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Katie Bethune-Leamen
Hair did. Nails did. Keep everything did. (Gustav von Aschenbach)

Opening Reception
Friday, September 15, 2017 from 7-10pm

Exhibition Dates
September 16 - October 28, 2017

Artist-Led Tour
October 22, 4:30pm

For her exhibition Hair did. Nails did. Keep everything did. (Gustav von Aschenbach), artist Katie Bethune-Leamen uses both floors of DNA to present installations that combine new and recent sculpture—porcelain and steel, neon, found objects, and mixed media—and works on paper

The exhibition title includes a misquoted lyric from rapper Junglepussy—a lyric reminiscent of a Missy Elliot lyrical phrasing—and the name of Gustav von Aschenbach, the protagonist in Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice (1911) or, more pertinently for the artist, director Luchino Visconti’s 1971 filmic adaptation of the same. The combination of these elements creates a phrase describing attention to finish (on oneself, on an object): a shifting position between subject and object, embodied in the bathetic character of Aschenbach, whose narrative journey centres around looking, desiring through looking, and a nadir of effort at affecting the way he himself looks. 

Bethune-Leamen’s ongoing consideration of the nature of being, the nature of being in relation to objects, the power of certain objects, and making objects, is here continued through new works that include reference to not only Visconti’s Death in Venice, but also: the comic book villain Krang (a grumpy brain with arms, conveyed by a robotic armature); a box found in the garbage during a residency in Paris, evocative of traditional Japanese wood block print gradients (bokashi); research conducted at the historic Sèvres porcelain factory in France; the Bitossi ceramic factory in Italy where Ettore Sottsass first made ceramic work, and which would later produce porcelain pieces for Memphis; the Greenlandic meteorite Ahnighito; a pair of walrus skulls displayed in a home window in Illulissat, Greenland, and other things. 

The work both presents and evokes an experience and consideration of being, being in the body, and being in relation to objects. Pastel toned porcelain blobs are supported by steel armatures, and then repeated on digitally-printed silk crepe de chine, framing simple yet grotesque neon forms mounted with porcelain supports. Image and form shifts between the inchoate and the defined. 

Katie Bethune-Leamen works across artistic disciplines, including installation, sculpture, video, and works on paper. Currently based in Toronto, her recent solo exhibitions include: 🍡, Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects (Toronto); YOU WIN! (February.), 8-11 (Toronto); turn that brown upside down, Modern Fuel (Kingston, ON); Marry Snog Avoid, Eastern Edge (St. John’s, NL); with recent group exhibitions including A Viewing Room v.2, Susan Hobbs Gallery (Toronto); In the Shadow of the Millennium, Judith & Normal Alix Gallery (Sarnia, ON); Summertime in Paris: Solstice, Parisian Laundry (Montreal, QC); Future, Erin Stump Projects (Toronto); and Northern Exposure, AGNS (Halifax, NS). In 2016 she received a Canada Council for the Arts International Residency in Paris, and in 2015 she received a 2-year Chalmers Fellowship to study sculptural abstraction through research travel in Japan, Germany, Italy and the USA.