The uncanny

The Uncanny
Double Take challenges perceptions of logical order. Each piece represented in the show has elements that are inherently familiar—a bed, a human figure, doorways, houses, vases—and yet, they provoke a feeling of the uncanny. There is something mysterious, alluring and in some instances, eerie, about each sculpture, photograph and installation.
The uncanny is a psychoanalytic concept that dates back to the writings of Ernst Jentsch in 1906. Although the term is difficult to define because it relies on personal experience, it is generally agreed that something that possesses uncanny characteristics combines elements of the familiar and the peculiar—a tension between the known and the unknown. 

The buildings in Aldcroft Residence and Dubois Residence are both at home and displaced. The photographs are a record of a site-specific installation that the artist created in Bear Creek, Yukon Territory in 2013.

Titled the Homecoming, Fuller's installation integrated five of these buildings back into their original location using large-scale prints on linen. The end result is a ghost-like conjuring of the past—one that reminds us of the transient nature of place.

Sarah Fuller is a multi-disciplinary artist who employs a project-based approach to her work. Many of her series embody a strong sense of place and personal experience. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design with a BFA in 2003.

Process and memory are fundamental to Karklin's work. Jack and Jill Room is not a documented record of a specific place and time but a composite image skillfully crafted.
The artist begins his process by re-creating environments from his memory in the form of miniature models. Like memory, these built environments are subject to distortion.

Born in Manitoba, Kristopher Karklin grew up in rural Northern Alberta and graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2007 with a BFA in Print Media.

Light passes through a small hole in a darkened room and the space is transformed. An inverted image of the exterior world is cast over the interior walls and the effect is photographed by the artist using a single exposure that can take hours.

Smith creates his work using a camera obscura, an optical device that dates back to antiquity and has been used as a tool by artists including Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675).

Like the camera obscura, the scenes that Smith captures have a rich connection to the past. Sebee, Vulcan Aerodome and 56 Trolley are all records of abandoned Albertan landscapes.

Colin Smith is an artist with a penchant for old technologies and the open road. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Smith attended the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta, where he continues to live and work.

Smith's journey into photography began during a motorcycle trip from Calgary to Santiago in 1997. The influence of the road is apparent in Satellite Motel.

For anyone who has traveled through Medicine Hat on the trans Canada highway, the sign in Satellite Motel may look familiar.

Payce's work is an exploration of binary relationships—shape and form, background and foreground, reality and illusion.

In Pairadocs and Vase to Vase the result of this exploration creates compelling optical illusions that formalize in the negative spaces between the vases.

Furthermore, the artist adds a layer of humour to each work through the clever wordplay in his titles; Pairadocs rather than paradox and Vase to Vase recalling the term face to face.

These vases are arranged in a manner reminiscent of a garniture (a traditional arrangement of 2 to 5 vases on a mantelpiece)...

and yet their skillfully articulated profiles reveal unexpected subjects – a pair of Doc Marten shoes and two faces.

Kiss Detail documents a portion of the artist’s three-dimensional work through the use of photography.

Unlike Pairadocs and Vase to Vase, the whole of the ceramic work is not visible and the shape created by the negative space is quite ambiguous.

Instead the figurative component in this work is connected to the vessel itself.

The modulation of the edge on each piece reveals a generic depiction of two figures, one male and one female ready for an embrace.

David may be a reference to the hero who slayed Goliath and whose idealized figure has been immortalized in stone by many artists including Donatello, Bernini and perhaps most famously, Michelangelo.

Gemini with its two identical figures, is likely a reference to the constellation of the same name, which fittingly means twins in Latin.

Payce alters our experience of ceramic objects by moving away from an emphasis on the handmade, tactile quality of the medium towards a fascinating optical effect using lenticular photography.

Pantheon Verismilus, which depicts 40 vessels with implied male and female forms, is the artist’s first large scale image using this method.

When viewed in person, it has a holographic-like appearance, an effect that is created by interlacing multiple images of an object from different vantage points.

By using this technology, the artist is able to work on a monumental scale in a way that would not be practical in ceramics.

Greg Payce is an accomplished ceramic artist who creates compelling cognitive illusions by exploring the negative spaces between pottery forms. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, he studied Art History at the University of Victoria, received a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Alberta and an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

In Campbell's Sentinel – Entry and Sentinel – Display, the objects grab our attention but their functions seem meaningless in the desolate landscapes. Both photographs are a part of the artist’s Sentinel project, a series of digitally constructed works that fuse landscapes captured in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, with objects photographed in airports around the world.

Michael Campbell is an installation and multi-media artist working in video and sound. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Campbell received his BFA from the University of Toronto and his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Hudson's River installation is a mesmerizing and meticulously crafted moving image. It has the feel of a real-time video recording and yet the rapid shift of the changing seasons in the uninhabited landscape challenges that perception.

In addition to the video footage, the artist includes an audio component from a busy city—we hear people talking, laughing, and arguing.

The two components seem at odds but are fundamentally connected: the artist gathered both over the course of a year from different ends of the same river.

Dan Hudson is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores concepts of time and the intimacy of nature and everyday life through video, sculpture and painting. Born in Oshawa, Ontario, he studied anthropology at UCSD in California and received his BFA in Visual Arts from York University in Toronto.

According to Caterina Albano in her article Uncanny: A Dimension in Contemporary Art “the uncanny happens as a blurring of reality at the erosion of the boundaries between the real and the imagined.”[1] All of the artists included in this exhibition explore that boundary through their use of scale, materials, optical effects and spatial manipulations. The result is a compelling arrangement of artwork that stimulates cognitive tension and warrants further investigation.    
Alberta Foundation for the Arts
Credits: Story

[1] Caterina Albano, “Dossier | Uncanny: A Dimension in Contemporary Art” Esse vol. 62, 2008, url

Created through support by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Shannon Bingeman is an emerging curator living in Calgary. A native of Kitchener, Ontario, she received her Honours BA from the University of Waterloo in 2011 and her MA in art history from Carleton University in 2013. During her time at Carleton she wrote her thesis on the Canadian landscape painter, Homer Watson, and was the founding editor of Render: the Carleton Graduate Journal of Art & Culture. She has worked in various capacities throughout Ontario and Alberta at organizations such as the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery (Waterloo), the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinberg), the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) and the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre (Medicine Hat). Bingeman is currently a Program Manager and Curator for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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