In May 2015, Iris Karuna completed a month-long residency at the Drake Lab, Toronto. Working exclusively with found images, discarded household objects, and straight pins, she built a new series of collage works over the course of the month.
Referencing the Atropos belladonna plant (a.k.a. “deadly nightshade”), the story of Sleeping Beauty, and the agony of searching for an oasis and finding a mirage, Karuna’s trust / fall explores the idea that trust is dangerous, and that beauty is perhaps untrustworthy.
Throughout the residency, the phases and compositional elements of Karuna’s collages were on view, simultaneous to the nascent works. Working with straight pins as an adhesive, each collage element might be arranged or rearranged several times, and the final collages retain a sense of delicacy, fragility, and changeability. As the collages developed, viewers took note of the gradual changes in composition, as well as the images collected and/or left unused.
Showing works that are incomplete, imperfect, or that may be undone later is key to Karuna’s practice. The acknowledgement of frailty is pervasive in her work, which often explores the human condition, our difficulty with communication, and our fears of being misunderstood, unrecognized, or left behind.