January 7 – 30, 2016
Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M5V 3A8
Artist’s Reception: Friday, January 8, 6-9 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM
The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell.
— Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics
Circuit Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new photographic work by Toronto-based artist Nancy Friedland.
The series of images that make up Friedland’s Constellations have the feeling of snapshot photography. The subject matter is the artist’s own family and domestic life. It feels personal and intimate.
The work is deceptively straightforward, capturing simple quotidian moments, focusing on small details and incidental things rather than the big events in an unfolding family narrative. In this way, Friedland’s work is less about documenting what has happened as ‘life event’, or something specific about the person portrayed, than it is about trying to arrest the flow of life, so as to find order in, and make meaning from it.
Friedland writes of the work: “I want to draw attention to this primitive seeking: the innate desire to find order, pattern and connection from a montage made up of these little moments. I am watching my characters closely as they age and change. If I illuminate certain details, will I find some truth, an underlying structure, a map that will give me the story I crave? Or are the visual patterns just that: here a line flows through many images, a colour that continues from frame to frame, forcing a connection where maybe there is none?”
Operating on multiple levels the exhibition offers a grammar of sorts, in which poetic connections and meanings are made as much from visual and formal relationships—colours, light, patterns—as from personal ones, the content, or implied narratives.
At the core of Constellations lie questions of relevance and legibility. It asks whether such photography can go beyond holding only highly subjective meaning and value. It evokes a consideration of photography as a medium at the heart of which lies a feeling of loss—”a presence that is already an absence, a taunting reminder of the passage of time and inevitability of death” (Catherine Zuromskis, Snapshot Photography: The Lives of Images).
Constellations is as much about our need to ‘tell stories’, and about the work, status, and indeed place of this kind of photography in the telling, as it is about the artist’s own personal experience of motherhood and family life.
Nancy Friedland: Constellations runs January 7 through February 1 at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with a reception for the artist on Friday, January 8, from 6 – 9 PM.
Nancy Friedland is a photo-based artist investigating narrative, nature, landscape, and loss in her work. After studying photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design, she completed her MFA at the Rochester Institute of Technology as a Sir Edmund Walker Scholar. She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Her work has been shown in public and private institutions across Canada, the US, and in Japan. She lives and works in Toronto, and is represented by Circuit Gallery.
Artist Page: Nancy Friedland
On a dark night, if I turn out all the lights, I can see the stars from my kitchen window. I know, of course, they are just little bits of light sent from long ago finally hitting my eyes at the same time—a science fact that never ceases to amaze me—but I want them to be more than that. So in that moment, as I look out from my warm, quiet perch in the kitchen, their light becomes part of the ancient map I see behind my eyes. They take up a spot in my brain and are assigned meaning, before I get a chance to remember what they really are. They root me: locating me in my world, in time and space.
We chart all the stars now, making them explain our ideas about science and math and forever, but once upon a time we turned them into constellations shaped like hunting dogs and herdsmen, used them to remember when to plant our seeds or reap the harvest. The stars can tell stories that comfort us while we wait for the world to stop spinning.
We look for and find meaning given only fragments of information. A gesture, a sign, the arrival of a bird is a message from the dead. We see Jesus in a piece of toast. We fall in love with someone because he looks like someone else. Stardust. Our brains make these leaps of logic all the time. We extrapolate. We fill in the blanks. We can’t help it.
I want to draw attention to this primitive seeking: the innate desire to find order, pattern and connection from a montage made up of these little moments. I am watching my characters closely as they age and change. If I illuminate certain details, will I find some truth, an underlying structure, a map, that will give me the story I crave? Or are the visual patterns just that: here a line flows through many images, a colour that continues from frame to frame, forcing a connection where maybe there is none?
Availability & Pricing
Current prices range from $300 – $3,000 depending on size, and increase as the edition sells.
Please contact the gallery for more information, including current availability and pricing.