January 17 to March 14, 2020
Twyla Exner’s practice is inspired by nature and the reciprocal systems of electronic refuse and technological obsolescence. Of the pre-Internet generation, Exner is both frustrated and fascinated by the increasing use and invasion of technology in our daily lives.
For her new project, Cling, Exner creates an installation of discarded satellite television dishes and infests them with sculptural barnacles that suggest an analogous relationship between invasive species and discarded technology. By connecting nature and technology in this way, Exner engages in current debates about how digital platforms serve to connect us while simultaneously disconnecting us from the real world. Satellites circulate ceaselessly in the skies above us, wifi operates invisibly all around us and “the Cloud” is now a commonly used term and a storage system that exists in the digital realm.
Through the steady transposition of once precious, now abandoned technology, digital tools are in a cycle of perpetual advancement inherently aligned with capitalism by way of planned obsolescence. Exner contends that the prevalence of obsolete technology and the resulting waste that impacts our natural environment exists as evidence of the need for physical resources as a prerequisite for digitized environments. Ironically, this same metaphysical space prides itself as a release from materiality.
Attached to the walls of the Gallery and expanding outside to off-site locations, the works in this exhibition propose hybrids of technological structures and living organisms that have gone awry, multiplying in ways beyond our control. They take the form of abandoned technologies that have sprouted new life, clever artificialities that imitate nature, or biotechnological fixtures of the not-too-distant future.
Twyla Exner lives and works in Prince George, British Columbia. Her practice encompasses numerous mediums, including drawing, sculpture, ceramics and installation. Her works explore themes of nature, combined with technology and electronics, and have been exhibited across Canada. Exner has taught at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, and Grande Prairie Regional College, Grande Prairie, Alberta. She currently works as the Director of Public Programs at Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George.
Curated by Craig Willms, Assistant Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery
View images of the exhibition here.
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