Natalie Jachyra’s the companionship of isolation is an immersive experience.
A series of video and photographic installations, the final visual presentation for Natalie’s MFA in Drawing and Intermedia distills the experiences of Edmonton’s urban, suburban, and industrial spaces into more considered moments of pause and reflection. As I steeped myself in Natalie’s work, I contemplated several questions. How does she capture and create these other-worldly images? Read our Q & A with the artist for insights into the companionship of isolation and make sure to catch the show in FAB Gallery before it closes Oct. 24.
What have you discovered about Edmonton (or urban spaces in general) through your explorations?
Having lived in Toronto and the surrounding GTA cities, I was able to compare how spaces functioned there, as opposed to here. What I find particularly interesting about Edmonton’s nocturnal life is the presence of absence. It seems that when Edmonton’s ‘regular’ hours come to a close, people retreat into their private spaces leaving the majority of public spaces empty. This was the setting that I wanted to place these intimate encounters and experiences within.
Often women are told not to be outside in dark places at night. It is a sad constraint imposed on the way women can move through the world. Did you ever feel unsafe in your explorations? Did you have ways of keeping safe?
Although urban spaces are often the best lit, those are the spaces that I felt the most uneasy.
I carefully selected and planned which spaces I wanted to capture before I went out to film or photograph. And when I did go out to shoot I made sure to always go with someone to keep watch and be aware of our surroundings.
What goes into creating an immersive installation piece like the one you’ve created with sound, video and sand in the FAB gallery?
Often times I am drafting ways to install my imagined video pieces in various configurations.
other, which features a darkened space with black stained sand covering the entire floor, is about encountering the ‘other’ or stranger in an urban environment. That fleeting moment and momentary encounter was the inspiration behind this piece.
I wanted to create a space where light represents human presence in an uncanny digital and physical space. I am using sand to connect to our sense of touch, along with sight and sound, to further immerse the viewer in my work.
Once I figured out what I needed to create this immersive installation, a lot of my time was spent figuring out how I would install this in the gallery. It is a detail-oriented installation. I had to calculate appropriate amounts of materials, as well as how I would physically install the projectors and surround sound audio. Having a great gallery crew helps a lot!
Now that you have finished your MFA, what do you have planned next?
I plan to continue my work with ideas surrounding urban space and our relationships within them, creating more single-channel video pieces, which would have a dual role in a gallery, as well as a film context.
I plan to live in Edmonton for at least another year while I teach at the U of A. Besides that, I will be applying to residencies and seeing where my practice takes me next.
What do you hope visitors to FAB Gallery will take away from your show?
Personally, I hope that the viewer will engage in contemplation with these representations of space and the types of intimate encounters that occur within them. I am attempting to provoke the viewer into having similar yet newly re-contextualized experiences by immersing them in this darkened installation.
About Natalie Jachyra
Natalie Jachyra is from Toronto, Ontario and received her Bachelor of Art in History and Studio Art at McMaster University. Natalie is currently completing her Master’s of Fine Art in Drawing and Intermedia at the University of Alberta. She works predominantly in video, audio and installation. Natalie has participated in various group exhibitions in Canada and abroad.
Event title: the companionship of isolation
Exhibition dates: Until October 24, 2015
Venue: FAB Gallery (1-1 Fine Arts Building, University of Alberta)
FAB Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
For more information, see the UAlberta show page: https://uofa.ualberta.ca/events/natalie-jachyra-mfa-show
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