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The Pergola
Contemporary Calgary November 2021
Artist Talk 


The Pergola

by Kayla Ephros

The pergola, Maya says, sounds like something between purgatory and parabola. The pergola surrounds— sonically, structurally. The pergola is haunted (by the potential energy for company). The pergola is something between a purification and a math phenomena, it’s the suburbs, it’s somebody’s grandmother’s glory. For our purposes, the pergola is a stand-in for Structure in general, where human scale meets the meta human propensity for growth— the way the roses climb our vision.

Maya’s studio practice is all PE (potential energy) in that every material is on limits and affected, poised to become a puzzle piece. The PE is also a party—I’ve had fomo, wanted to come. She slides into a syrupy solitude that is clearly Home, a housewarming ever and over feat. DJ Cosmic Questions.

Moved by a sort of stoned apophenia, meaning gets made and dragged through repeated art actions (brushstrokes, the sewing needle). This dimension of dot connection is both earthly and otherwise. During these sessions, Maya’s mythology unfolds, the space fills to its edges with fabric (earthly and—), a colour palette evoking a childhood that isn’t mine, but one I can viscerally visit, with its heartbreak, ghosts, water, joy.

The perpetual housewarming is aspirational. The way we have to keep believing in home as a sense in order to stay light, and right with truth. Maya’s ethereal homemaking is grand, looping, she turns the home from goal to muse, and with regular, often soft supplies, spins her playful critique.

A Pattern Language (a brick of a book with bible energy and status), celebrates design being taken into the hands of the commons, and encourages a de compartmentalization of Structure. The first page I flip to reads…prepare to knit the inside of the building to the outside, by treating the edge between the two as a place in its own right, and making human details there;…

When the edge becomes a place, receiving agency and attention, there is suddenly another place to be, not the Here nor There that we are automatically obsessed with. I think of Maya’s wall works where the frame functions as a continuation of what isn’t the frame, collapsing in and out, blending art with Art, pointing to a growth like the roses on the pergola. The fabric used in these pieces is printed with craigslist ads for sublets, mostly carpeted plus vertical blinds. Once the fabric is incorporated, the windows of the rooms emerge as an uncanny light source, leaking moments of daylight onto the frame that is holding itself, its own.

French painter Odilon Redon (1840-1916) says, place the logic of the visible at the service of the invisible, and Maya tells me she’s sold. I’m back at the edge, more specifically, the perpetual edge of childhood, carbonated by the invisible, for instance, the fort (the pergola). PE in all corners, logic half baked (wafting). I think of all the Octobers, the warm orange ball of them, when we submit to Spirit in commodified agreement, how some say, the veil is thin. October in a store-bought frame and the ghosts mock our fake return tickets. The edges ignored, overlooked.

If logic came equipped with its own question mark? Like: logic?

The clash of its iterations?

Maya lets Terence McKenna’s lectures wash over her and so do I. He says something about perspective, how we might think it’s just our position in the room that creates difference, but regardless, our individual experiences of that room are infinitely nuanced. In my head I’m singing…door to another door to another door…and then he says, we are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination…

In the pergola, (we’re also out, of course), the butterflies come for the roses. We’re on the brink of comfort for several reasons. The butterflies…have several lenses, can see in many directions at once.

Then a breeze, a new edge.

Terence says…culture, which we put on like an overcoat…

The logic? of the butterfly. There are coats everywhere.

But, the logic of heartbreak— my experience has never evoked actual breakage, no shattering, no dismantling. The other day my “broken” heart was a t-shirt, gathered in handfuls and tightly wound with rubber bands, as if prepared for tie-dye. If only a cool dip in those colours. The broken heart (from childhood) is the pergola made visible by Novelty (art). To have a seat there, reflect on its impossible wholeness, the maximalist patchwork— say the words until your body absorbs their shape.

Maya says, the concept of habit and novelty encompasses everything I think about the world, which is... not much. Just ideas about patterns and growth. The not much strikes my midnight, and I’m at the party too.

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