By Emily Craig-Evans
People strive to leave evidence of their existence upon the earth. People have children, create music and art, take photographs and build monuments. Time has shrouded the world’s most ancient monuments with mystery and speculation, leaving them available to the projection of our imaginations and curiosities.
Ryerson alumnus and artist Paige Sabourin used photography to explore these dynamics in her exhibit Rock Show, which opened at the Ryerson Artspace at the Gladstone Hotel on Oct. 16.
Sabourin said she aimed to couple the impermanence of the human body and the instance which a photograph captures with the constant evolution of what we believe ancient monuments to represent.
“People will fill their own needs with monuments,” Sabourin said.
Sabourin edited together photographs of her body standing arranged in the same formation as the pillars of Stonehenge. The photograph was surrounded by carefully cut out images of each of the rocks.
“It’s this trace of I was here and now I’ve left,” said Sabourin. “A photograph can act as a mark of the human body on the land but only for a split second.”
Sabourin said although she admires their permanence, she believes ancient monuments to have this same elusiveness and that their meaning is in constant flux.
Faculty director Robyn Cumming first saw Rock Show as Sabourin’s thesis project last year. She said was intrigued by some of the more interactive components.
“I thought, ‘I want that work,’ because it’s so public friendly. Because we have just opened it was important we connect with the public in some way,” said Cumming.
Sabourin placed a number of rocks that had holes through them on a pedestal and encouraged guests to take a look around the room through the hole in the rock. She said she wanted to encourage people to think about the malleability of perspective.
Also on display were the results from an interactive demonstration of cyanotype processing that was held in the space during Nuit Blanche. Guests were invited to place their hands above a canvas in order to block the light from contacting the emulsion-covered canvas. The canvases developed from white to a deep cyan blue with the outlines of hands visible around the edges.
Rock Show, was one of the first exhibits to be held in the Ryerson Artspace since it moved to the Gladstone from its previous Spadina Avenue location over summer.
Cumming said she was very excited to see the new location allowing students to connect with the Toronto art scene in ways the previous location did not provide.
Rock Show will be on display at the Ryerson Artspace (1214 Queen St. W.) until Oct. 26.