This series began in the summer of 2012 and has grown into a body of hundreds of digitally manipulated photographs. During my artist residency in New York that particular summer, I began to add various man-made elements to my paintings/drawings, turning them upside down and on their sides to add to and distort the narrative aspect of my abstract, nature influenced work. I moved to Harrison Hot Springs for the year long tenure as Artist in Residence at the former outpost Ranger Station in September of that year and began instinctively taking hundreds of photographs as a way of documenting my new surroundings. While exploring the area and formatting the photographs taken, I started to see the parallel between what I was doing in my paintings and what was possible with photography. I began rotating, flipping and mirroring the photographs as a way to take the immediately recognizable landscape, shift perspective and potentially build iconic monuments stemming from but not held in reality.
By calling them Totems I mean to give respect to the First Nations people who reverently build Totem poles to commemorate their ancestry, history, land and people.The word itself, although tied originally to the Algonquian people as far back as the 1700s, is most often associated with the west coast tradition of building and displaying these poles and it is both physically and ideologically what I am referencing -the reverence and connectivity to nature and human’s complex narrative around progress, growth and urbanity. These are, in a sense, my own way to express a deep love of my surroundings coupled with a concern for its welfare.
So far, the photographs used have been taken in the Fraser Valley region (Chehalis, Seabird, Cheam and Papkum First Nations) of British Columbia with new pieces being added from Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands. I plan to continue this project to other regions of the province before leaving for the UK to attend Falmouth University for my Masters degree.
These pieces are 7″ square and are available as archival prints on acid free paper or Facemount framed. They are also being featured as part of my fundraising campaign to help with the costs of furthering my education. See the Post-Grad Campaign page on this site or my website http://www.siobhanhumstonart.com for more images and info!