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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 urban environment into the unknown…and yet the wilderness is familiar; 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 directly to our 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. I want to move from the reflection of Narcissus to reflection through retrospection, as this 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 (and the associated idea of our impact on the environment) as if caught by the wind. They raise important questions about originality and ways of seeing, so relevant in the age of Photoshop. Furthermore, they bring the whole journey of image making full circle and emphasise an enduring fascination with repeating images. In these photographs, we often see two almost identical paintings of the same scene, a relevant language as we stare into multiple windows nestled into our various screens. By stepping out of the familiar, urban environment into the unknown, I start to tie dual aspects of my practice together–the painting with the digital image—and forge a more powerful whole, one that is deeply relevant to the issues we all face today.

Distance and Displacement began in the summer of 2018 in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and will continue through my residencies at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia and Sointula Art Shed, Malcolm Island, BC in 2020.