Heather Goodchild: Bloody great, at Katherine Mulherin
What feels like not so long ago, there was a functioning artist collective at 50 Borden Street, doing what these youthful, hybrid beasts do: Sharing ideas out of creative desire, and rent out of necessity. In saying this, I have to acknowledge it was almost 7 years ago that the various members put on "The Borden Street Show" at Luft Gallery, probably their most public appearance as a collective.
They've all since dispersed, most of them finding their own kind of success: Tyler Clarke Burke remains the hectic downtown scene's most active cultural concierge, all while making her own work; Balint Zsako has decamped for New York, leaving behind a handsome published monograph of drawings at Art Metropole; and Brad Peyton, last anyone heard, was working on a film adaptation of Edward Gorey's creepy work of genius, The Doubtful Guest; and Heather Goodchild just keeps making her own particular brand of morbidly folksy, fascinating girlish mythology.
Goodchild is showing in two places in town at the moment, a solo show at Katharine Mulherin on Queen West, and in a group show at the Department on Dundas West. The Mulherin show is Goodchild undistilled, continuing her work with Anna Ward Brouse Society, an opaque, ritualistic women's circle she created. Apparently, as Goodchild reveals their beliefs to us slowly, at least one of them is the importance of sacrifice; a bloodied toy lamb, unbearably cute and incongruously grisly, poses gingerly in the window, blood pooling at its feet. Nearby, a quiet-eyed girl in braids and robes stands quietly, blood dripping from her just-used dagger.
That Goodchild surrounds this scene, and others, with homespun accoutrements -- quilting, rug-making -- tricked out in the Society's heraldic symbols -- is fantastically completist and devoted to a narrative vision, and you can't help but marvel at it.
At the Department, Goodchild takes part in a group show about necklaces, which nicely parallels the Mulherin show and her work in general. Taking the convention of paganistic ceremonial dress, Goodchild offers a collar of rug-hooked wool fitting for any ritualistic occasion, sacrifice or otherwise. At Mulherin until Nov. 22, and the Department to Nov. 28.