The inaugural artist in residence is Gabriela García-Luna, a Saskatoon-based artist working across photography and installation. Her work has most recently been on display at BAM Gallery in Saskatoon, and the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, where her photo-based installation work was acquired to become part of their MAG Permanent Collection.
Gabriela García-Luna was born in Mexico City, living in Canada and spending long periods in India since 2000. García-Luna’s work explores the paradoxical possibilities inherent to photography; how it can reveal both the visible and what is invisible. Her work takes place where the lines between apparent documented reality and imaginary abstractions meet. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Mexico, Canada, India and the UK.
Her most recent exhibition at BAM Gallery in Saskatoon, Ask the River, was a testing ground for a larger body of work she has been working on over the last few months to be exhibited next year. Upon entering the space, a visitor would see large suspended rolls of rice-paper printed with fragments of photographs collected on many of García-Luna’s long walks. The substrate floats in the air, supported by tethers of clear wire that are pinned to the ground with rocks that appear to have been gathered at the side of the winding Saskatchewan river.
The effect of the ethereal and disjointed photographs reminded me of a phenomenon I experience on long walks. While walking and taking in my surroundings, I am simultaneously reminded of other walks I have taken, sometimes years apart, in an entirely different country. The sensory fragments of an earlier walk are vivid and present while my feet move on different earth. An image needs to be tethered to the rock of the present moment. I thought about the word tether and how it is different than anchor; the first is for objects in the air, the second for objects in the water. García-Luna uses the air metaphor in her installation as a way to explore how image, memory and language inspire—in the sense of a breath—physical bodies.
Gabriela would like to acknowledge the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board for the development of this project.
Rebecca La Marre