Kelsey Stephenson and Jes McCoy’s Navigating Boundaries, January 29th- March 6th




Kelsey Stephenson and Jes McCoy have always been interested in philosophical questions surrounding perception and consciousness which are present in the way a person remembers and perceives the world around them; ask any two individuals about the same experiences and they answer differently. Individuals weigh sensory information with import based on personal criteria, and from our own particular point of view. Our experiences as individuals are powerful, yet transient; they shape us in profound ways throughout our lives, but remain strangely fragile. It is easy to misremember, or colour impressions based on the emotion of the moment, or discovering more information on reflection. It is this tension between the formative strengths of memory, and the fragility which creates the questions present in the work, and the phenomenology of these experiences. Printmaking, especially using an easily degraded or more ephemeral matrix, resonates with this concept of an embedded memory; multiple impressions may come from the same matrix, but each is printed differently, and cannot be the same despite that shared origin; over time and use, it becomes impossible to create a similar impression as the plate degrades or is reworked.

The work shown here utilizes the structure and shape of the sea, and of boats, referencing them both as a means of navigation and as a vessel, or container, a means of passage. They are not fully of one place or another, but exist in a state of transition. Wherever we go, we bring many things with us. Structures in which we live and work, and in which our experiences and feelings take place become imbed in our psyches, and establish a lasting impression; we take our experiences and influences with us, wherever we go; good and bad. These impressions wax and wane in clarity over time, and change as we grow older, but they always remain, in some form. Remembered or not, these memories mold us, and create an impression, a difference in our passages across the world.

There is also an element of uncertainty in this work; what might we experience along the way as we travel into the unknown? Our lives are never certain, life within the ocean, or on the boundary of a tidal pool is never certain. Just as we do not fully understand or remember these past impressions, we cannot know until reflection what effect experiences may have on ourselves and our perception of the world and people around us. The images allow the viewer to feel the resonance between themselves and others, to think on shared experiences and the connections and relationships between the people and places that anchor us, even when the places we remember, or discover, have no physical form.

What experiences may lie along the way; without, at times, a clearly defined destination? The future is unknown, though we still feel, and can never forget the anchors of place and relationship that hold us to where we came from. While going forward, what might we learn and experience along the way, and discover about ourselves? The works presented here invite the viewer to imagine themselves along this path, to wonder at previously unknown connections. By traveling along shores unknown, between one world and another we have a chance to discover the surprising and exciting interconnections along the way between ourselves, others; to feel the complexity of the many interconnections between people and place that lie beneath the surface, waiting to be found.