Organized by Rose Bouthillier, Assistant Curator
Light from the sun takes 8.3 minutes to reach the Earth. Light from the stars of distant galaxies can travel for thousands of years before we see it. When we look up at the sky, we are looking back in time.
Dark Stars considers time as a subject in contemporary art, exploring how objects and images bring the past into the present. In his book The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things (1962), cultural theorist George Kubler proposed ways to describe time other than through units such as decades or generations. Kubler’s ideas have influenced many contemporary artists, from the 1960s to today, and provide a source of reflection for this exhibition.
The artworks brought together in Dark Stars convey a sense of duration and delay. Carol Bove’s suspended seashells evoke the deep time of evolution in both natural and human-made forms. Michael Byron’s paintings reanimate artifacts frozen by photography and museum classification. By restoring an antique fortune teller’s hand, Annie MacDonell interweaves past, present, and future through a single object. R. H. Quaytman pays homage to a deceased artist’s work, charting the distance between its origin and reception. In an engulfing wall text, Cerith Wyn Evans considers how new ways of seeing can displace prior knowledge of the universe.
Quiet and meditative, the artworks in Dark Stars are the product of the artists’ extended engagement with their subjects. They encourage slow looking and highlight each viewer’s experience as the next point of relay for the ideas they embody.