Fiona Freemark at Dianna Witte Gallery

Photo-based artist Fiona Freemark’s exhibition Sunset Watch, presented at the Dianna Witte Gallery is an ode to the East End of Toronto and a celebration of the mundane act of walking, presenting viewers with a more thoughtful way of life.

One of the privileges of living in a big city like Toronto is that the visual experience of living in a neighborhood is different depending on where you are. Sunset Watch is part of the 2022 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and explores the contrasts, motifs, and dichotomy of space in Fiona Freemark’s Scarborough neighbourhood.

Fiona Freemark, Blackbird at Sunrise, Hand-cut photograph, 26.75” x 40”

During the pandemic, in a time when daily walks have become, and still are, a large part of daily activity, Fiona Freemark’s photographs show what it means to perceive and capture changes in the surrounding nature in an otherwise repetitive landscape.

Through the use of printmaking techniques and processes, such as by cutting and weaving, Freemark challenges viewer’s perceptions of photography. By layering photographs together, the artist explores motion in her photographs. She mimics the double exposure in analogue photography and the pixilation of digital photographs. She experiments with movement, as her layering technique mimics speed, while the weaving details within these works add a methodical structure to her works.

In the process of interweaving, many of her works have a pixilated effect, such as October Sunset. This fuses technology and nature, an often binary contrast, making the sunset seem like a tangible object.

Fiona Freemark, October Sunset, Woven photographs, 20” x 30”

Freemark captures what is often over looked in her neighborhood. She plays with the concept of giving banality importance with a focused study on what is seen versus unseen and overlooked about an area she knows well. In Gradient/ Lake ON (Fog), Freemark plays with the idea of being seen. While shadows are contrasted in her other works, here the chain linked fence is grey and almost translucent, blending into its surrounding sky.

Fiona Freemark, Gradient/Lake ON Fog, Hand-cut photograph, 20” x 30”

Fiona Freemark’s Sunset Watch is a study of the passage of time and the nostalgia of change in one’s own neighborhood. She archives Scarborough as seen through her own eyes and lens. From capturing the aftermath of rainfall to a building being demolished, Freemark evokes agency in her lived experience during a time when the world seemed to come to a stand still. If there’s anything to learn from Sunset Watch it’s that the pandemic has taught us to show gratitude for the minute and that change is always imminent if you’re looking close enough.

Georgia Gardner

Images are courtesy of Dianna Witte Gallery.

*Exhibition information: Fiona Freeman, Sunset Watch, May 5 – 28, 2022, Dianna Witte Gallery, 1142 Queen St E, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 6 pm. Part of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2022.

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