Exhibitions | “Hometown Dreams”
Linda Craddock - “Hometown Dreams”
August 28th to September 16th, 2012
None of us live exclusively in the present. What we understand as being “now” is in fact an amalgamation of personal and collective experiences interacting with a current framework of existence. This defines who we are. In recent years, I have become more aware of the significance of this interaction not only in myself but also in that of colleagues friends and family. As an example, my mother is now 91 years old and her own existence is permeated with increasingly vague and distant images and thoughts that make up who she is. I am now myself 60 years old and this level of awareness becomes increasingly significant.
My previous works, all mixed media series, address the question of the illusiveness of experience, memory and time. Transitional Form Series addresses the linear movement through space and time whereby perceptions are merged into images of transitional motion. The metaphor is autobiographical and based upon the inevitability of change and alludes to loss of memory. My mixed media series, Canyon Melt addresses the transitional states from ice to liquid to mist. This capacity for metamorphosis has autobiographical meaning and is related to the inevitable cycles of life, and the cycles within life.
An increasing level of interest in both personal and social memory has resulted in an investigation of the past history and memories of that part of Alberta within which I was raised, namely the rural area of East Central Alberta. The importance of my relationship with the rural Alberta community is paramount to my perception and my own hometown and family serve then as both subject matter and metaphor for an understanding of the complex relationship between my own background and that of Canadian society at large.
There are obvious personal complexities involved. Physically moving away from the area and having to view my own heritage from a different perspective has resulted in a perceptual stance of looking back at my own history and that of the individuals involved. I could distance myself or become more involved and this conflict became manageable through the use of photography and the positioning of the camera as being half way between the subjective and objective.
The conflict between conscious memory, subconscious memory and reality form the framework for my work.
HOMETOWN DREAMS: When the Sky Became the Sea
I dreamed that the sky became the sea. I stood with my mother and father on the railroad tracks that split the town in two. We watched in awe as buildings floated high above the horizon, and away. Reflections of trees not yet uprooted, hung upside-down over our heads. I held an antique box camera but did not take a photograph. (1988)
All Art is Experiential and Autobiographical.
My prairie roots were intertwined with people from various sociological, ethnic and cultural backgrounds who shared an upbringing in and around a rural east-central Alberta community. Our great-grandparents and grandparents immigrated to Canada at the turn of the century, mine in 1902. Their children, my parent’s generation remained and built a vital community, their efforts culminating after WWII with the boom of the 1950’s. But the Boomer generation left home for the sake of further education and employment in larger centers and many towns faltered. The subsequent development of corporate chains such as Canadian Tire and later Wal-Mart shut down what was left of locally owned businesses and the proverbial “Main Street” storefronts were abandoned. Hardware stores, clothing shops, and the local five and dime store were no longer viable. Even grain elevators, historically the essential visual signifier of rural Alberta, were replaced with large more efficient, centralized systems.
HOMETOWN DREAMS: Embarkation
World War II was for many young men raised in rural Alberta an opportunity to leave the community, explore the world and to learn a new trade. In 1944, my grandmother commissioned a photographer to film her son as he said goodbye to his fiancée and the family. Titled, “Embarkation,” the resulting 16 mm film was archived and replaced by an 8 mm version that was viewed by the family year after year. The 8 mm film slowly disintegrated. The film’s lost and shifted color, torn and scratched surfaces all became for me, the whole of the experience.
HOMETOWN DREAMS: Memory Stills
In 1981, my brother drove around the town in midwinter and with an 8 mm home movie camera. He filmed a variety of locations that were meaningful to his experience of the town and his upbringing. I appropriated the movie footage, examined it frame by frame to capture stills, which have been printed and augmented by the application of paint reminiscent of the hand tinting of postcards.
HOMETOWN DREAMS: Family
I have awakened the ghosts of my family and their stories have become my own. The great aunts, as young sisters, stand behind me. They giggle at my folly while great-grandmother, Baba Domka dictates the direction of my creativity.
Linda was born in Vegreville, Alberta. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art in 1974. She received a B.F.A. in 1981 and a M.F.A. in 1988 from the University of Calgary. Public exhibitions include the Glenbow Museum, Edmonton Art Gallery, and various artist-run galleries. The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Gallery of Alberta, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts have collected her work.
In 1988, Linda left Calgary with her family to live on Vancouver Island. She taught at a post secondary photography school in Victoria and continued her creative exploration into photography, writing and painting from her rural studio near the city. In 1997, she moved to a small gulf island where she studied her art with little interruption. After six years of isolated island life, she returned to Alberta - happy to reconnect with the Alberta prairie, friends and Calgary's art community.
Linda is a strong supporter of the principles of Art Education and community involvement in the Visual Arts. She is professionally involved with the Calgary Board of Education, offering her artist-in-residence program privately and through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She teaches photography at the University of Calgary with Continuing Education.
Currently, Linda is working on painting, photography, video production and writing.
2115 - 4th St. S.W. Calgary, AB T2S 1W8
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00a.m. - 5:30p.m.
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