a slow light is a response to the material history of Crowsnest Pass, a community located in the south-western corner of Alberta. Located in a mountainous region, the area is notable for its geologic formations as well as it’s complex history of natural disasters and resource extraction. Beginning with a residency at the Gushul Studio in 2015 organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Los-Jones has researched the dramatic history of the area as well as the relationship its inhabitants have to an overtly dynamic environment. Through this research, Los-Jones has identified a series of orientation markers; signifying the ways in which people navigate and relate to an ever-changing physical, as well as economic environment.
Examples of these orientation markers include a constellation of abandoned prisms atop Turtle Mountain. These prisms were once used to monitor the mountain’s unstable south peak and can still be seen to reflect light from a specific point in the valley below. The windswept Burmis Tree also serves as a marker in this exhibition and is said to be the most photographed tree in western Canada despite its death in 1978. This famous limber pine stands today because of the metal support structures provided by the community after the tree was knocked over by high winds in1998. The last marker which informs this exhibition is a chain hanging from the slanted wall of a non-operational coal mine in the region that is now a tourist destination. The chain is used as a tool during mine tours to signify the vertical axis for visitors who often became disoriented in the dark underground cavern.
In an area which has historically found economic sustenance through resource extraction, and is now the site of increased tourism, these devices for orientation take on a double meaning; reflecting the history of the community in relation to shifting environments, as well as the desires which are projected onto the place by those from outside the region. Through this collection of photographs and sculptures, a slow light aims to generate experiences for wayfinding; disorienting and reorienting our sense of time and space in a complicated present.
a slow light was first curated by Ryan Doherty and exhibited Southern Alberta Art Gallery in the winter of 2017 / 2018 prior to being exhibited at Division Gallery in Toronto.
Many thanks to Jarvis Hall Gallery, SAAG, Division Gallery, Resolve Photo and the Crowsnest Museum.