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Carl Stewart looks beneath the sheets 

From curbside junk to stunning textile pieces, fragments looks at old mattresses in a brand new way.

click to enlarge Halifax diptych uses  fabric found on Green Street.
  • Halifax diptych uses fabric found on Green Street.

What's in a mattress? Tossing, turning, sweet dreams, nightmares, hot sex, bad sex, the beginning of life...or maybe, the end. Ottawa-based artist Carl Stewart thinks about those things, but he's also interested in the aesthetics of a bed, under the sheets. The bare mattress and box spring. He began collecting pieces of curbside mattresses in 1996, after taking notice of what he saw as wasted source of interesting fabrics on garbage day. Since then, he's collected some 400 different types of fabric (an estimate), keeping track of where he finds each one and using them to create quilt-like textile works. Stewart embellishes some fabrics with beds, sequins, metallic foils and more, while others are left in their original state. The Eyelevel's fragments displays eight works that combine Ottawa-found materials with fabrics Stewart collected on a visit to Halifax in the fall, with box-spring material found on Green Street and pieces salvaged from the reject bin at Simmons Mattress Gallery in Dartmouth. "I think about it as a really unwitting collaboration between people in Ottawa and people in, in a strange way they're sleeping together." –Allison Saunders

To June 16, Eyelevel Gallery, 2159 Gottingen Street


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