condolence

Opening Reception and Performance: Saturday 18 June 2011 @7pm In the Main Gallery, Modern Fuel presents condolence, an ongoing photo and video series by the artist Greg Staats that depicts the process of his reconnection with a traditional Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] restorative aesthetic. The sadness that is felt from his personal loss of the Mohawk language and subsequent worldview and the networks defined by culture motivates Greg Staats’s recent video and photographic works to act as a series of mnemonic devices.

In place of this systemic deficit, he has assembled and created an archive of photographic images and documents, both personal and familial. This restitution and the residual visual documents produced by it create and maintain strong connections with the land, nation, community, and family.

On the night of the opening reception, Staats will present his performance, untitled_liminal_ effort, the first of a series of attempts by the artist to redefine his relationship to the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] concept of condolence. Staats films (and records) his own live performance during which his hesitations and breath expose an underlying emotional and vulnerable dialogue: confronting the fear of the loss of self, a state of mind further reflected by the codified and heightening voice of the dark wampum string while the screen becomes its mnemonic support.

Condolence Photos

Greg Staats is a photographer and video artist whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural world. He was born in Ohsweken, Ontario in 1963 and he has lived and worked in Toronto since 1985.His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in numerous galleries and museums across Canada. Staats is the recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography. Recently, Staats has been Faculty for 2 Aboriginal Visual Arts Thematic Residencies: Archive Restored (2009) and Towards Language (2010) at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Staats has an upcoming solo exhibition in 2011 at the McMaster Museum of Art.

Exhibition bulletin, including an essay can by Michael Davidge, can be found here