The Road North
The Road North continues the themes of memory, traces, and narrative found throughout my art practice. Within this work, I explore loneliness, humour, and the remnants of human activity etched on the topography of the Canadian north. Resilience, making-do, the enormity of the wilderness and the sparse population within the region invite a different relationship to landscape compared to that found in the south.
Moving through the landscape by car is a luxury that affords time for contemplation as vast stretches of space are experienced in a relatively short amount of time. Scenes and places can be collected over hundreds of kilometres in a matter of days. I think of the highway as a line across the land – an imposition of order on a wild place.
The north brings with it light that stretches out and cools slowly through an extended evening, temporary-ness evident in ad-hoc structures or seasonal signs, and an expanse of uninhabited terrain that serves as a formidable reminder of our own mortality. Facing the reality of sweeping wilderness, it's easy to feel as if one is clinging to the road as some form of civilization – but the relationship is tenuous.
This sense of mortality is also reflected in the still lives encountered along the way. Arrangements of materials and objects form the detritus of culture : an empty ashtray or an expression of love organized in stones. The concept of vanitas, and its relationship to death and the transient nature of life, is also encountered in the form of car accidents and road kill found on the highway.
The images and scenes selected for this work are directly related to the solitary experience of moving through the countryside via the road and the residual evidence of human marks on the land.