…And It Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea If I Never Went Home Again

Art Matters Exhibition Documents Travel Experiences Through Photography, Video and Writing

  • photo by Clara Lacasse.

  • photo by Clara Lacasse.

Susan Sontag wrote that “as photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.”

Travel and memory are simultaneously both personal and universal experiences. Impermanent Vacations runs this week at Studio XX as part of Concordia’s Art Matters festival. Curator Nina Patterson’s inspiration for the show came from her own travel experiences and the photographs she took during.

“The theme of travel is pretty universal to lots of people. I want people viewing the show to think about their own experiences and maybe be inspired to travel more,” said Patterson.

The curator further explained that it would have been easy to stick to photography as the central medium of her show, but it was important to her to mix mediums as much as possible. Impermanent Vacations features photography, video, stitching, painting, collage and intaglio printing.

Garrett Lockhart, a third-year Concordia student, is exhibiting a book of photographs he made about a trip during the winter break. He went from Montreal to Nanaimo, BC, then back to Toronto and on to Montreal in time for New Year’s.

“[My work] is an extremely personal approach to travel photography,” said Lockhart. “I very intentionally didn’t create it for anyone else.”

For Lockhart, moving from Nanaimo to Montreal a year ago has given him a new perspective and a different appreciation of his home.

Sophie Morro’s visual poetry is a tribute to author Joan Didion’s novel Play _It As It Lays _and an illustration of her fantasy of living in Los Angeles someday. Morro altered Didion’s words to paint a positive picture of her dreams.

When asked about her choice of visual poetry as expression, Morro said “the drawings take the poems one step further by providing a setting for ‘the dream’ to transpire.”

The exciting and positive nature of travel is reflected in many of the artists’ pieces, particularly in Morro’s, but there is also an awareness of the anxiety that comes with travel and the sadness of nostalgia.

Stephen Brace’s photographs of Newfoundland suggest a longing for the past and a comment on Canada’s rapidly changing landscape. The theme of memory is also suggested in Maeve Doyle’s piece, an intaglio print of the artist herself. Doyle’s work meditates on the role of anxiety and stagnation, a different kind of travel that is not as physical as others.

Patterson and Lockhart both talked about “lots of longing for home,” an element that viewers will appreciate as part of the inevitable move into independent lives.

Impermanent Vacations is refreshingly honest in its commentary on transience as a highly personal experience: sometimes destabilizing, sometimes exciting, and often nostalgic.

Impermanent Vacations // March 7 to March 21 (Vernissage March 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) // Studio XX (4001 Berri St.) // Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Free admission

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