Mining the aesthetics of cinema and science fiction, The Erudition presents a lunar-esque looking landscape with what appears to be an unlikely monument or proposal, consisting of holographic trees blowing in fictional wind. Is this slightly malfunctioning display a forgotten site for proposed colonization? Better yet, is this some kind of alien artwork?
“Richardson’s contribution to the genre is both a technical virtuosity and a nerdy ambivalence that doesn’t critique our mediated world so much as take it as a given. As trees flicker and crackle in and out of frame, there’s a sense of a very distant future trying, in its techno-sterile way, to recreate virtually something it never actually knew. Richardson produces a future-world that was, now not so much remembered as stored in the dull chill of a multi-terabyte hard-drive: gone, forgotten, but forever clickable.” Murray Whyte, Toronto Star
Supported by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery Intersection Residency Program
“Equal parts sci-fi myth and forest fable, dreamy nocturne and dazzling special effect—Kelly Richardson’s Twilight Avenger begins with a fairytale-worthy image of a misty, moonlit forest clearing inhabited by a majestic stag who emanates a luminous green vapour. Quietly grazing amidst the ambient chatter of other forest dwellers (the hoot of an owl may portend an imminent threat) our protagonist occasionally rears his head, shifting his gaze towards us.
Like much of Richardson’s work, Twilight Avenger poses multiple questions amidst its calculated ambiguities. The scene is at once visually convincing and obviously synthetic, peaceful and disquieting, shifting between stillness and action. As the scene unfolds, questions remain whether the protagonist is some sort of forest sentinel, as the title implies, or perhaps a victim of a man-made mishap.
Ultimately, Richardson leaves such questions unanswered, leveraging our belief in the visual document with the evocative power of the imaginary. Through painstaking application of digital effects to documentary images (Richardson filmed the deer and landscape elements in Canada and England respectively) she invites us to question the integrity of images and asks viewers to consider our increasingly mediated relationship with nature.” Matthew Suib, Screening Gallery
Supported by ISIS Arts
Leviathan, a high-definition triple-channel video by Richardson, is a 20-minute loop of footage shot on Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas. The video displays the area’s indigenous bald cypress trees in their swamp environment. However, Richardson digitally enhances the composite image by color grading the water with undulating ribbons hued a glowing yellow green and replacing expected nature sounds with an ominous soundtrack. Utilizing the format of a triptych, the landscape is presented from a single vantage point, like a painting set into motion.
Richardson’s manipulation of the video suggests several foreboding plot lines: the birth of primordial life, the emergence of an evil aquatic creature, or a post-apocalyptic Earth. The title itself (Leviathan) alludes to several textual references including a serpent sea monster from the Bible who is the gatekeeper to hell, Thomas Hobbes’s 1651 philosophical treatise, and a 1989 sci-fi film of the same name. These references become particularly relevant in the wake of environmental atrocities including the 2010 BP oil spill and, most recently, the earthquake and impending threat of nuclear disaster in Japan. Employing postmodern intertexuality, Richardson draws on the tradition of Leviathan as myth and metaphor encouraging the viewer to meditate on the possibilities of the implied narrative.”
Kelly Richardson Recognised as one of the leading representatives of a new generation of artists working with digital technologies to create hyper-real, highly charged landscapes, Kelly Richardson has been widely acclaimed in North America, Asia and Europe. Recent one person exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts, SMoCA, CAG Vancouver, VOID Derry, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien and a major survey at the Albright-Knox. Her work was selected for the Beijing, Busan, Canadian, Gwangju and Montréal biennales, and major moving image exhibitions including the The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, USA). Her video installations have been included in the Toronto International Film Festival as part of Future Projections (2012), Sundance Film Festival in New Frontier (2011 and 2009) and in 2009, she was honoured as the featured artist at the Americans for the Arts National Arts Awards.
Richardson’s work has been acquired into significant museum collections across the UK, USA and Canada, from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, SMoCA and Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Arts Council Collection (England) and the Towner.
Kelly Richardson was born in Burlington, Ontario, Canada in 1972. From 2003-2017 she resided in north east England where she was a Lecturer in Fine Arts at Newcastle University. She currently lives and works as a visitor on the traditional territory of the WSANEC peoples of the Coast Salish Nation on Vancouver Island, Canada. She is Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the University of Victoria.