Field Gaze

Field Gaze and the associated Field Notes watercolour sketches, were initially created for a group exhibition entitled “Disturbances in the Field” curated by Caitlin Chaisson (whose essay has contributed to this project statement – read more here and here) in Prince George, BC.  The show made the Canadian Art magazine list of “Must-See” shows across Canada during its run in the spring of 2017.

Troubling the boundaries between human and natural realms, Field Gaze (2017) is a colourful sculptural construction of a triangulated formation resting upon three hacked firewood rounds, a common result of splitting firewood.  Suspended in the middle is a hanging pendent in the shape of a human head, and further nestled inside the wooden head is a small mesh sac of suet and seed. Subtly anthropomorphized, the matrix of Field Gaze suggests the structure’s utility is caught somewhere between that of a bird-feeder and that of a scarecrow, a tension that makes reference to our own complicated relationship with nature.  Various bright colours make it striking, yet also a bit gaudy. It is intended to be periodically removed from the gallery space and taken to outdoor urban and rural sites. Left in fields, parks, urban gardens, forests, parking lots, and vacant lots, the sculpture is never “at rest” in any particular environs for too long a time, but is instead engaged in a circling of a place, undertaking a migratory pattern of its own. Each environment is reactive and responsive to the artwork, and the artwork is in turn marked, dinged, eaten and chipped away at over time. It sets up some peculiar and curious juxtapositions, wherever it temporarily “camps out.”

From certain vantages, the triangular shape looks as though it is leaning, tilting, perhaps poised to tumble over itself in a work that ultimately circles back again. This apparent unbalanced yet balanced appearance reflects the predicaments of the current state of humanity in the world.  Field Gaze appears to be watching/observing the interaction of humans and what is to become of us in nature, while serving as both an inviting attractant to animal life and passersby, and also a freakish sentry or warning beacon.

 

Photo documentation by Perry Rath and Denis Gutiérrez-Ogrinc.