Together Apart: #Frontier
Lisa Graves is a Canadian photographer based in Montreal, Canada.
Her work initially began in the field of video, dance and installation with an emphasis on the body and movement. Her current work explores the relationship between humans and nature. She uses photography to capture the beauty in the everyday as a means to inspire individuals to live new sensations.
She combines botanical elements in her work to illustrate the ways that nature lives within us. These are usually foraged from a nearby forest, field or garden. Through portraiture she transforms the body into botanical landscapes by integrating natural elements such as branches, leaves, feathers, flowers, petals, fruits, bark, wood and water. Here nature forms and shapes the human figure.
Creating work in response to the ‘ace FRONTIER theme was a very insightful experience. My previous series was in response to the pandemic and the impact of our breathing as a potential threat for spreading COVID-19. The FRONTIER theme allowed me to elaborate and explore the role that our breath currently occupies during this pandemic. I was able to consider questions of how breath occupies space and its role in expanding borders.
For me breath is life. It’s what lies between us. It anchors our very being. Done properly it can prolong our life. With the coronavirus the healing properties of the breath seem to have reversed roles. Marking boundaries as we distance, shield and mask our breath.
In the photo series “Breathing Borders”, I wanted to explore how breath occupies the space between bodies while working with the notion of the body as a frontier. Bodies have borders and this series speaks to the possibilities of expanding these borders. A plastic sheet (the membrane as border) separates two facing bodies and is in constant flux as it responds to their breathing. Their breath travels, expanding new terrain.
1966 Montreal, Canada.
Lives and works in Montreal, Canada.
1999 | Master of Arts: Communication and Media Studies, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
1990 | Bachelor of Arts: Film Studies, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada.
2019 | Sustainable Snapshots. 4TH SPACE. Montreal, Canada
2019 | Botanical Being. Les Rencontres d’Arles. Arles, France
2017 | Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, USA
2020, 2019 and 2018| PD Award, Concordia University, Canada
Exhibitions, Together Apart
#3 | FRONTIER: results
Artists in dialogue
Frontiers as geopolitical frontiers, as cultural, biopolitical; frontiers as limits and as separations within the artistic disciplines, frontiers as hegemonic considerations of our bodies and identities…were some of the approaches on FRONTIER general theme in the Together Apart Program #3 session.
Through 4 encounters we collectively and individually created ideas and artworks which explored a non-binary approach of the topic. The participant artists also had the possibility to dialogue with Kristina Borg and Liz Ingram & Bernd Hildebrant, international artists and former ´ace artists-in-residence, invited to present their contributions and explorations in relation to the topic. For this session we also gave priority to moments of peer review or collective feedback and to open discussions which drifted through issues of art and therapy, art and research, participatory art, the complexity of artistic collaboration and how collective practice appears to be a right to claim even more in moments of isolation.
Through different theoretical readings and artistic references, and through the proposals of each of the participant artists, we identified the importance of liminal states, the non-binary, we assumed the difficulty of inhabiting the in-between but also recognized that art practice is what allows us to live in ambiguous states and to constantly raise questions. We also explored other practices as breathing techniques, meditation and knowledge and skills sharing as methods to break through discriminative or isolating frontiers.
Using poetry, film, online performances, video art and the creation of a network for artists through the method of “participatory asset mapping”, the artists from this cohort created in search of commonalities in their migrant’s everyday experiences, resonances among the natural conditions of the places they live in, the links among their identities and psychological researches and in search of practical collaborations to continue working in the future.
DANIELA RUIZ MORENO | curator-in-residence