FAITH LA ROCQUE: chisel to carve light thoughts

My first encounter with Faith La Rocque’s work was in MOCCA’s group exhibition titled,  ineffable plasticity/the experience of being human in 2011. In that show she displayed Salt Ramp With Celestial Children, a fish tank filled with living green organism. Her Crystal Ladder suspended from the gallery’s ceiling was beautifully simple but embraced the theme of the exhibition. Nature and its various forms are central elements of La Rocque’s art.

Artist Faith La Rocque at the Opening Reception on September 13, 2014

For her first solo show at De Luca Fine Art, La Rocque presents a collection of sculptural works informed by the subject of alternative health therapies. For the past 7 years, the artist has explored the interplay of belief, ritual and consumerism involved in the healing process. The works reflect her interest in the body, emotions and psychological states.

Faith La Rocque, chisel to carve light thoughts, 2014, Georgian marble, feather, motor, metal tube, dimensions variable.

Faith La Rocque, chisel to carve light thoughts, detail, 2014, Georgian marble, feather, motor, metal tube, dimensions variable.

The piece that gives its title to the show, chisel to carve light thoughts, is very intriguing and a good example of La Roque’s method of mixing two different materials, both organic but very different is their texture, their surface and feel. A Georgian marble block rests on a pedestal, pure and powerful in its whiteness.  A motor-operated metal rod in connected to a feather. The rod rotates around its own axis so the feather gets closer to the rock until it touches it time and time again.  The illusions created in this way make us believe that those soft touches might erase the surface of the marble and even fill it with lightness, warmth, and even emotions. It seems that that lightness can overcome the rigidity of the stone – as numerous tales about the healing power of feathers and their touch tell us.

Faith La Rocque, thoughtscreen 04, 2014, 8-mil low-level conductive plastic, tape, 8 x 8 inches.

Protection is the main idea in thoughtscreen 04, a helmet-shaped hat, created from a very unnatural material: plastic tape. It can be interpreted as a screening device for brain tumors, a helmet for protection from hurt, both human and environmental, or a simple kerchief to keep you warm.

Faith La Roque, Obsidian Ladder, 2014, obsidian, brass, hemp rope, 360 x 12 inches. Photo: Walter Willems. Courtesy of De Luca Fine Art/Gallery.

Obsidian Ladder addresses our desire to climb up to the sky, to connect with a higher realm. Obsidian is an extremely powerful and fast acting stone in crystal healing. It can bring negative emotions and unpleasant truths rushing to the surface, which have to be confronted before peace can return. It is also a very protective stone and is said to form a shield against negativity and to absorb negative energies from the environment. Looking at La Roque’s ladder, I don’t think I am brave enough to climb it, but I would love to touch it and feel its magic power. However powerful the stone is, the ladder seems too fragile.

Faith La Rocque, Conduit, 2014, electric massager, lamp cord, marble, motion sensor, staples, dimensions variable

Each piece in the exhibition is illustrative in some ways, and lends itself to a theme of healing and the process of it.

Guest at the Opening Reception with Obsidian Ladder.

Text: Elena Iourtaeva and Emese Krunák-Hajagos. Photo: Elena Iourtaeva.

*Exhibition information: September 13 – October 11, 2014, De Luca Fine Art / Gallery, 217 Avenue Road, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat: 11 – 6 p.m.

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