Kim Stanford: Dirtier

March 1 – 23, 2014
Loop Gallery

Kim Stanford’s show Dirtier is an unabashed testimonial to socks. There are socks twined together perched on laundry boxes, phallic socks jutting out from the wall, drawings of socks, and a bronzed cast resting on a pedestal. Folded socks litter the floor below paying homage to the process work of Félix González-Torres. A lot of the work is close to the ground, mimicking the familiar act of picking up laundry.

Installation view with So uh Mike Kelly and Jeff Koons walk into a bar…, 25″x11″x10″, socks, acrylic, brass, marble, 2014 (foreground)

Yet, the work is more than just the donated laundry that Stanford to this day, still receives in the mail. The vertical installation, Yes I’m Trying to Pick You Up is a monochrome mapping of the ordinary. The socks protrude and turn their gaze back onto the viewer. The holes in the socks, suggest a darker infiltrated space of sexuality and childhood in comparison to the levity of the rest of the show.   

Installation view with Yes I’m Trying to Pick You Up (Vertical Installation); dimensions variable; socks, glue; 2013 (background) and  So uh Mike Kelly and Jeff Koons walk into a bar…, 25″x11″x10″, socks, acrylic, brass, marble, 2014 (foreground)

The artist’s work is sharpest and most clearly ironic in the Monument to the Mundane, a cheeky understanding that we are talking about socks here. The sock is transformed into an immortalized bronze artwork, while the give—away socks in Pick up your f-in sock! take me back to the clothing store. I look at the varying colors and realize my desire to pick a nice pair of socks to take home is playing into the gendered edge of the work. Of course, a very Canadian reaction rears its head as the frigid cold outside makes me bypass the attractive socks and opt for the thick hearty wool ones. I am simultaneously dismayed and impressed when my hand encloses over the glue sealed socks that function as mini sculptures. They wont keep me warm but they are precious. Very cleverly, the mundane and monument play with each other in a dance of absurdity.

Kim Stanford with Monument to the Mundane , 7” x 10” x 9”; bronze; 2014

Pick up your f-in sock!, 2014. Dimensions variable; socks, glue. Each visitor is encouraged to pick up one sock and take it home and in this way everyone does their share

Experiencing the show, like the artist herself confesses, I will not look at a sock the same way again – at least not for a little while.

Text: Gagan Sandhu
Photo: Duke Ringrose

*Exhition information: March 1 – 23, 2014, Loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat 12 – 5, Sun 1 – 4 p.m.

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