Haunt can mean a lingering energy, the enduring presence of love or pain, but it also denotes a familiar location, a gathering place worthy of returning to.
The artists in this exhibition explore these lasting loyalties in the city of Saint John by gazing through its current climate to its storied past and highly anticipated future. They freely cross temporal boundaries to depict the city as it was, as it is, and what it can be.
Saint John has always been a city of encounters. It is a site of continental collision, of trade and conflict between cultures, and where salt and freshwater meet in turbulent rhythm. It sits within a region of great natural beauty and heavy industry, rife with opportunity but not free from the looming fog of uncertainty. The stories which manifest from this environment are at the centre of this exhibition, with each artist chaneling the voice of the city in their own unique way, allowing it to tell us of its many lives.
Amy Ash draws inspiration and source material from personal histories, collections, and photographs. Her process of material assembly mirrors her efforts to construct the narratives of people who occupied the streets and spaces before us. In contrast, Nathan Cann and Julie Whitenect remove the human figure from their compositions in order to look closely at the city’s built environment through printmaking. By isolating these often overlooked structures, viewers are given the opportunity to consider the legacy of these spaces and how they have been impacted by the social and physical landscape of the city. Jud Crandall and KC Wilcox give voice to the natural environment through their distillation of their experiences at Saint John’s urban beaches. Each artist creates a vignette, whether sonic or material, that captures otherwise ephemeral occurrences, thus highlighting the lasting impacts of human activity on the natural environment.
Nienke Izurieta and Deanna Musgrave approach the subject of haunting in more atmospheric ways. Izurieta captures quiet and mysterious moments in her photographs. She creates intimate nostalgia which feels deeply personal as if the photos depict past lives or experiences. Musgrave’s synesthetic work, on the other hand, resonates throughout the space. She brings together classical music and contemporary painting to create portals through which we can imagine artistic expression can pass. Together, the artists in this exhibition produce a diverse archive encapsulating personal and communal experience, natural and built environments, and the past stories and future wishes for the city of Saint John and its inhabitants.
Haunt is an exhibition of works by Third Space members who have demonstrated active artistic practices relating to the theme of the exhibition. Third Space is Saint John’s itinerant artist run centre for contemporary art. Through diverse programming, including our signature festival, Third Shift, Third Space is committed to representing local, national, and international artists at all stages of their careers. For more information about Third Space, including how to become a member or support our programming, please visit www.thirdspacegallery.ca.
Featured Image: Nienke Izurieta, Veil (detail), 2018. Photo: Graeme Stewart-Robertson.