Kathy Slade, Chart, 2006, embroidery on canvas, 105 canvases. Gift of the artist, 2021. Photo: Scott Massey; Kathy Slade, Alas Poor YORICK!, 2002, embroidery on cotton. Purchase, 2021

Kathy Slade

Kathy Slade works across disciplines with a broad scope of media that includes textiles, sculpture, sound, performance, film, video, print, and publication. Through her practice, Slade points to events in literature, art history, and popular culture as a means to reimagine existing temporalities and texts, often rubbing cultural stereotypes against one another.

Chart is a gridded display of 105 guitar chords — depicted through tablature notation, or instrument fingering — that are machine-embroidered on canvas. For Slade, the guitar tab represents a utilitarian device for do-it-yourself learning, which is connected with embroidery because, as the artist states, both are "about strings, the hand, and where to put one’s fingers.” Chart presents a minimalist grid display of an overwhelming number of chords, particularly less commonly used minor, augmented and diminished cords, in a kind of “gluttonous tab sampler.”

Alas Poor YORICK! is a key work in Slade’s oeuvre. With a nod to the masculinist history of the monochrome and hard-edged abstraction, the work is a machine embroidered recreation of the black page in Laurence Sterne’s epic novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759).

Kathy Slade is an artist, writer, curator, editor, and publisher. Slade is an alumnus of Simon Fraser University and a lecturer at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. She is the founding editor of Emily Carr University Press; founder of READ Books at Libby Leshgold Gallery; co-director of The Music Appreciation Society, and is part of the art band Cranfield and Slade. Slade received the VIVA Award in 2009.