May 24 – June 9, 2012
Opening Reception May 24, 2012
My artistic practice combines both spontaneous (through extensive drawing and image generation), and a very meditative, process based work. While working on an image, it allows time to think and explore, to reflect on the connections that exist between the developing works, my own experiences, and the relationships between spaces and people, and on how these shape the development of our own growth and journey in life. It’s about setting out, and feeling a way forward, even when uncertain of a destination, because along the way we find surprising things within ourselves, uncovered as new connections are made and realized along the way. What can we learn of ourselves through looking and experiencing, reaching beyond familiar space into unknown places?
When I started working, my intention was to explore memories of home, and of what it meant to me, using the nest as a base vessel from which to work from. The structures in which we live and work, and in which our experiences and feelings take place become imbed in our psyches, and establish a lasting impression. Our understanding of what constitutes ‘place’ is coloured by emotion, and the memories attached to it. For this reason, a building, or a place, the people who were part of that continue to change and persist in consciousness long after the physical counterpart has eased to exist. It was this intangible connection that I started to think more and more about. The most recent ideas I’ve begun to explore came out of this to some degree, but it is less about place and home, and becomes more about a journey forward from a familiar, remembered place; what might we experience along the way as we travel into the unknown? Though still connected, we seek to form new relationships; see interconnections between people and place. The individual elements within the images, and the separate figures that have been presented are adrift, looking for an anchor to an external element or to each other. The islands are without a visible anchor to a place, and have become detached, seeking a way forward, or a way back, trying to establish a connection and a place within the ambiguity of the new surroundings and relationships, much as we struggle sometimes to find our own anchors in life, through the context of changing relationships and places. The images allow the viewer to feel the resonance between themselves and others, to think of the connections and relationships between the people and places that anchor us, even when the places we remember, imagine, or discover, have no physical form.
What experiences may lie along the way of this journey through a sea of changing experiences, without, at times, a clearly defined destination? The paths we travel are unknown, though we still feel, and can never forget the anchors of place and relationship that hold us to where we came from. While going forward, what might we learn along the way, and discover about ourselves? The works presented here invite the viewer to imagine themselves along this path, to wonder at previously unknown connections between people, place, and a search for meaning and connection. By traveling between islands, along shores unknown, between one world and another we have a chance to discover the surprising and exciting interconnections along the way between ourselves, others, and the print works; to feel the complexity of the many ties between people and place that lie beneath the surface, waiting to be found.
Kelsey Stephenson is an emerging Edmonton based artist, working primarily within print media. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 2011 with a Bachelor of Design, and received the SNAP emerging Artist Studio Scholarship, which helped greatly to enable her to continue working at SNAP to produce the pieces shown here. Most of her work draws on personal experiences; reactions to events, people and places in her own life.
Kelsey has had work shown in several places in Canada, and internationally in group shows in Korea and the United States. Some work was also recently included in The 3rd Bangkok Triennale International Print and Drawing Competition, showing at Bangkok Art and Culture Center, and at The Contemporary Art Gallery, Silpakorn University in Thailand this June.