Inverted Pyramids and Roads to Nowhere
September 29 to December 29, 2018
Eleanor King is a Nova Scotian artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her practice combines sound art, social practices, improvisations, drawing, and sculptural installations that engage with memory, community, technology and the everyday. Also a musician, sound is often integrated into the spatial experience of her found and self-generated sculptural installations. King’s site-specific installations and relational aesthetics emerge from research that addresses the place and context where she is exhibiting.
In the new work made specifically for this exhibition, King intervenes in the architecture of the Gallery, shifting walls into new configurations that fold inside and outside spaces into one another, filling spaces normally used as entranceways and creating a sensory experience of sound and sight. The work builds on King’s ongoing conceptual inquiry into the internal and external, the real and the imaginary. Equally optimistic and pessimistic, a self-described “dark utopian,” King offers a space for contemplation about our collective and personal complacency in the global environmental crisis; her work poses questions about land use, the effects of late capitalism and our futurity.
Aware of her own environmental footprint through increasing opportunities to travel as her art career excels, King has explored ways to address her complicity in this “jet set” life through studies of geography and land use, and by exploiting her own labour in the process. Through massive abstracted landscapes, painted directly on the walls of the Gallery by the artist and local assistants over successive days, King points to our collusion with corporations like Google and their pervasive “user-friendly” version of military mapping tools. Rather than representing the landscape through the traditional display mechanisms of painting, King’s wall paintings directly reference satellite maps to follow logging roads and mining sites in the Kamloops region, presenting an immersive environment that encourages the viewer to traverse the landscape and the horizon line with their own body. Her videos also survey the land with Google Earth, and by using tools of surveillance and capitalism against themselves to create imagery of human activity, King creates moving images that are both beautiful and horrible. King shifts the perspective from the literal to the metaphoric, integrating patterns of modernization and industrial activities through abstraction, acknowledging the long history of painting and evoking consumer signage.
The soundtrack for this project is written by King and recorded by the Kamloops Thompson Honour Choir. Take Days engages young people in expressing a message of urgency about the future of our planet. The inclusion of a piano for visitors to play suggests a site of history and potentiality where personal responsibility and contribution is encouraged. Building on previous work that incorporates stacks of salvaged materials, King has stacked firewood from the region, a material reference to the artist’s personal memories of keeping woodstoves burning and larger issues of sustaining a balance between economy and ecology.
King’s project recognizes the contradictions we all live with and the necessity of industry to sustain human activity. She offers hope in the next generation, while at the same time asserting: “We know it's not a good idea. Taking from our future selves. Short term gain for long term pain.… Don't say, don't say, don't say, You didn't know it was coming.”
The artist would like to acknowledge the labour of the installation technicians at Kamloops Art Gallery: Marisa Drayton, Cory Hope, Emily Hope, Nicole Mahon, Matthew Tremblay, Jyelle Vogel and Christyn Rebmann, and assistance in New York from Nathan Townes-Anderson. Thanks to the Kamloops Thompson Honour Choir, Rachel Casponi, April Chapin, Christy Gauley and Kerry Tarnawsky; soundtrack arranged by Zachary Catron, recorded at Perry’s Recording Studio by Doug Perry.
Curated by Charo Neville, Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery
View images of the exhibition here.
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