If I Were to Run Away and Have a Love Affair This is All I Would Wear - (2014)
Nicole Kelly Westman is interested in the way images or objects might function as placeholders for narrative. She describes her practice as photo-based: while increasingly made absent from the completed work, there is always a traceable path back to a photographic image, even if that image itself may be staged. In If I were to run away and have a love affair this is all I would wear (2014), Westman considers the ways in which the photograph might house “evidence” of a distant (or longed for) experience, and where the memories (or conjurings) of a remembered (or invented) event might gather should the photographic record be impossible or dangerous. Here, a meticulously chosen suite of garments—which, we might indulge ourselves to imagine, could very well have been compulsively folded, their scent inhaled—stand in as markers of a clandestine, romantic tryst that may or may not have taken place. If I were to run away was produced while the artist was on a work study placement in Banff, Alberta. The final installation grew out of a series of cyanotypes, a simple photographic process often employed by early surveyors and botanists to record their encounters with new flora, in which the impression of an object is fixed on a photo-sensitized surface using sunlight. Almost like sunburns, Westman’s cyanotypes recorded fleeting evidence of an intensity of place and experience but were edited out during the artist’s working process, to remain here only as a distant, decidedly spectral, and possibly fictive trace.
EXHIBITION: FAR AWAY SO CLOSE PART l - ACCESS GALLERY
CURATED BY: KIMBERLY PHILLIPS