Installation Views at Republic Gallery (2012), Vancouver, BC
Photo Credit: Blaine Campbell
Flash Burn explores the significance of cultural objects as vessels of memory, and conversely, the threat of amnesia when such objects are destroyed. I am interested in how the traces of ostensibly absent objects suggest an erasure or re-imagination of history. The work consists of paintings based on inverted shadows cast from 11th-18th century Chinese ceramics found on display at established museums. The solarized and distorted silhouettes play upon the viewer’s level of recognition, questioning strict categories of time, origin, and other assumed codes of representation. Flash burn, as a type of wound inflicted by intense radiant heat, also evokes a quiet trauma. In light of ongoing international conflict and civil unrest, the damage and looting of cultural artifacts is a symbolic threat to the heritage and identity of such communities under attack. These objects reflect a more complex, evolving history, in which their fading presence parallels the impermanence of things past.