In her new exhibit, Getting Big, Violet Costello touches on joy and infancy
The nature of childhood is something that often involves a massive amount of impactful life-altering occurrences. Whether you’ve had an uneventful upbringing or an interesting one, everything at that time was immense in scale and influence.
Violet Costello touches on the nature of these ideas in her most recent exhibit, Getting Big.
The Alberta artist has touched on themes of youth in much of her previous artwork and fleshes this out further in her new production. Costello has been working with sculpting for the bulk of her career and in her experience, there is much trial and error in finding the ideal application of her favourite format.
“Sculptures have such a presence to them, and that’s why I prefer them over other types of visual art,” Costello says. “It isn’t easy, however. I don’t know how many hundreds of sculptures I’ve thrown into dumpsters over the years.”
However, Costello is leaving her comfort zone in her new artistic endeavour, as she is also incorporating paintings in the display of Getting Big. The purpose of this is to add to the weight of her chosen theme. The installation utilizes numerous paintings and sculptures of different toddlers, in varying states of balance and imbalance.
“I think a big part of why I chose this kind of approach for the installation is being a mom,” she explains. “I believe my emphasis on toddlers and babies is like just one final push to get it all out of my system.”
Each one of the sculptures and paintings incorporates vibrant collages of colours and themes. Some of the sculptures have the subjects attempting to balance objects of interest on their heads, with each different object reflecting the nature of the world at that age.
“You’re born so suddenly into this simultaneously bright, warm and cold world,” she says. “In terms of what the sculptures are balancing on their heads it’s not about what’s influencing their lives, but what has the potential to influence their lives.”
Each object of interest revolves around popular culture or childhood constructs—such as toys, cartoons and other seemingly normal objects that an adult wouldn’t think twice about.
The paintings share this theme and that’s where the installation works in tandem with Costello’s vision. Viewers will have to do some work, as it is up to them to discern what sculpture is related to what painting.
Costello revels in the scope and scale of youthful minds, as it plays heavily in her visual representation of each of her pieces. She proclaims to take inspiration from the innocence of youth and the almost fairytale-like nature of childhood.
“That’s what life while growing up is. Things are big, scary and can be incredibly disturbing. Yet, at the same time, they can be so light hearted and wonderful,” Costello says.
Getting Big allows the audience to pick each work apart at their own pace, while reminding them of the looming nature of youthfulness—enjoying the lively nature of infancy.
When regarding the overall sensation, she wants to convey the youthful symbolism.
“It’s all symbolic of everything that happens when you’re that age,” she says. “You get constantly bombarded with life and you have no idea that that’s going to continue forever.”
Until Sat., Nov. 18