SIGHTINGS 2022-2024
SEE FEVER

Launched in 2012 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection, the SIGHTINGS satellite exhibition program was conceived as an experimental platform to critically reflect upon the possibilities and limitations of the modernist “white cube.” As part of this program, artists and curators are invited to develop projects for a cubic display unit located in a public space at the university, with the aim of generating new strategies for art dissemination.

This fall, the Gallery launches a multi-year cycle focusing on the theme SEE FEVER. The expression refers to a fervent desire to “see everything,” the lure of strategies that aim to see “more” or “further,” and to contexts that widen our field of vision or destabilize our perceptual mechanisms. Reflecting this theme, the SIGHTINGS cube is envisaged as a raised observation platform whose four transparent walls provide a 360-degree view. Projects will examine the viewing subject’s perceptual and psychic experience when presented with a wide-angle perspective, the search for the panoramic view and the horizon, and the optical apparatuses and technologies that permit the augmentation, enhancement, and disorientation of vision’s spatial logic.

SIGHTINGS is located on the ground floor of the Hall Building: 1455, blvd. De Maisonneuve West and is accessible weekdays and weekends from 7 am to 11 pm. The program is developed by Julia Eilers Smith.

SIGHTINGS 41
cold feet talk like hands
B. Brookbank, 2024.
Open

May 27 – September 15, 2024

A project by B. Brookbank

cold feet talk like hands is an interdisciplinary installation that examines panes of desire, grief and longing through photography, sculpture and writing. The contents and materials within the works and installation are not adhered to a setting of realism, but rather an unmoored and softly unstable state. Door becomes frame, photographs become rooms and windows, and narratives are queered and abstracted.

Lettuce cups sit on my counter as ploys
To ask for money, yesterday, or tomorrow
Spiraling, focusing on the thumping below my forehead

Eagles have the best eyesight
While my eyes only work on shift, never on time
Should I have waited for the sun set to begin,
To feel the light diffusing through the windows

Patience ploys, as lettuce sits
Waiting to be prepped for the oil and balsamic
While cold feet talk like hands

On the plane, as we boarded to visit for the weekend, there was a peculiar scent following me. I wondered if the scent was tears. Perhaps the smell wasn’t following me but was everywhere. Subtle, yes, but heavy enough to feel as I passed the rows of awaiting passengers along the departure gates. I decided that tears don’t have a scent. They might taste like salt, but no, they don’t smell. Maybe the scent was the scent of walls.

I know eagles have the best eyesight. They look intently through trees at mice upon the rotted earth. Maybe they are looking at the beauty below them, as we ravage it. Pigs must have the best nose. Sniffing for angelic scraps, leaving room for anything to become blessed enough to eat. What do these animals feel when they lose one of their own? I sat on the plane and wondered what they long for. I wondered what it might look like to see an eagle through the pane of glass of the airplane window, or what it might look like through their eyes to see us.

The air in the summer hangs wet like ponds. My hair curls backwards in that air, skin metallic. I drove along the black highway into the city where my father’s house once was. Walking into the house I noticed the dining room table was flipped upside down. Black plastic chairs lined the circumference of the amber wooden structure, a padded cloth protected the floor. Posed like a pedestal, the legs stood at mid-waist awaiting hands, a phone, a fruit. The room was crooked and so were we.

I dumped out the contents of my suitcase onto the upside-down table. A teal and lace dress shirt, sweatpants, three pairs of briefs, face oil, anxieties, a camera, athletic shorts, a graphic tee, socks, a water bottle, spit, laptop, chargers, grief, duvet feathers, an apple, lube, spoons, dust, a grey cropped hoodie, journal, pen, sunscreen, a loonie, musk, bacteria, pleasure, sunglasses, keychain, conversations, receipts, some of yesterday, film negatives, idioms, dirt, moisturizer.

The previous time I was in this house my partner and I saw a ghost. In the corner of our room a silhouette contoured the wainscotting around the window frame. Our cat turned and stared toward the corner of the room, understanding the presence of shadow. It was her face, we knew this. We saw it more than once. In fact, we saw it for many days, weeks, even months. The silhouette rested upon the wainscotting looking over our bedroom. We are taught to be afraid of ghosts, but with this ghost we were lucky.

Through a pane of glass, I can now see that the table has gone, the chairs folded and packed away. I can’t tell if the silhouette has faded or simply receded into an idea. A pane, a body, glass, a barrier. Maybe we could still see the ghost if we had the vision of a cat, nocturnal, perceiving the shadow through glass.

cold feet talk like hands is an interdisciplinary installation that examines panes of desire, grief and longing through photography, sculpture and writing. The contents and materials within the works and installation are not adhered to a setting of realism, but rather an unmoored and softly unstable state. Door becomes frame, photographs become rooms and windows, and narratives are queered and abstracted.

B. Brookbank is a photographic artist from Nova Scotia, currently working between Montréal and the East Coast. They hold a MFA in Photography from Concordia University and a BFA in Photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Their practice has been supported through various grants and awards such as a Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts Fellowship, Roloff Beny Photography Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Their work has been exhibited at Centre Clark in Montréal, Écart Art Actuel in Rouyn-Noranda, LEFT Contemporary in Windsor, Eyelevel Gallery and the Anna in Halifax, and the CCA in Glasgow, United Kingdom, among others. They were recently an artist in residence at Est Nord Est in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli in Québec in Winter 2024.