FREYA GABIE, 2015
Residency 108 became a time to reflect predominantly on notions of familiarity and connection. What does unfamiliarity lend to feelings of dislocation? Does distance always donate perspective while proximity always distort? Do I know a place better when I am far from it? I wanted to negotiate the discordance between what is felt to be known and what becomes unfamiliar when placed in a new environment. Feelings of connection/disconnection become more palpable in these circumstances and this served as the point of departure for the work I made while on the farm.
The environment of 108 in many respects represented familiar territory, the terrain and how I negotiated it were similar to the UK, but with stark differences, varying aspects of the place/culture being completely foreign. The works I made were born from trying to ascertain my position on the farm in context to what I knew was taking place elsewhere. The starting point, a series of drawings in response to feelings of being cosseted and remote countered by the pervasive images of Middle-Eastern bombings depositing themselves daily onto my computer screen. These images felt visceral, affecting; very far away yet paradoxically closer than anything else. In turn I also explored stock images, the furthest divergence from war I could find. These images were an interesting depository of vacuous information; landscape devoid of history, even New York State was bereft of familiarity. Place made unspecific, ubiquitous. I sought to enhance these qualities by reducing the image further; this was paradoxically achieved through amplification, magnifying until specifics become further abstracted, unfamiliar but also generic; a summary. These images where translated into simple lines of tapestry that acted both as 2D image and 3D construct.
I also worked with text, the National Anthems of British speaking countries were collected, archived and truncated, abbreviated to form a perverse, comic yet poignant stream of consciousness that still somehow pertained to the overarching statements and truisms found within the songs. The landscape of the farm was also played with. In ‘Waiting for the Frontier’ fields and woods became the unsuspecting passive foreground to an awaited battle where famous Western soundtracks of shootouts were blared across the semi-domesticated environs of 108. In ‘Better Landscape’ icing sugar was deployed to recreate duck-hunting camouflage. The body of work I produced when looked at collectively deals with rupture and displacement in conflict with connection: a feeling of being distanced from ones surroundings yet at the same time too close; claustrophobic.