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Mary-Anne McTrowe: SO WHAT

Gallery 1C03


Mary-Anne McTrowe So What

October 21 - December 11, 2015


Buffeteria, 4th floor of Centennial Hall

SO WHAT is a textile installation by Mary-Anne McTrowe comprised of four large, multi-coloured buntings or banners, each one with a different phrase sewn onto it in white felt lettering: SO WHAT; THAT'S IT; WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE; and YEAH YEAH YEAH.

Gallery 1C03 has elected to present SO WHAT in the midst of a public space on campus where people eat, study, and socialize in order to spark critical conversations among the users of that space. As well, McTrowe's installation is presented concurrently with the Gallery's main exhibition A Putting Down of Roots: 40 Years of CV2, which features work by 8 contemporary visual artists who make art with text.

As a sentiment, SO WHAT is seemingly out of place on this type of banner; one that usually conveys strictly positive or celebratory messages like CONGRATULATIONS, WELCOME BACK, or IT'S A GIRL. Upon first reading SO WHAT is anti-celebratory, negative; the petulant teen's "who cares". But sometimes SO WHAT is a challenge for elaboration, for follow up: "how is your experience changing?" or "what is the impact this will have on the future?" In this way, the apparently antagonistic SO WHAT can be seen instead as a desirable aggravation, much like the grain of sand in an oyster. Each of the phrases can similarly be read as, on the one hand, halting conversation or, on the other, prompting further examination or reflection.

Mary-Anne McTrowe was born and raised in southern Alberta, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Lethbridge in 1998. She went on to pursue graduate studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and received her Master of Fine Arts in studio art in 2001. Her work has spanned a number of different media, and her practice focuses on the question of how things that are familiar to us can be made unfamiliar; how a change in context can render something temporarily strange and perhaps even unrecognizable. Recent bodies of work include using crochet as a carrier of information, the crocheting of cozies for everyday objects, and performance and static work about the sasquatch. McTrowe is a member of the folk art-ernative band The Cedar Tavern Singers AKA Les Phonoréalistes with Daniel Wong, was a founding member of Trap\door Artist Run Centre, and currently works as a technician in the art department at the University of Lethbridge.

Gallery 1C03 thanks the artist and Lewyc Institute of Contemporary Art for facilitating the presentation of this work. The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

SO WHAT will be on display from October 21 – December 11, 2015. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. The space is wheelchair accessible.


For more information contact:
Jennifer Gibson, Director/Curator,
Gallery 1C03, The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9
Phone: 204-786-9253