In homelessness studies, “absolute zero” means that no person is without a secure and stable place to spend the night. Its pragmatic sibling, “functional zero” aspires that for every person who is sleeping precariously, there is a place standing empty where they could be secure. With the paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations exhibited in Nothing Smells in Absolute Zero, Chris Reid invites you to wonder with her as you wander through a dreamscape built from the very real places that serve as homes for the unhoused population of Brandon, Manitoba.
Wielding her unique brand of pop-surrealism, Reid implies the significance of these citizens by rendering fragile structures substantial. Shadows and hybrid figures stand watch as sentries or as ghosts. Devoid of human presence, representations of places are understood to be portraits in negative, if one believes that a person’s substance can be gleaned by what they carry with them when there is no safe place to leave anything behind.
Chris Reid is an artist and educator. Recently retired from her position as a housing resource worker for the Prairie Mountain Health Region, she is now working for the Community Health and Housing Association. She lives in Brandon, Manitoba. She has a bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of education from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, where she specialized in painting and drawing. She has received grants from the Manitoba Arts Council, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Over her decades-long career, she has exhibited across Canada and the US, and around the prairies in particular.Exhibition Essay Housing First Interview Jane's Walk Panel Discussion Exhibition Catalogue