Matt Shane

Tracy Valcourt
McBride Contemporain, Montréal
January 20 — February 26, 2022
Matt Shane Plasma Port, 2022.
Photo : Guy L’Heureux, courtesy of McBride Contemporain, Montréal
McBride Contemporain, Montréal
January 20 — February 26, 2022
[En anglais]
Matt Shane’s Solastalgia at McBride Contemporain is a gorgeous series of landscape paintings based on Google Earth images whose resolution has been pushed beyond its ability to hold form. By deliberately abusing the surveillant reach of this ubiquitous digital platform, Shane aligns himself with artist and experimental geographer Trevor Paglen, whose photographic practice often involves surpassing the limits of visibility. Paglen employs these strategies not in a bid to promote ambiguity as a conclusive state, but to interrogate how thresholds of visibility restrict people from seeing how power operates. Understanding this requires one to recognize the difference between machine eyes and human eyes; I suggest that both Paglen and Shane offer such lessons of distinction through a cartographic sensibility toward landscapes, which draws attention to relationships between the surface of representation and the surface of the world.

Thanks to ever-developing technologies of vision, Paglen argues, “the geography of seeing is changing.” It is such processes of transformation that have inspired his longstanding interest in notions of the visible and the invisible, which intersect with landscapes both physical and digital. These oppositions undergird his work as an artist, as he asks, “What happens to an image when you push it to the point where it breaks? When you push vision to the point where it collapses?” Shane is asking these questions too, although he uses paint rather than photography to push on the edges that hold form. But whereas Paglen’s experimentation with technologies of vision is a way for him to interrogate systems of state control, Shane’s seems more of a broad-scale longing for what was. This concern is expressed in the show’s title, Solastalgia, a term coined by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht to describe environmentally induced distress. It’s like homesickness, but instead of distance being the cause of separation from “home” and the subsequent melancholy, it is a lament for a loved place that is irrevocably changed by environmental degradation.

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Cet article parait également dans le numéro 105 - Nouveau nouvel âge

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