Paper Moon explores the intersection of artifice and landscape. This photographic series, taken on local film sets, portrays the quiet repose of non-filming days when props and false landscape elements are at rest. Lacking the lighting techniques and camera angles that were intended to mediate the viewers’ experience, these objects take on a different life. Their temporary nature is exposed and the marks of the craftspeople who made them come to the fore.
Alberta landscapes have lured countless film and television productions, many of which have operated in close proximity of Leighton Art Centre. Natural scenery as a backdrop often has the critical role of lending authenticity to a narrative. With many productions being historical in content, the landscape is called upon to appear in motion pictures as untouched by modern life as possible. Meanwhile, fleets of heavy machinery and high-tech equipment hide behind the camera. Hundreds of workers lend their skills as artificial terrains and whole temporary towns are built. The ultimate achievement of the lens is narrative control.
In this exhibition, the intended illusion is broken by the still camera of the artist. The photographs were created with 120mm Rolleiflex and Hasselblad cameras, a process that is slow and lacks immediacy.
Stacey Watson is a Mohkinstsis/Calgary-based artist and educator. Her work has embraced sculptural installation, collaborative performance and printmaking as well as lens-based practice in video and photography.
This exhibition was created with support from Alberta Foundation for the Arts.