Built with Indexhibit
Residual Assets (skipped steps) is distilled from experience of place and intertwined with consideration of the complex histories of land, objects, and materials. Elements of documentary, and collecting practices are woven together with the poetics of embodied experience. Photographs become vessels, receptacles, that record my interactions; gestures that oscillate between creative and destructive processes of transformation.
Obscuring, working-over, or defacing my photographs with paint and materials, the final works incorporate multiple modes of imaging into a single frame through scanning and enlarging. On some images I place minerals, either given to me or found; on others I include scraps of paint scraped off my palette. Some images are steeped for months; in salt solution or left outside after painting them with clay. Layers of time, forming and dissolving, seep through the disruptions that I instigate on the surface of the images.
Materials gathered from the land or reclaimed from discarded or transformed spaces are important elements in my work. The objects in the studio installations include; concrete sculptures (referencing core samples), items salvaged from a nearby decommissioned paper mill, pieces of a fuselage from a lear jet that once belonged to Manuel Noriega, ash strips that I later use to make a basket, giant hogweed (an invasive species that burns skin it contacts after exposure to light, a painting of a decisive moment on a road trip, and moose antler sheds. Each object carries its own history, and future, and refers to various modes of time and can take on multiple meanings.
Similarly, images of sites occupied by the nuclear industry conjure complex relations to the past and future. Uranium tailings in northern Ontario and New Mexico, just a couple of sites among many that I visit, are vast monoliths that sit uncomfortably between land and architecture. The waste sites are often in places considered remote, in the north and the desert, on reservation lands and watersheds. The Nevada Test Site, which I photographed from its periphery, was the former United States nuclear weapons proving ground. It was referred to as sacrificial land, is the most bombed place in North America, is still militarized today, and remains the unceded territory of the Western Shoshone.
I return to images despite or because of an essential skepticism of ocular-centric ways of knowing. Informed by extensive consideration of nuclear semiotics and contemplation of the movement and changing meanings and valuation of objects and materials, my work grapples with the challenge of communicating about our relationship with the earth, our legacy, across generations and immense spans of time. Through my interactions with photographs I question the limitations and potentials of visual communication. What can we do with that which is inherited, found, abandoned, spent? What will we do with what remains?
Thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for supporting the research phase of this body of work, to SNAP for the exhibition in their beautiful new space, to Algoma University for the sabbatical, to Smokestack for the printing, to Superframe for the framing, and to Cooper Cole and Republic Gallery for the ongoing support.