Tania Kitchell: Facing North

Facing North
October 4 – October 27, 2012
Opening Reception:
Thursday, October 4, 6 – 8pm

James Harris Gallery is pleased to announce Facing North, our third exhibition of work by Tania Kitchell. The artist continues to explore art practices that deal with her immediate environment. A native of Canada, Kitchell has been meticulously recording her personal observations of weather and plant life in the cold arctic regions for almost a decade. Facing North presents a delicately rendered, tactile recapitulation of Kitchell’s documentation of weather sequences and flora from a specific geographical region in Ontario, Canada. The exhibition features 3D plastic sculptures and textual works on paper that come together to simulate an ethereal meteorological and taxonomic lab.

The works in Facing North were conceived at Charleston Lake, an area of geographical interest for the artist because it marks the point at which the forests of Eastern North America intersect, and combinations of plant life intermingle. Kitchell’s floral sculptures recreate the small patches of ground space where this botanical crossover occurs. The plants are made of abs plastic that have been formed with 3D modeling software and produced with a 3D printer. By accentuating the geometry of her floral sculptures, Kitchell emphasizes the alien-like qualities of plant life that has precisely adapted to its environment, a metaphor for the artist’s own experience.

Kitchell’s weather texts, which were recorded in the same area where the flora was observed, further emphasize the notion of presence in relation to climactic surroundings. The texts chronicle atmospheric observations that last approximately 20 minutes and are remarkably poetic while remaining objective, often recalling the Imagist texts of poets like Ezra Pound. Kitchell records barometric conditions, “15:40 6º C bright morning with a mist, skies clear to blue,” as well as how her own body is responding to the environment, “so bright it hurts the eyes.”

The delicate nature of the cut out paper imparts a whimsical, ephemeral quality to her weather texts, just as the black plastic material of her flora emphasizes their exotic nature as displaced specimens in the gallery. The works combined create an atmosphere that causes one’s thoughts wander to a region far beyond the city.

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