May 24 – July 6, 2019
Opening Reception May 24, 6-8Pm
Night Comes On is a video installation comprised of sixty 8” LED screens housed in and among ninety-nine black wooden boxes. Each screen contains a looping video of human presence captured within the confines of a domestic window frame. To create this work, building exteriors in downtown Vancouver were candidly recorded during a firework festival, which prompted residents to peer out of their private apartment windows. The cityscape footage was then magnified and dissected in order to isolate individual windows and assign each one its own screen within a ‘building block’, which was then stacked up in the exhibition space. The screens are fashioned with motion sensors, so it is the viewers themselves who activate the urbanscape environment as they move around the work.
Night Comes On is a meditation on the process of looking, and being looked at. The installation allows the viewer to become a voyeur, peering into private spaces while navigating around imposing structures of flickering, hypnotic light. There is an undercurrent of scopophilia, while at the same time the viewer is kept aware that their own presence has not gone unnoticed by the very devices through which they are spying. The voyeurism becomes a self-conscious act, one to which the looker is both implicated and subjected. Night comes on as we move around this city of windows.
The window is a symbol of liminal space – a threshold between here and there, inside and outside, public and private, light and dark. These large-scale photographic lightboxes depict low detail images of windows as captured from the exterior of distant apartment buildings. Windows are essentially holes, we understand them as an absence in some larger structure and we think about them in relation to what lies beyond. In these images, that absence is given a physical presence. The light is made palpable and opaque, spilling out from beyond the borders of the window frame, casting a subtle hue of colour in the surrounding space. Through a process that involved printing, scanning and reprinting, these pictures begin to lay bare their own construction by revealing an ink dot pattern reminiscent of pointillism. They speak to the materiality of photographs, confronting the viewer with what it is made of, rather than what it is of. The referent here has been forced through a deterioration process by way of light, ink, light, and then ink once more. Despite this bending, folding and collapsing of light over a duration of time, its seductive qualities remain.
Laura Dutton is a Victoria-based visual artist working with video installation and photography. She holds a BFA in photography from Concordia University and an MFA from the University of Victoria, where she currently teaches in the Visual Arts Department. Her work has been exhibited nationally in solo exhibitions at Deluge Contemporary in Victoria, Esker Foundation Project Space in Calgary, PAVED Arts in Saskatoon, and VU Photo in Quebec City, as well as part of numerous group exhibitions such as Ensuing Pictures which opened the inaugural year of the Capture Photography Festival in Vancouver, and most recently in Site Unseen at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She has been the recipient of two Canada Council Project Grants, a BC Arts Council Grant, the Canwest Global Scholarship in Film and Video, and she represented Quebec in the 2006 BMO First Art! competition. Her work recently entered the Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent collection.