Erin Ross: New Works

22 July - 6 August 2011

Erin Ross was born in 1983 in Edmonton, Alberta. She earned her Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta in 2006, and has also studied Visual Communication Design at Medicine Hat College. She lives and works in Edmonton, with her studio located in the historic Great West Saddlery building on 104th street.

"It has become increasingly difficult to ignore the ubiquitous threats to our natural world posed by human behavior. My intention with this work is to take up the anxiety engendered by the looming threat of unintended consequences. My goal is to do so by challenging viewers with a tension between the familiar and the unknown. These images are versions of place memories projected into a possible future. They are ideas of what might remain after an ambiguous catastrophe. They are meant to encourage a disorienting sense of déjà vu - as if you must be familiar with these places, but not quite like this. They encourage an interrogation: where is this place, and what happened here? Whereas we are accustomed to aftermath scenes set across the urban landscape, post-apocalypse would not be so readily identifiable in a rural setting like the one that surrounds me in Alberta. The sense of loss might be simultaneously more subtle and more unsettling because these places would be less obviously devastated, but devastated profoundly nonetheless. My aim is to capture the melancholy that would attend this future, and meanwhile to also offer an escape. The work should leave viewers with a sense of relief at being threatened, but protected. In other words, a residue should remain - a sense that the viewer has nearly been assaulted, but left with just the stain of the threat.

The color, the contrasting sharp and soft mark making, and the deliberate flatness of the work all conspire to achieve my intended effects. These are not meant to be simple or pretty pictures, or souvenirs of places you know, but rather unsettling images of the future we may be creating.

The paintings are at first familiar and nostalgic in their appropriation of traditional landscape painting. This pulls you in, while the unexpected treatment of the subject encourages you to linger and interrogate your first assumptions."