This exhibition presents Sackville-based Erik Edson’s latest large-scale installation ruins (2017), alongside a selection of work that spans almost two decades of the artist’s career. Initially known as a printmaker, Edson’s practice expanded into sculpture and installation informed by the qualities of his original medium, in particular the way printmaking reproduces images by means of a process that inevitably involves translation. For Edson, neither looking at nor making pictures are neutral, let alone natural experiences, and through the use of found images, stage-set-like formats, and other tactics that draw attention to the act of viewing, he demonstrates how our visual experiences are embedded both in the habits of the body, and in a circulating web of imagery. Edson places further emphasis on partial, or allegorical relationships to his subject matter through the use of devices such as a doubling shadow, a concealing orifice, or an opaque silhouette. He often focuses on the natural world, so often the site of human fantasies of pure experience, and yet the subject of perhaps the most richly developed visual cultural archive of all, the myths attached to animals and the landscape. Edson’s nature fictions, his “other stories,” share with myths a timeless inevitability, as well as reference to the past, and yet they do not partake of the illusory, the grandiose or the romantic. Instead, they are familiar even as they involve enigmatic combinations; they inhabit everyday experience, and employ vernacular imagery and materials; they share open secrets.
-Pan Wendt, Curator
Co-organized by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and the Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University
Read Jon Claytor’s review