Part of the "Clarington Taken" exhibition at the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 2015
The Clarington Taken curator James Campbell invited five contemporary artists to work with the town archivist and explore some aspect of the Town of Clarington's history. Four other artists presented their unique photographic takes on everything from the Bowmanville Beach (David Gillespie) and Nuclear Plant Life around the Darlington Nuclear Plant (Mary-Ellen McQuay) to Jean-Michel Komarnicki and Helen Bajorek- MacDonald’s inspired takes on the Bowmanville Foundry and the Tyrone Mill.
In this digital photography-based series, destroyed buildings remembered from childhood in Bowmanville are presented along with what is on the site today. It is up to the viewer to decide whether the town council and developers of the day made an improvement in each case. There is much more than architectural aesthetics at play in this subjective exercise.
Bowmanville Memorial Arena, 2015, Digital photography mounted on aluminum, 47" x 18"
The juxtaposition of old and new would not constitute a reason to be included in an art exhibition. The addition of a third element takes the work a step away from the obvious didactic presentation and hopefully gives the viewer a reason to engage with the work on a deeper level. By using a new digital technology, projected images of buildings that are gone are reinserted into the exact sites where they once stood. Through the device and time exposure photography.
The PostOffice/Library, 2015, Digital photography mounted on aluminum, 47" x 18"
The buildings appear ghostlike, apparitions having a brief visit once again. They may make you ponder esoteric questions like: “does a building have a soul,” but all we know is that they exist in memory for fewer and fewer people. Some may feel this is an exercise in nostalgia but the intention behind the work is to provoke the viewer to be part of the ongoing process that shapes our towns and cities as they are transformed by the economic concept of highest and best use.
The Ontario Bank/Bank of Montreal, 2015, Digital photography mounted on aluminum, 47" x 18"
Architecture is important and gives a unique sense of place becoming part of our identity and should be factored into the equation. This act of ‘re-placing’ something that is gone may be viewed metaphorically as an attempt to cling to the past, making a futile attempt to reclaim it. The same can be said of photography and video documenting as our way to try to hold on to the past. Is it our collective folly or one of our most worthwhile endeavours?
Salvation Army Citadel/Badminton Club, 2015, Digital photography mounted on aluminum, 47" x 18"
The Dominion Organ and Piano Company, 2015, Digital photography mounted on aluminum, 47" x 18"