“We unpacked the house and hung it in our living room, where it looks fantastic. It’s plugged into a socket which turns on all the room lamps at one switch so that if the lights are on, then the prairie house is, too. It’s hanging below a painting of a grain elevator by local artist Jim Prescott, and hanging beside an enormous landscape painting by local artist Connie Geerts. It’s right at home. We love it and are so glad you agreed to make such an odd dwelling.”
My thesis exhibition, You Can Never Go Home, reflects the idea of irreconcilable, parallel homes, one that’s here and one that’s there. Moving from Calgary, Alberta, to Waterloo, Ontario, to pursue my Master of Fine Arts, I have used myself as a two-year case study to examine how one might make a new place a home. The installation consists of an abundance of handmade objects: life-sized selfies displayed in lightboxes, sculptures in the form of houses and other symbolic buildings (some containing lightboxes and short video loops), as well as my collections of curios, tools and building materials. As an installation, the work examines concepts, concerns and emotions that accompany the process of moving a long distance— longing, memory, nostalgia, absence, belonging, family, lost-ness, place, time, anxiety, resilience, futility, humour, loneliness, rhythm and routine. It is an anxious, obsessive, yet humourous manifestation of my attempts to feel at home in a new place, just as I am about to leave.