Threading the Needle | March 8 - 30

Elizabeth D'Agostino
Noelle Hamyln
Kelly Grace
Julie Liger-Belair
Ava Margueritte
Ava Roth
Florence Solis
Rachael Speirs

Friday, March 8 @ 5 - 7 pm
*Artists Ava Margueritte and Elizabeth D'Agostino will be in attendance*
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Wall Space Gallery invites you to celebrate International Women's Day with Threading the Needle. To pass through the eye of a needle is a delicate manoeuvre, not dissimilar to how women have historically been forced to navigate achieving visibility within the art world, and the world-at-large. This group exhibition of nine artists explores feminine identity and world-building through storytelling from the female perspective. Through embroidery, textile, painting, photography, encaustic, printmaking, and collage, each of these artists reclaim or push the boundaries that define ‘a woman’s world’.

silkscreen and etching of a moth attaching to a cocoon in black etching over white background with yellow flora

Ava Roth and Elizabeth D’Agostino engage nature and objects as medium and subject in ways that reclaim the connection between the feminine and the natural. Ecofeminism’s proposed shared history between the oppression of women and nature under patriarchal social structures was rejected by social feminism, believing it to be a damaging association. However, in a world striving for hope amidst the climate crisis, the qualities of care, community teamwork, and symbiotic relationships – typically associated with natural structures and women’s sensibilities – are being revalued.

"[My] images are characterized as archetypes, which evolve into ficticious environments,
constructing conversations between living and non-living things. Relationships between print media and sculpture are inspired by interspecies communication and the subjects are extracted from their current environments and assigned new roles within a fabricated landscape. Their form and structure carry a heightened sense of interconnectedness demonstrating both animal and plant attributes often appearing indistinguishable and creating their own dense topographies."

- Elizabeth D'Agostino

Roth and D’Agostino bring nature’s core creative and generative possibilities to the forefront by focusing on collaborative relationships between beings; Roth in her use of organic materials and her practice of creating ‘collaborative’ honeycomb works with bees, and D’Agostino, in her imagined ecosystems of animal-flora-and-insect hybrids. Their practices stand as examples of human’s and nature’s adaptability.

For Noelle Hamlyn, objects reveal their stories through memory and subjective meaning. In her series, In the Stacks, dismantled book bindings and covers become small monuments to the accumulation of knowledge – a right that is still not solidified for women across the world. We can fill Hamlyn’s empty bindings with the memories of our favourite writers, throwing us into the joy of thumbing through the musty shelves of a bookstore, or appreciate them as representations of forbidden knowledge.

Julie Liger-Belair, Rachael Speirs and Kelly Grace draw on renaissance and vintage imagery to reinvent depictions of women and their roles in art history, film-making, and within family structures. Grace’s female figures are steeped in the 1950s, an era replete with restrictions on women’s roles in society. Grace creates the cinematic representation of leading female characters that were then often few and far between. She poises them in action, placing them outside of the objectification of the screen and male-viewer.

  • Julie Liger-Belair, Headdress 1, mixed media on panel, 11 x 14 in.
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  • Julie Liger-Belair, Little parable no. 11, collage, gel pen, and pencil on postcard, 4 x 6 in. Framed by Wall Space
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  • Julie Liger-Belair, Headdress 3, mixed media on panel, 12 x 12 in.
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In her paintings, Liger-Belair uses mixed media and collage to build a personal symbolic lexicon drawing from Victorian-era iconography. Her female figures are exposed to but defiant of the male gaze, often staring back with knowing expressions, playfully exposing the thin barriers between the private and public self. Meanwhile, Speirs, inspired by her grandmother’s textile work, repurposes the storytelling capability of embroidery and collage into darkly whimsical moral undertones reminiscent of antique children’s books. Her mysterious narratives, embroidered across her surfaces, hint at the deeply complex nature of familial relationships.

Gosia, Ava Margueritte, and Florence Solis turn to emotive environments and figures as a form of extended self-portraiture, to open avenues to vulnerability, empathy, and connection to cultural roots. Ava Margueritte, a neurodiverse artist, uses the photographic lens to connect her audience to the feelings of wonder and softness she experiences in her surroundings. She reframes these traits as strengths – in their ability to allow an alternate perspective for experiencing the everyday – amidst a world that often views them as weaknesses.

Gosia’s delicate sculpted female figures act as containers for her own inner world. Tranquil yet disquieted, a sense of turmoil broils underneath their serene faces.

The weight of women’s emotional labour can be felt in both Gosia’s works and those of Florence Solis. Solis’ richly symbolic narratives are populated with objects and stories derived from her Filipino heritage. She focuses on her own, at times conflicting, experience of her identity as a first-generation Filipino-Canadian and her role in maintaining cultural practices.

"Their striking and resonating quality lies in capturing moments normally expressed in private. [Frozen and on display, we are allowed] as long and close a look as we want. Inanimate objects become intimate as we see ourselves reflected in them."

- Gosia

These nine artists elevate aspects of nature, culture, and fine art previously relegated to ‘outsider’ status within Western patriarchal structures. Whether through the tactful combination of various imagery, mediums, and materials to redefine them anew, or the revaluing of community and compassion through imagined creations and extended self-portraiture, the artists in Threading the Needle reveal what our society has been lacking.

- Tiffany April, Curator

Reception: Friday, March 8 @ 5 - 7 pm
*Artists Ava Margueritte and Elizabeth D'Agostino will be in attendance*
RSVP your attendance to
For inquiries, please contact

Threading the Needle Catalogue