings and holes, a prompt for meaning and contemplation. The white spaces here are not empty, but represent an interlocking crisscross of thread and not-thread; tension between interacting elements highlighting the vulnerability of edges waterfalling into empty air. Here the lines and shapes of objects are plucked out of familiar context; placing them onto the loom forces a reduction of tone and blocks of colour. The re-drawing of a room is possible only through a slow, strategic, and obsessively detailed calculation of warp and weft.

In the last few years, in our neighborhoods and across the world, we were brought face-to-face with barriers of our own and others' making. Lines and borders were drawn and outlined around Public and Private, Inside and Outside, Safe and Unsafe, Us and Them. Familiar planes tilted and dropped us into isolation or drew closed like walls around us, forcing us and those we were confined with to examine our darkest nooks and crannies. A rigorous re-mapping of boundaries, repetitive rituals, and delicately timed entry points was crucial to the negotiation of life during the pandemic, as was a new sensitivity to counting the beats between us, the stretch of days, and number of footprints implied. This undertaking, like a weaving, echoes in the themes and creative processes evident in 'home life / still life', and can be useful to remind us that we as human beings rely heavily on the resistance,distance, and shared agreements of others to define and stabilize our reality. Here we may experience the concept of "space" and its relationship with intimacy firsthand, through work that literally brings 2D images into another dimension.

Opening Reception:

Tuesday July 4th, 2023
6-9 pm
420 Queen St E Toronto  

Tuesday July 4 - Sunday July 23, 2023   

 Except for the opening, the exhibtion will be open by appointment.