M.E. Sparks // And A Rag In The Other



Fri, Oct 28th, 2022 to Sat, Dec 10th, 2022


11:00 am to 6:00 pm


and a Rag in the Other presents a series of draped canvas paintings by M.E. Sparks. This work explores the tension between pictorial representation and the material conditions of painting.

Working primarily with un-stretched canvas, Sparks cuts images from art history to bring them into her own line of vision. Through a process of quotation, deconstruction and collage, the paintings in this exhibition feel somewhat like incomplete sentences. Modular and layered, they resist a finished state while implying the possibility of future reorganization.

In her practice, Sparks pulls apart and rearranges borrowed forms, many of which are taken from historical depictions of youth and femininity within the prickly territory of modernist painting. Rather than present a linear narrative, this mode of reassembly aims to temper expectations of legibility and interrupt an immediate reading of the image. The paintings become more about not knowing, of not being able to pin down or define, and of both the vulnerability and transformative potential that emerge when there is no clear image and no clear answer.

Through layers, curling edges, and a revealing of the painting’s underside, the work in this exhibition confronts the presumed fixedness and solidity of the flat picture plane. Sparks explores the material possibilities of draped canvas as a way to call into question painting’s limiting dichotomies (front vs. back, abstraction vs. figuration, image vs. object) while introducing a softness and provisionality to the painted image.

and a Rag in the Other will be on view in the Main Gallery from October 28 to December 10. Join us at the gallery for an opening reception on Friday, October 28, from 6-8pm. This event is free, registration is required. Light catering and drinks will be available. Please register here.

M.E. Sparks is an artist and educator currently living in Winnipeg, MB, Treaty 1 Territory. Her studio practice is rooted in mixed emotions: an unrelenting infatuation with painting and a critical distrust of its dominant history. As an inheritor and perpetuator of this history, she considers this internal conflict a generative place to begin. Recent exhibitions include We can only hint at this with words at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art (North Vancouver, 2022) and a A Fine Line at Trapp Projects (Vancouver, 2021). She holds an MFA from Emily Carr University and BFA from NSCAD University. Sparks gratefully acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts and BC Arts Council.


Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art

421 Cawston Ave, Unit 103, Kelowna



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The Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art