Charmaine Lurch : Compounding Vision

Charmaine Lurch’s solo exhibition Compounding Vision will be on display at the Ottawa School of Art’s Byward Market Gallery located at 35 George Street, Ottawa, Ontario from March 25, 2021 to May 16, 2021. As a way to celebrate Charmaine’s thought-provoking work, a Virtual Vernissage for this exhibition will take place on Thursday April 1, 2021 at 7pm, premiering on the OSA YouTube Channel.

“In the blue series, I re-create landscapes that draw on my Caribbean roots and connect to other locales and spaces. I think of land and sea and how I traveled, of migration and movement, seasonal farmworkers, families, ancestors and others’ movement across oceans. The work blurs the lines of what is landscape, what is ocean, what is sky. Landscape at times is a simple line, but does not separate into foreground, middle ground background, instead it collapses and compounds vision, so as not to separate one for the other or ourselves and our vision. The wire adds dimension, is textural, maps environments and joins imaginaries and materials together.”


“Sycorax is an ongoing work that investigates the dichotomy of voicelessness and empowerment. The figure, constructed with twists and coils of wire, embodies the character Sycorax in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Sycorax, the mother of Caliban, described as a witch “of the vile race” is invisible and voiceless in the play. A number of scholars, propose that Sycorax represents Black and Indigenous women during colonial times The art of photography in the work Sycorax Scene ll reveals the detailed handwork of the sculpted wire forms and registers the nuanced bends and twists that are otherwise hard to see.”

Compounding Vision uses tactile visual forms and intertwines race, science, and art to create a resonant hum; a layered perspective; a prescient and audible language. While autonomous figures — malleable, flexible, adaptable — consider conceptions of blackness and femininity, wild bees, silent, yet resonant, their murmurs reverberate throughout the space, reminding us of how all things are connected. Surrounding figures move subtly into view, allowing us to visualize them as active and ever present.
Textural narratives on black female subjectivity and bees overlap and interweave in the paintings, photographs, and wire sculptures – wire, the expressive messenger, connecting the seen and unseen. These transparent and layered compositions throw shadows rewire and re-configure perception, creating both a nuanced temporality and tangible interpretation of ideas on visibility and invisibility, the heard and unheard.

“The nature of the wool creates more opacity. Sometimes I’m just trying to capture a sense of the animal and work in some of the textural nature that I notice. I enjoy exploring the different variations in what I can create with these simple materials.”

“The wire is my line off the canvas. People often see the drawn line and the metal wire as different. For me, the line and wire is the same, it moves us from 2D to 3D to articulate the a story in a different space. What I love about working with wire is it allows me to create a compounded vision in the way that you can see through and beyond the object. Working with wire also involves working with a number of people. Whether sewing metal to canvas, or in the creation sculpture, a community is needed to complete the work. When I invite friends, family, passers-by, students and others to make art alongside me a beautiful thing happens in this hands-on creative act. The participants become committed to the creative process, and often don’t want to stop. They come to think deeply on the subject, and in so doing the work moves in ways that is more than and beyond what we imagined.”

Sycorax Scene II of the Sycorax Series

2020, Archival photo mounted on ACP Panel, 24” x 32”


Charmaine Lurch is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose work draws attention to human-environmental relationalities. Lurch’s paintings and sculptures are conversations on infrastructures and the spaces and places we inhabit. Working with a range of materials and reimagining our surroundings—from bees and taxi cabs to The Tempest and quiet moments of joy, Lurch subtly connects Black life and movement globally.
Lurch offers us materials that are seemingly simple and familiar. Paint both pleases and jars vision to create new ways of seeing and knowing. Wire takes up space, is a drawing in space, moving through space. The formations cast shadows, trace landscapes, and act as a means to mark the inside/outside of things. These elements are her expressive and textural messengers. Together, they create signifying forms that seek to re-configure and rewire perception and ideas.
Lurch holds a Master’s in Environmental Studies, a Certificate in Cultural and Artistic Practice, York University. She is a graduate of Sheridan College – Faculty of Visual and Creative Arts, studied at Ontario College of Art and Design University, and The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been exhibited most recently online in Tehran (Iran) and in the USA, at The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Liu Institute in Vancouver, Nuit Blanche Toronto, the National Gallery of Jamaica, and more. Her work has been written about in Artforum Magazine, Katherine McKittrick’s Dear Science and Other Stories, 2021, Tiffany Lethabo King’s The Black Shoals, 2019, Settling In Place/interview, MacLaren Art Centre, 2018, Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood, 2017. She is a Recipient of a number of Ontario Arts Council grants including the Chalmers Fellowship and the Skills and Career Development Grant.
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