Mackenzie Kelly-Frère is a textile artist and educator whose work has been exhibited across Canada, including the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art: The News from Here in 2013 and Lieux de memoire: International biennale du lin du Portneuf in Deschambault-Grondines, Quebec in 2009. His international exhibitions have included China, Japan, Korea and the United States where he also participated in a residency at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon. In 2014 Mackenzie mounted his first solo international exhibition titled Frequency for GalleryGallery in Kyoto, Japan. He has also contributed texts to various Canadian and international publications including Craft Perception & Practice Vol III and recently to Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. Mackenzie teaches in the School of Craft + Emerging Media at the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary, where he lives with his husband Kristofer Kelly-Frère and daughter Elizabeth. (Curriculum Vitae)




My studio practice is rooted in a contemplative approach to cloth construction using natural materials and plant-sourced colour. I favour compositional strategies where both the duration of and intervals between pattern elements are based on random numerical sequences, measurements taken from my body, and antique winding tools made irregular with time and wear. In combination, these methods produce complexity and variations that echo patterns found in nature and the irregular symmetries of the body.  As I engage with layers of complexity driven by factors over which I have little control, intervals emerge in which apparently random sequences coalesce into visible repetitions or patterns. There is a gestural logic to the rhythmic and cumulative processes of textile construction in which the ancient human impulse for pattern, order and cohesion is embedded as much into our idea of cloth, as it may be in the cloth itself. The intimacy of cloth made by hand, and our centuries-old familiarity with it make cloth not only related to the body, but itself (an)other body. In my recent work I am compelled by the way in which cloth may intimate both human presence and absence (often simultaneously) and have begun to explore the notion of embodiment as it relates to the praxis of making cloth by hand. As a material aggregation of dedicated gestures, breath and thought enacted through an interval of time – cloth tacitly communicates the immaterial and enmeshes the intangible.



Mweavingon travail en atelier est ancré au sein d’un tissage contemplatif utilisant des matériaux et colorants naturels. Les stratégies de composition et de création de motifs sont gouvernées par des séquences numériques aléatoires, les mensurations de mon corps, et par des outils de tissage anciens en rendus irréguliers après plusieurs années de travail.  Cette démarche produit des variations de motifs qui s’approchent de celles que l’on retrouve dans les systèmes naturels et dans les symétries irrégulières du corps humain. Ces diverses forces produisent des intervalles dans lesquels des séquences aléatoires fusionnent en répétitions et motifs visibles. Il y a une logique gestuelle et rythmée dans le tissage qui est directement reliée aux mêmes pulsions anciennes qui recherchent l’ordre, la structure et la cohésion. Ces pulsions se trouvent non seulement dans le tissage, mais aussi dans le tissu lui-même.  Les tissus fabriqués à la main ont une intimité qui, non seulement les associe au corps humain, mais qui lui donne un nouveau corps.  Je suis motivé par cette capacité de témoigner de le présence humaine et de son absence. Dans cette agrégation au fil du temps de gestes dédiés, de respirations et de pensées, le tissu communique l’immatériel et enserre l’intangible.