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Distance and Displacement

``As we spend more of our time staring into the frames of movies, television, computers, hand-held displays . . . how the world is framed may be as important as what is contained within that frame.`` Anne Friedberg Virtual Window
Distance: how much ground is covered by an object, regardless of its starting or ending position.
Displacement: an object’s change in position considering its starting position and final position.

This project is about boundaries, about striking out of the screened environment into an unknown (yet familiar) wilderness. There is a sense of return, of going back to something that was lost. The paintings seem to be about displacement, a figure holding a mirror, her eyes looking into the distance, and in others the physical removal of a piece of the painting directs our eyes beyond the frame. This aversion speaks to the relationship with our natural surroundings, ignoring issues that are critical yet so often ignored, instead focusing on the image of the self and the screen. Moving away from the reflection of Narcissus to reflection through retrospection. The loss of one’s self parallels one’s disassociation from nature.

The paintings become “windows onto themes of presence and absence, matter and void,” to borrow a summary phrase from Julian Bell’s Mirror of the World. The mirror both sees and reflects, as eye and camera lens, allusion and illusion. The cut out paintings with their sculptural, dimensional quality and missing circle have a direct correlation with their environment. Enhanced and embraced by a natural setting or injured by the loss of it, these absences create negative space, as with a black mirror or a dark screen. The missing pieces of this project are the removed physical circles absent from the cut out paintings, their significance yet to be exposed as artifacts or found objects.

The photographs document something more than just the subject of paintings casually dropped on the forest floor. They raise questions about originality and ways of seeing, relevant in the age of Photoshop and digitally altered images. Where two almost identical paintings of the same scene are shown, they create a relevant language as we stare into multiple windows containing manipulated versions of images nestled into our various screens. 

All images from this series are printed full frame and are shown as photographed.

by Dawn Dudek and Nico Kos Earle

DISTANCE + DISPLACEMENT began in the summer of 2018 in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and continued through 2020 Feb-July as artist in residence at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia.

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