Gillian King,  Ghosts of the Schrebergärten , 2017, Cold Wax Medium, Oil, Raw Pigments, Various Plant Materials (including Acorns, Sumac Berries, Oak Leaves, Onion Skins, Tansy Flower, Madder Root, and Wildflowers) on Canvas, 8x4ft

Gillian King, Ghosts of the Schrebergärten, 2017, Cold Wax Medium, Oil, Raw Pigments, Various Plant Materials (including Acorns, Sumac Berries, Oak Leaves, Onion Skins, Tansy Flower, Madder Root, and Wildflowers) on Canvas, 8x4ft

Gillian King, MFA '16, solo exhibition, Ghosts at PDA Projects, April 13th

Opening Vernissage: Friday, April 13th 2018, 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Exhibition Dates: April 13 – April 28th, 2018
Venue Address: 5 Fairmont Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 1X4 Host Venue: General Assembly

Ghosts are traces of the past seen in present forms. They exist between decay and renewal.

The forthcoming exhibition, ‘Ghosts’, is a new series of paintings made with extracted pigments from decaying plants and flowers. King continues to work with materials like beeswax and earth sediments, and has now incorporated plant pigments that are extracted through steam dyeing methods. ‘Ghosts’ is an invitation to consider the topography of painted surfaces and our relationship to landscapes today.

These traces of pigmentation are not the only ghosts in Gillian King’s work. The paintings are evidence of her body moving through time. Beginning outdoors, she gathers raw materials; earth sediments, plants, and flowers. In the studio, she uses her hands to work with the materials in order to gain an intimate understanding of them and her function within local ecosystems.

Meaning becoming-with, sympoiesis is a central idea in ‘Ghosts’. Donna Haraway elaborates on the concept of sympoiesis in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Sympoiesis challenges the human-centric framing of the Anthropocene; a new destructive environmental period thought to be caused by human impact on the natural environment. Haraway’s alternative interpretation is the Chthulucene. Derived from the greek word chthon, meaning “earth”, Chthulucene considers all things that dwell in or under the earth. The focus is on how everything is codependent- Bacteria, plants, flowers, beeswax, King and her canvases are connected. Like Haraway, King is interested in deviating from the idea that our relationships to the environment is without hope. Rather, Gillian King’s gestures are traces that consider sympoiesis, or how to make-with nature’s ecosystems.