Losing your socks? Maybe they’re now works of art

Christine Palka –

When you want to find meaning, you might read a book, study history or conduct research in a lab, but few people would probably think to look to socks for life meaning. Dirty socks, in fact.

Kim Stanford, a Leslieville visual artist, looks at socks and finds a lot of meaning.

Stanford likes to investigate the everyday, repetitive aspects in life to discover a better understanding of why we view ourselves the way we do and how, upon reflection, the little, seemingly insignificant things contribute to “how we fit into the world, our communities, our families.”

For this work of art at the right, Stanford uses her “experience of years of picking up others’ dirty socks” as a symbolic commentary on the direct connection between the mundane and the significant moments in life.

Stanford uses art to demonstrate the meaning she uncovers and says, “Maybe a viewer will see dirty socks in a whole new way, find symbolism (in) the crazy mess called life, find an uncomfortable beauty in our imperfect humanity.”

To that end, she has called for donations of socks from the city at large. “Single, holey, old, new, patterned, plain, tube, sports, fancy, coloured, white, black, grey, mismatched, adult, children’s, any kind whatsoever!”

The sock art will be on display this mid–May at Gallery 1313 (www.g1313.org), in Parkdale. The installation will have its own room, where the socks will be on display. Stanford says she will be “fashioning hundreds of bulbous protuberances out of the socks that will project into the room, spreading across the walls in an organic growth pattern, like an infection.”

And to further drive the symbolism home, your ears will hear a sound track of Stanford’s snoring husband and chewing children, which Stanford describes as, “equally mundane and bothersome domestic noises.”

Stanford’s resumé includes several solo and group exhibitions, as well as a residency at the Toronto School of Art and two grants, including the 2013 Toronto Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant. In addition to Stanford’s Fine Arts diploma, she also has an M.Sc., Social Science and Health degree from the University of Toronto.

To donate socks, email kim@stanford.com. If they’re close enough, she will pick up the donations in person.