Notes on Emergence

Emergence: Wendy Wersch
November 12 – November 23, 1996

a response to the exhibition by Catherine MacDonald

November 13, 1996.
Standing in silence she begins to sway as if responding to the subtle shifts of energies and wind currents, lulled by the rattling of the steam heaters and the banging and clanking rhythms of old pipes contracting in the cold.

Her silence is strong and determined, she is primordial woman standing naked, cocooned in her memories and in the bits and pieces of her guilt.

She is standing in the echo of her voice… the silence explains. The echo reaches through eons of time…her head is surrounded by the fear and terror of her own thoughts.

The space created around her emphasises her pain. She welcomes it, takes her strength from it. The space permeates you, the personal history of this woman blends with your own. Her silence demands attention, an apology, forgiveness, absolution…your blessing.

The silence has lasted for a very long time.

O N – C O R E S :
…tiny decayed fruits…
…devoured… …erased…

… like words covered up with layers of
charcoal, drawings erased by the
presence of line, like words under

…the negation of things…

-the text has become unacceptable; yet it can not be

T H R E A D S :

If she is a whole, it’s a whole composed of parts that are wholes, not simple partial objects, but a moving, limitlessly changing ensemble, a cosmos tirelessly traversed by Eros, an immense astral space not organized around any one sun thatÍs any more of a star than the others.

-Helene Cixous-

THE RUG (1): …also for Wendy…

A time ago,
while wrapping the flowers she had purchased,
I struck up a brief conversation
with this particular customer.

…she told me a little story…

She had just been to Canadian Tire where she had been asked to complete a form sheet.
To the question which asked her to state her present occupation she wrote:


Perplexed, the young store clerk frowned and asked, “what exactly is it that you do?”

THE RUG (2):


-the rug is her landscape, her mark, as distinctive as swirls on fingertips – dense with the memories of joy, pleasure and sorrows.

December 9, 1996.

…my grandmother told me a story today…

When my grandmother was eleven years old her mother died in childbirth. She said her father was a good worker, but an even better drinker. She quit school to look after her baby sister and at thirteen went to work in a printing factory in order to keep them both from being taken by Children’s Aid.

My grandmother worked two years just for their room and board – seven dollars a week – one dollar a day, arranging colour cards and hand-binding books. She saved for two years to buy her little sister a winter coat. It was red and cost $11.00.

Elsewhere, she gives. She doesn’t “know” what she is giving, she doesn’t measure it, she gives, though, neither a counterfeit impression nor something she hasn’t got, she gives more, with no assurance that she’ll get back even some unexpected profit from what she puts out. She gives that there may be life, thought, transformation. This is an “economy” that can no longer be put in economic terms.

-Helene Cixous-

Catherine MacDonald is an emerging Manitoba artist, having graduated with a B.F.A. from the U of M in 1996. This is her first experiment in writing towards a work of art, incorporating polaroids and texts.