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AGO Artist-in-Residence Heather Goodchild Goes to Work in the Interactive Installation Uniform Factory

Art Gallery of Ontario’s Youth Council volunteers train to sew garments for final performance on Nuit Blanche 2012

(TORONTO – Aug. 9, 2012) Transforming the Community Gallery of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Weston Family Learning Centre into a fully operational assembly line, artist-in-residence Heather Goodchild presents the installation Uniform Factory. Exploring ideas of communal labour practices while evoking the history of Toronto’s garment industry, Uniform Factory is under deadline to train workers for speed and precision in anticipation of a performance at this year’s Nuit Blanche on Sept. 29, 2012.

An interactive installation, Uniform Factory goes to work all summer, with scheduled performances every Wednesday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Thursday and Saturday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Since late June, Goodchild has been training and working with members of the AGO’s Youth Council, young volunteers who have been taught how to use the sewing machines and create uniforms. Each performance features Youth Council members working on the sewing line, with Goodchild acting as floor supervisor.

Goodchild is known for working mainly with fibre, felt mosaics, silk-screened textiles and quilts. Uniform Factory uses garment manufacturing processes to explore how the idea of “work” in society has evolved in the past century, and how industry has influenced personal and social well-being. Replicating a mid 20th-century assembly line, complete with industrial sewing machines, punch clocks and the rhythmic beating of a drum, Goodchild’s installation offers a rose-tinted vision of past labour practices.

“I’m delighted to be participating in the AGO’s Artist-in-Residence program. Having the resources and inspirations of such a formidable institution is a considerable advantage,” said Goodchild. “During my residency, I’m taking the opportunity to transform the characters that inhabit the narratives in my work from images to live participants.”

“It’s exciting having Heather transform our Weston Family Community Gallery space into a performative installation,” said Ann Marie Peña, assistant manager of the AGO’s artist-in-residence program. “Her work not only engages with issues related to fabrication and labour, but also draws visitors directly into her creative process.”

The assembly line of Uniform Factory will be on display on Sept. 29, 2012 as Goodchild, in collaboration with artists Naomi Yasui, Josh Hall and musician Doug Paisley, presents the large scale installation Made it Then, Make it Again. A one-night performance presented in partnership with Nuit Blanche, Made It Then, Make It Again will see the whole of the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre turned into a factory, as over 100 workers assemble for 12 hours to produce uniforms, ceramic mugs, aluminum stools and screen-printed posters.

The AGO launched its Artist-in-Residence program in fall 2011, with Toronto’s Paul Butler taking over a dedicated studio in the newly built Weston Family Learning Centre. The program is the first of its kind at a major Canadian art museum, hosting as many as 6 artists each year for 2 – 6 months.

The Artist-in-Residence program is generously supported by its Lead Sponsor, Partners in Art. The AGO also extends special thanks to the J.P Bickell Foundation.
Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

For more information about the program, please visit

Heather Goodchild has exhibited across North America since 2002. Her recent solo exhibitions include Walking the Pattern, presented at Mulherin Pollard Projects (New York, NY) in 2011 and The Wardens, presented at Hamilton Artitsts Inc in 2012. Goodchild's practice involves exploring the rituals, regalia and symbols of world religions, Girl Guides and Freemasonry in an attempt to understand the purpose of these traditions. Using textile techniques such as rug-hooking, inlaid patchwork, screen printing and quilting, she has developed new ways to execute old crafts, creating pieces that seem to exist both in the past and present. Heather Goodchild, in collaboration with Naomi Yasui, runs the online project The Wardens Today.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

May 1 – Aug. 26, 2012: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris

Oct. 20, 2012 – Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

Mar.16 – June 16, 2013: Revealing the Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Early Florentine Art

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.



For more information, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, Communications
416-979-666-, ext. 403,

Caitlin Coull; Manager, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364,


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