York Corridor Vitrines / Vitrines du corridor York
Le Bois Summit/Summit Woods: 31 Walks, Kathleen Vaughan. Photos by/par Richard-Max Tremblay
Antipodean Waters, Kelly Thompson
36 Views of Aotearoa, Cynthia Hammond
Cynthia Hammond, Kelly Thompson, and Kathleen Vaughan present Parallax: Landscapes in Translation, work in acrylic on canvas, hand woven digital jacquard cloth, and digital and hand embroidery and textile piecing. The common theme is the embodied experience of landscape, and the representation, defamiliarization, and translation of landscape via different media. The works meditate on the passage of time, by either fixing a moment (the play of light on water), revisiting the same place again and again (such as a well-traveled trail), or by aiming to represent a transient encounter with a place of great significance. The artists deploy a combination of digital and analogue processes, working with and against authoritative forms of spatial representation (Google maps, digital photography, computerized looms).
Cynthia's 36 Views of Aotearoa refers to the woodblock series by Katsushika Hokusai, 36 Views of Mount Fuji (1826-33), which Hammond saw by chance during a recent trip to New Zealand. The grid format and multiple views of one iconic location inspired the format of her own series-in-progress. Hammond’s journey was her first visit to the place where her parents were born. Their stories and memories shaped Hammond’s itinerary, as did her search for a place in which to bury their ashes. A word that Hammond heard frequently on her travels was ‘Aotearoa’ – the Māori name for New Zealand, meaning ‘land of the long white cloud.’ The stark difference between Māori and English names, one lyrical and observational, the other colonial and proprietary, were inseparable from Hammond’s encounter with the beauty and diversity of these islands. While her series comes out of a private, genealogical engagement with those landscapes, it is not exempt from the fact that her personal ‘discovery’ of these places belongs to a long history of explorers realizing gain in and through the lands of aboriginal people.
Kelly's The Water Series (2013) captures a transitory moment in each location, a grounded but fluid experience translated into material form. The translations of place, especially the space between land and water have been a subject of Kelly’s work for some years. She has formative experiences as a child living aboard tall ships and as an adult has lived in different island countries, Montreal being unique as a continental island on a river. Hand-woven on Hexagrams’ computer-assisted jacquard loom with a tapestry colour warp, the threads structurally combine to create new blends and optical mixes. Proximity and distance plays a new role in viewing, as is experienced in the original location source. Place is represented not through fixed, recognizable landmarks, but capturing a temporality, a memory, rendered as material.
Le Bois Summit/Summit Woods: 31 Walks and Morgan Arboretum Morgan: 30 Walks are two of Kathleen Vaughan’s ongoing series of walking maps of urban greenspaces, entitled Nel mezzo del cammin. Like much of Vaughan’s work, Nel mezzo del cammin explores walking as a knowledge practice and artist’s method. Remembering that maps represent particular versions of place – replete with questions of ownership and access – at very specific moments of history, Vaughan works into the gap between the authoritative bird’s eye view and lived experience of a place over time: her maps use digital embroidery processes to version ‘official’ portions of a map – surveyed contours, texts, and labels in both French and English – and hand-stitching to record multiple trajectories of walks taken over time. This series takes its title from the opening lines of Dante’s Inferno in its original Italian, which begins with a walk in a dark wood and takes up questions of humanity and ethical relations, which have their resonance in the environmental concerns embedded in Vaughan’s works.
Kelly Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Studio Arts / Fibers and Material Practices, Concordia University, where she teaches a broad range of fibres studio classes. A current FRQSC funded research project, titled Material Codes: Ephemeral Traces critically explores the relationship between data and woven textiles, questioning both our dependence on and the fallibility of digital codes, and converting the ephemeral into material form.
Kathleen Vaughan is an artist, writer, educator and Associate Professor of Art Education at Concordia University. Much of her work explores questions of place, the body and belonging, and integrates various media from text to textiles, drawing and painting to photography.