• Lorna Brown

    Lorna Brown is a Vancouver artist, curator and educator. Since 1984 her work has been shown in exhibitions at Dazibao, Montreal; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Gallery 44, Toronto; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; and Artspeak, Vancouver, among others. Her recent independent curatorial projects include Set and Group Search: art in the library. Director/Curator of Artspeak 1999–2004.

  • Helen Cho

    Helen Cho studied at Ontario College of Art and has exhibited at Gallery BODA and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, at YYZ, Toronto, at VTO Gallery, London and at Galerie Wieland, Berlin. Her performance work has been presented in Switzerland and Korea, and her film work has been presented at the International Women’s University in Hanover.

  • Holly Ward

    Holly Ward is a Vancouver-based artist. She received her BFA (Interdisciplinary) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1999 and her MFA (Studio) from the University of Guelph in 2006. She has exhibited in solo exhibitions across Canada at the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery (Vancouver), the Or Gallery (Vancouver), and YYZ Gallery (Toronto), amongst others. She has participated in group exhibitions in Canada, England, Mexico, the United States, Norway and South Korea. Her public art project, News of the Whole World (2011), can currently be seen on the exterior of the CBC building in downtown Vancouver. She is represented by Republic Gallery (Vancouver).

  • Colleen Wolstenholme

    Colleen Wolstenholme studied at the State University of New York and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Saw Gallery in Ottawa and grunt gallery, Vancouver as well as at Horse Hospital, London UK, Project Green, Greenpoint NY, Real Art Ways, Hartford Conn.  and MOCCA, Toronto. In 2002, she was a finalist for the Sobey Award in Visual Arts.


  • Placebo

    June 12–July 16, 2004

    Placebo features two artists who use everyday objects and substances to investigate consumption and states of embodiment.

    Colleen Wolstenholme’s work uses images of pills and corporate logos found on the internet as sources for projects in sculpture, photography, painting and embroidery. Psychotropic and analgesic medications are charged with a range of social, sexual and cultural content, and Wolstenholme has wed these associations to a range of cultural practices. The history of handicraft informs her labour-intensive petit point reproductions of pharmaceutical logos. Colour photographs and inkjet prints manipulate the branding of pills and other consumed substances, such as cigarettes and alcohol, into patterns suggested by their shapes and clinical effects. From floral motifs to patterns that are reminiscent of molecular structures and constellations, Wolstenholme’s wry work draws upon the distance between the uniform, brightly coloured, text-embossed aesthetic of these goods and remedies, and their function, effect or social significance.

    Helen Cho uses the sensual presence of soap and sugar in installations that reflect the permeable and transitional nature of these substances. Luxurious and exuding an overbearing scent, these concentrated and heavily processed materials are manipulated and placed in ephemeral arrangements in relation to the architecture of the gallery. The usual intimacy between soap and body is undercut through paring and grating, and through embedding remnants of everyday life, such as beads and pins. These fossils, when placed in piles of glittering refined sugar, become part of an idealized landscape. Too Sweet! Go Away! evokes the slippery interiors and exteriors of the body and the equally blurred division between the two. Both subtle and extreme, this installation draws upon our familiarity with substances we consume daily, and transforms them, intensifying a sense of absorption, from without and within, of material culture.



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Title: Placebo
Category: Exhibition Catalogue
Artist: Helen Cho, Colleen Wolstenholme
Writers: Lorna Brown, Holly Ward
Editor: Artspeak
Design: Robin Michell
Publisher: Artspeak
Year published: 2004
Pages: 15pp
Cover: Paper fold out velcro
Binding: Single Bolt
Process: Offset
Features: 8 colour images
Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 1.5
Weight: 61 g
ISBN: 0-921394-49-7
Price: $4 CDN

Placebo is published on the occasion of a two-person exhibition featuring Helen Cho and Colleen Wolstenholme, which took place at Artspeak between June 12 and July 16, 2004.

A placebo, whether a sugar pill used in clinical trials or an effect of belief upon our perceived experience, stands in for something else in a way similar to the function of representation. In their work, Cho and Wolstenholme draw upon the strategy of substitution to extract the full evocatory potential of materials and images.

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