Steven Laurie, Virginia Mak Ghosts of Home
In this two-person exhibition, the photographs of Toronto-based artists Steven Laurie and Virginia Mak each explore complex ideas about what makes a place home, and how the meaning and location of home can shift over time. While, formally speaking, Laurie’s crisp, documentary approach and Mak’s painterly style are quite different, the work of these artists is connected by notions surrounding place, memory, and loss.
Although there are people in Mak’s images of streets and buildings in Hong Kong, the blurring and obscuring of details in her photographs—an effect created in the darkroom by placing rice paper over the photographic paper—evoke a sense of separation and fading memories. They highlight the passage of time and how it transforms the familiar into the unfamiliar. Her changing notions of “home” invite reflection on the complexity of personal associations to specific places.
In spite of their different approaches to the photographic process and the distinctive impressions their images impart, Laurie’s and Mak’s works are connected by the emotional impact of human relationships to place. We typically think of “home” as being tied to a specific location. But what happens when that place changes—physically, politically, emotionally or otherwise? The works in Ghosts of Home ask what happens to our idea of home when the people tied to that place leave.
Curated by Lee Petrie