"Elevators At Disley, SK, Demolished Oct. 21, 2002"
Martha Cole, "Elevators At Disley, SK, Demolished Oct. 21, 2002," 2004, hand-painted cotton fabric, 54" x 90".
SASKATCHEWAN: Prairie Portraits, Sept 17-Oct 16, 2004, McIntyre Gallery, Regina
By Kristin Linklater
The latest exhibit by Martha Cole is a powerful examination of current struggles facing rural Saskatchewan. Cole’s large-scale fabric works depict the demise of the prairies’ iconic grain elevator. Working from her own research and detailed architectural drawings, she stitches together pieces of hand-painted cotton, using coloured pencils and appliqué to draw out certain elements and create additional depth. Cole then uses free-motion machine stitchery to add another layer, weaving thread back and forth to effect the movement of the grasses or the weathered wood on the elevator’s exterior. Finally, the whole piece is quilted onto another, larger piece of fabric. The entire process, and particularly the double-quilting, results in multiple layers of texture in each piece, reflecting the many emotions that elevators provoke. Each work celebrates the dreams and visions of settlers, honouring the commitment and dedication of the farming lifestyle. Cole thinks of the works as a memorial service for the elevator, honouring the best elements, but allowing many other layers to co-exist – sadness, damage to the land and First Nations cultures, the demise of the small family farm and the depopulating of rural Saskatchewan.
Represented by: McIntyre Gallery, Regina, SK.