Time's Shadow, 2016

 Rideau Centre, Ottawa Ontario, Canada

Time’s Shadow plays with how our brains perceive our environments. As an artist my goal is to give the brain just enough that is familiar to intrigue and challenge it to look more carefully and enter into the visual and emotional content of the work. Time’s Shadow gives the viewer’s brain something familiar and then proceeds to obscure it to the point at which it is no longer easily recognizable. There is a sense of recognition but also a puzzle to be solved and this is the gateway into awareness triggering memory, triggering emotional associations.

The ephemeral is at the heart of Time’s Shadow. Everything disappears; fleeting moments cannot be grasped. Yet life begins again; the day follows night; spring follows winter. The cycle of the seasons in the landscape are woven together with images of the sky from dawn to sunset as a metaphor for the cycle of our lives. Laid over this hybrid image of time is a veil of etched glass: ghosts of leaves and branches revealing or obscuring the forest or the sky. As the viewer walks by, it is neither sky, nor landscape, nor branches and leaves but the synthesized memories of accumulated experiences with the full emotional weight those memories carry. By weaving together three images that cannot be teased apart, the brain is stimulated in ways that trigger a more rich and complex emotional response.

The seasons and the cycle of light and darkness are a potent force in Canada because of our long dark winters, the reprieve of spring, ecstatic summers of light and the heartbreaking beauty of fall as the cold descends. The reminders of these seasonal shifts carry powerful emotional weight and association.

The angle from which the work is viewed, the sky, and reflected surroundings are always slightly different to make the art a rich and varied experience each time it is seen. There is an illusion of depth and movement despite the very shallow physical space in the box.

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Time's Shadow, 2016 description | video
© Catherine Widgery