Audrey D'Astous's practice explores the material and intimate properties of used and worn clothing and household items – what they mean, their histories, the references to the body and the personal. By deconstructing and exaggerating the essential properties of clothing (making them in some cases unwearable and unusable), she challenges assumptions of what is “normal”. Craft enables her to work with her hands, where the repetitive physical labour is important. It calls attention to how women’s work is overlooked and undervalued. A simple gesture of disruption by way of deconstruction and reconstruction can transform the familiar into something unfamiliar. Rendering these objects into useless items allows for new interpretations. She likes to play with and subvert material expectations by exaggerating and reversing those qualities. The titles help this change in perception by creating a new narrative for the object. These soft sculptures are based on the stories we leave behind, the marks we make on other people and our environments, the impact of daily living.
Audrey D’Astous is a French Canadian artist, a recent graduate of the Fine Arts and Women’s Studies programs at the University of Waterloo and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Working primarily in soft sculpture, she is most interested in exploring everyday themes in her artwork. The physical labour is important as it calls on the idea of women’s work that goes unnoticed and undervalued. She received the Office of the President Curator’s Choice Award (2014), the Excellence Award (2014) and the Lynn Holmes Memorial Award (2013) from the Fine Arts Department at the University of Waterloo. She has recently exhibited at the World of Threads Festival 2014, the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Art Mûr, the Artery Gallery as well as Galerie Espacemi and will be exhibiting in the next year at Cedar Ridge Studio Gallery (Winter 2015).