There are years when you never leave home, and then there are years when it seems you are hardly at home at all. In a year when I feel like I have been almost constantly on the move, these four Photorama works resonate with where I’ve been and what I’ve seen.
Talia Shipman, Not the Holiday Inn, 2016, $650 (Framed)
There is no desert in Trinidad where I grew up, yet I am endlessly captivated by these landscapes; particularly in the American southwest, where you can expect to see the most dramatically beautiful topography, but you’re also never quite sure what you may come across, out in the middle of nowhere. Talia Shipman’s Not the Holiday Inn captures this tension perfectly. Part of her 2016 installation, Meet Me in the Middle—which recently sold to a New York collection at Art Toronto—Shipman’s print inserts turquoise cactus sculptures into a desert scene, inviting us to consider their (and our) uninvited presence.
Katherine Knight, Ferry Study, 2016, $1000 (Framed)
From the desert, I went north, experiencing the stark and rugged aesthetics of the subarctic Canadian north and Alaska. The slightly askew ship models in Katherine Knight’s Ferry Study remind me of how I felt being there. In reconnecting these models to their home landscapes, Knight’s images point to the ways in which ongoing colonial legacies continue to distort life in the north.
Jessica Thalmann, Pleats of Matter (Ross Building), 2016, $1000 (Framed), $800
My ideal trip involves time spent in cities combined with time spent in nearby nature, and in Pleats of Matter (Ross Building), Jessica Thalmann’s geometric topology connects the current development and gentrification of Toronto to similar processes underway in every city I have visited this year. In looking back at the failures inherent in the concrete of Brutalist architecture, Thalmann reflects on what awaits all of our glass and steel in the future.
Frances Patella, West Ravine, High Park, 2016, $350 (Framed), $250
And no matter how far you roam, you can’t escape what’s waiting for you at home. Though a place of respite for many Torontonians, Frances Patella shows us High Park in a new light, as a site of destruction charred by flame and smoke. But as documentation of a controlled burn, West Ravine, High Park illustrates the possibility for regrowth and regeneration following devastation. Given the current global mood, maybe burning it all down is the way to go.