Cold Comfort 2003

Exhibited at the Deleon White Gallery, Toronto, ON with Michele Karch-Ackerman
Curated by Virginia Eichhorn

The body of work entitled Cold Comfort is set against the back drop of the the Gulags of Siberia during WW2, where millions, including my family, were forcibly sent. It is a history of displacement, loss and trauma and their effects on the transmission of memories. A memory can be like a specter, a haunting, a disembodied entity wreaking havoc on a person or persons lives. A memory can be an inclusion in the mind, trapped and inaccessible to oneself or to others. Memories can undergo strange transformations that make them palatable and make the teller able to refer to offensive and difficult moments. The facts that lie behind the story can be roughly assembled, but it is the kind of story the facts become, that is of interest to me.

The story I am bringing to light has many pictorial sources and visual metaphors. The players include a sculptural installation (made of urethane casting resins), works on canvas and on paper. There are a lot of snowflakes. There are railway tracks. There is an icy pink cradle. There are references to “Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, popularly called “Somewhere my Love”. I use parts of the song as titles for works. Sometimes the snowflakes are icy and tenderly pink and sometimes the snowflakes are bogged down with dirt and dark matter. Snow crystals do in fact grow around a nucleus of dust or some other foreign material. There is a tension between the pretty, shiny, frosty pink and the absorbent, textural, unilluminated dark. Both of these elements exist simultaneously in the experience; in how it was remembered and how it was and is told. There is the glossing over and the stony silent dark. There is life and there is death. And there is a place betwixt and between where myths, fairy tales,movies and artwork are made.

Tina Poplawski / Artist Statement