Studio Visit 0

Abby McGuane, Sculptor

Abby McGuane is a sculptor and installation artist. Her work has been exhibited in Toronto and Chicago. She graduated from OCAD in 2010.

Your work definitely grows with the space. It fills up really really quickly. It’s kind of frustrating but it’s also cool in some ways. I find that probably 30% of the time I spend in here is about finding different ways to store things, just moving things around. It’s like Jenga. I made these dowel storage systems and I have this pulley system. Contraptions!


It bleeds into the work as well. Space is a problem so I think about making work that’s collapsible and transportable. Dowels and things that come apart. My gel transfers on bedsheets can be rolled up.


The textiles that I use have some sort of significance. They’re domestic or weirdly retro. This Tommy Hilfiger twin bed sheet is a little bit gross maybe. It’s nostalgia but kind of a gross nostalgia. I’ve worked with textiles before but I feel like this is a natural progression. The idea was something painterly but also sculptural. Treating the frame or the mounting device for an image as integral to the work or as important as the work creates an interplay between the image, the space that it’s in and materiality.


I think about frames the way a painter might think about a brush stroke. It’s part of the language.


The sculpture comes from experimentation and equal parts found material then transforming it in some way–letting the form of something I found dictate what happens to it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be virtuosic in the amount of skill but it’s about generating interest.


I wrote that sign “Finish it” because one day I was standing here and just looked around and realized I had 9 pieces, that are not small, and none of them were done and I should just choose one thing and make it and shoot it and put it away.


I share my studio with Vanessa Maltese and Georgia Dickie. Sometimes, we come in at the same time. It’s good. You end up being a little bit less productive but it’s definitely good in other ways. They’re my buds. We have awesome talks. We talk about our work all the time. I don’t ask for opinions though. I know what I’m doing, for better or worse–or I can just discover it by myself.


–Abby McGuane, as told to Studio Beat

Photos by Rachel MacFarlane


Visit her website here.



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