If you have been following me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you will have noticed that lately, my photos have a special guest in them.
A humble, yellow, wooden kitchen chair.
What’s going on with the chair you might ask, and you would be right to do so!
Well, lets start back before there WAS a chair.
In the fall of 2021 I was working on another project entitled Saltwater Cathedrals. It was an exploration of the buildings, artifacts and materials used in the fishery for generations. It was also an exploration of how these places had a heavy “weight” to them, the history, the generations of hard work and how that might have imprinted on the structures.
In addition is was an study of the landscapes these places and objects were located. Often grand sweeping vistas, powerful seas, rolling waves, the power of nature and the divine. It was as if subconsciously there was an effort to get closer to the other. It resonated with spirit for me.
Then a health scare hit our home. My beautiful wife, Darlene, had tonic colonic seizures and then developed a yet to be diagnosed abdominal ailment. As a result of the seizures she lost her ability to drive, so I had to stay closer to home. My plans for exploring outport Newfoundland took a little hit.
I didn’t want to wallow in that and started thinking about ways I could create an interesting project closer to home. I started thinking about how I always liked to tell a story with my work, I also started to think about how to invite the viewer to spend a little more time in a space, how to not only grab their interest but to invite them to stay a while, get comfortable, explore.
I struck on the idea of a kitchen chair.
Now, before I get into what I chose a chair, among other things, let me just say I drew some inspiration from local Newfoundland artist Will Gill and his extraordinary installation The Green Chair in Maberly, Newfoundland. I suggest you visit his site by clicking the provided link. It’s STUNNING work created a stir for all who visited.
Incidentally, I have reached out to Will and explained my project and to thank him for the inspiration. While our work is linked by object, our explorations are of different themes. I did want to ensure that he was aware I was utilizing the chair. We had a great conversation, he looks forward to seeing what comes out of the project!
So, why the chair?
I wanted to explore what happens to a space when you introduce an object that doesn’t really belong. I also wanted an entry point to the photo, basically inviting a person into the space to sit and absorb where they are. I used a chair, in particular a kitchen chair, because there’s a comfort in that, a sense of warmth, kind of like Nan’s house.
Chairs are ALMOST universal and easily recognizable. Their function is known and they have a place. Its interesting to me what happens when that place isn’t what we would expect?
I chose yellow because of the association it has with dories, a traditional in shore fishery vessel here in Newfoundland, and the Government wharves constructed in many bays. Yellow is also associated with memory and recall.
That’s where the idea started, now its spread out from there a little and with the creation of this blog today I will share these photos and the thoughts behind them!
I hope you enjoy!