Under the Surface is an exhibition of works by Jordan Bennett and Anne Troake, contemporary artists from Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, that captures the centrality of the landscape to the province’s culture and its inhabitants.
As a site of performance and interaction as well as an expression of one’s community and heritage, the specific geographical terrain of Newfoundland & Labrador is integral to the region’s traditions, history and economy. While its landscape is often seen as tempestuous, elemental, and harshly unforgiving, both Bennett and Troake employ new media technologies to portray these characteristics in their respective installations.
Challenging romanticized ideas of nature and wilderness, their works communicate the experience of what it means to live in such an environment: the sensation of peering into frozen water as a fish pulls against the line, the feel of soil and rock against our hands and bodies. In this way, the artists create a powerfully immersive effect, transporting the spectator into new and unfamiliar surroundings.
Two mammals move through the boreal forest. Species: human. In an arresting experiment in 3D cinema, filmmaker and choreographer Anne Troake’s OutSideIn ventures into the woods to reconsider our entangled primordial relationship with the natural world. Reframing the human presence within nature, she turns her gaze on familiar terrain — her own ‘re-wilded’ family farm – and reveals a sublime and unsettling new universe. Featuring renowned performers Carol Prieur, premier dancer with La Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and Bill Coleman, founding member of Coleman Lemieux & Cie, with sound design by Ross Murray and music by Murray and Jim O’Rourke, OutSideIn captures a stereoscopic vision that is both intimate and monumental.
Jordan Bennett‘s Ice Fishing encompasses the installation of a fishing shack alongside multiple video/audio projections. The audio tracks are recordings between the artist and his father concerning the historical and personal significance of ice fishing, capturing the relationship forged between contemporary viewers and instances of our shared past. The work also enables viewers to experience the sensations of this cultural and artistic enquiry. By offering a glimpse of moments of reflection and contemplation, Ice Fishing uses technology to create a relationship that brings a particularly site-specific experience into the otherwise foreign environment of the gallery space.
Under the Surface represents an invitation to look deeper, to peer under the cover of ice and earth that is captured in the artists’ works. By engaging with its physical terrain and climate through audio-visual installation and 3-D cinema, the exhibition reveals the ways in which the modern and the ancient, the tactile and the digital, are able to co-exist in evoking the contemporary landscape of Newfoundland & Labrador.