Jill Ho-You: Latent Monuments
The Main Gallery, August 21 – October 3, 2020
Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, 3rd floor, 10215 – 112 St, Edmonton
Latent Monuments explores the idea of systemic collapse in the predicted negative climax of the Anthropocene. Set in a future where biodiversity, the natural environment, human industry, society, and health have been irreversibly changed, the works memorialize a fleeting past while simultaneously speculating on an uncertain future. Examining the interconnectedness of natural and human-made factors in the ecosystem, the works explore the potential for human-driven climate change to unravel the invisible web that keeps these factors in equilibrium.
Through a mixture of print-based installation, the works reference familiar landscapes turned strange and uncanny from a future viewpoint. Industrial machinery is now frozen and impotent, unable to unearth the resources they are built to harvest. Complex ecosystems with their flora and fauna are bleached, desiccated, and sterilized. No longer maintained by the inhabitants that constructed them, cities and infrastructure crumble. The human body is reduced to the cellular mathematics of the vectors and pathogens that infect us. Catalogued and fixed under the microscopic gaze of an imagined future, we see things slowly being transformed and reclaimed by agents of decay.
The works in this exhibition are experimental and speculative in both concept and process. By envisioning what could remain after the collapse of the Earth post-Anthropocene, the artist is giving form to the anxieties that surround the unknown consequences of uncontrolled global warming. The works and heavily influenced by the growing body of research that draws relationships between climate change and various environmental, sociopolitical, economic, and health crises.
The installation Latent Monuments refers to the potential for each of these factors to pass into memory, their conditions irreparably damaged and altered by the effects of climate change. The petri dishes, which decay over the course of the exhibition, hold etched images of endangered flora and fauna, struggling industries, crumbling infrastructure, and threats to human health.
Latent Monuments is a form of process experiment, a collaboration between the artist’s work and the environment, in which the environment activates and ultimately creates the finished art object. The two-channel time-lapsed video Retrograde illustrates the life cycle of two petri dishes caught in an eternal loop of growth and desiccation. Still Point creates urban and industrial scenes from the imagined post-Anthropocene world out of dormant petri dishes. Lastly, Inversion reinvents the geological surveying diagram to illustrate the unsustainable practices of industry and over-consumption fueling global warming.
Jill Ho-You is a well-known experimental print artist and an Assistant Professor in Print Media Department at the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly Alberta College of Art + Design) in Calgary, AB. Her practice explores the intersection of trauma, embodied memory, and the environment through a mixture of print media, installation, and drawing.
Ho-You’s work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and at Alberta Printmakers Gallery in Calgary, AB. She has also participated in numerous group shows such as at the 2009 International Biennale of Contemporary Printmaking in Krakow/Poznan, Poland; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Japan; International Print Center in New York City, NY; and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, ROC. Jill Ho-You is the recipient of several grants from the Canada Council for Arts and Alberta Foundation for the Arts and has participated in art residencies at Open Studio in Toronto, ON and St. Michael’s Printshop in St. John’s, NL.
Her impressive body of work has been a subject of solo and group exhibitions held in Canada, Germany, Poland, Japan, and in the USA.
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Image: Retrograde (detail of installation), 2019, etching, bacterial culture and mixed media, 4’ x 3’ x 3’, per unit 3.5” diameter
Photo by Aran Wilkinson-Blan
Courtesy of the Artist