George Gilmour Members’ Gallery
Press Photo Antarctica
Kristie MacDonald is visual artist who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Her research-based practice engages notions of the archive and the collection, as well as their roles in the evolving meanings and contextual histories of images and artifacts. Her current research is concerned with the phenomena of recollection, remembrance, and forgetting which drive the human urge to collect and revisit material culture and built environments. She has recently exhibited her work at the MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie ON), the Art Gallery of Mississauga (Mississauga ON), BABEL Visningsrom for Kunst (Trondheim NO), and The International Print Center (New York NY). MacDonald is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Art at York University, and a Sessional Lecturer in the University of Toronto’s Department of Visual Studies.
MacDonald’s art practice is concerned with the preservation and destruction of documents as a means by which societies amass information, interpret evidence, and construct histories. She uses a variety of media including photography, print, and installation, to explore the shifts in meaning that occur as objects change hands and persist over time. MacDonald works in dialogue with primary sources, such as found photographs and papers, to explore informational and material states of change. Her work employs methods of reproduction and image manipulation that verge on forgery.
In the exhibition Press Photo Antarctica MacDonald explores the possibilities of digital collage using decommissioned press photographs of Antarctic exploration from the mid twentieth century. During the 1950s the human settlement of Antarctica was solidified through the construction of permanent research bases and their year-round occupation. Press photographs represent a primary lens, albeit biased and partial, through which this process was recorded and publicized. Photography plays a critical role in recent cultural and political narratives surrounding Antarctica as a geographic space outside of national boundaries, which is increasingly prevalent in this moment of anthropocentric geological change. By manipulating repetitive image elements found within these documentary photographs MacDonald’s interventions make them subtly unreal.