Susan Blight: Wherever You're Going I'm Going Your Way. Digital print. 72" x 32". 2010.
The Print Studio Presents:
Susan Blight: Wherever You're Going I'm Going Your Way
Curated by Sally Frater
Friday March 2 – April 14, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday March 9, 2012
Susan Blight's Wherever You're Going I'm Going Your Way is an exhibition of photography, video, and mixed media work that investigate the inherent reciprocity of the relationship between First Nations peoples and place as relating to land rights, sovereignty, and cultural identity. More specifically, this work uses the intrinsic approachability/unapproachability of the Northern Ontario landscape as a starting point for these investigations.
Reflected Landscapes is a series of five large-scale colour photographs featuring images of ice breaking up on Rainey Lake in Northern Ontario. The images focus on the inverted reflection of the landscape within the water. The text work Fair Enough, which is composed of wall-mounted PVC letters and backlit by LED lights, juxtaposes with the images to invoke a dialogue about place, its inhabitants, and the role of the viewer in drawing meaning from the works. The titles of both privilege their subjects and put forth a challenge to viewers that may be personal or political.
Untitled (What is your name?/Where do you come from?) utilizes two of the three most common greetings in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibwe language. Each phrase is written in Ojibwe syllabics. These phrases are employed in Ojibwe culture upon meeting someone new and speak in a very specific way to identity through an Ojibwe worldview.
The digital video Superior, shot on a violently windy April day on the southern shore of Lake Superior, is shown on a wall-mounted monitor and utilizes a split-screen aesthetic to both rupture the unity of a single frame and create a narrative between the two scenes that is ultimately unfulfilling.
The triptych Know the Land You Stand On depicts the artist in a series of self portraits. Positioned with a flashlight in tow sweeping the ground before her, the act of determining one's orientation evokes the sense of relativity between physical and psychic landscape.
Installed in the front window of The Print Studio is a semi-opaque scrim upon which, in non-transparent white lettering, are the words: Nation, Sanction, Action, Reaction, Resistance. The text invites the viewer to consider the larger context in which the overall exhibition unfolds.
Wherever You're Going I'm Going Your Way is part of Mapping a Geography of Art, a series of five exhibitions that collectively seek to examine notions of "place" as explored through depictions of architecture, disparate geographic locations and memory. The encompassing works, which feature photography, film and video, investigate the ways in which our relationships to our environments, whether they be constructed or natural, are often predicated on the traces of past events that have become embedded in specific sites and how these historical traces in particular environments shape not only our behaviour but ultimately how we view ourselves, and others, in relation to them. Negotiating the complicated terrain of colonization, geographical and cultural boundaries and history, the media employed by the participating artists simultaneously provide critically engaged commentary on the politics and poetics of notions of place while subtly drawing attention to the role that print and film media play in informing our understanding of the former.
Susan Blight is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker from Couchiching First Nation, Anishinaabe, Turtle Clan. She received an M.F.A. from the University of Windsor (2007) in Integrated Media, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography (2004) and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies (1999) from the University of Manitoba. She currently lives and works in Toronto.
Sally Frater is the Program Director at The Print Studio and is independent curator and writer. She, along with Pamela Edmonds, is a co-founder of the curatorial collective Third Space Art Projects. She holds a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Guelph and an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby's Institute of Art/University of Manchester. She is currently a fellow in the CORE Critical Studies Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Media Contact: Sally Frater: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gallery hours: Wed - Fri 12 am - 5 pm, Sat 11am to 5 pm
The Print Studio, 173 James Street North, Hamilton, ON, L8R 2K9, Tel: 905.524.2415 | www.theprintstudio.ca | email@example.com. The Print Studio gratefully acknowledges the support of our membership and The Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Hamilton Community Foundation, the City of Hamilton and the Department of Canadian Heritage.