Jessica Morgun

A Canadian Romance

September 15–October 14, 2011

The wilderness occupies an almost sacred space in the Canadian psyche. Forests and mountains of the north have developed into a synecdoche of communal and national identity.  Such landscapes often become subject to a romantic vision of the wilderness; a vision that can perpetuate an image of an unoccupied space free for exploitation and development.

In this series of plen air drawings, collective meanings associated with wilderness are confronted by tampering with traditional perspectives, styles, and materials. By invoking the plen air tradition, the wildfire, and the tradition of romantic landscape painting, I hope to juxtapose private art practice with the idealized landscapes that have come to stand as icons of national identity. By deliberately numbering each piece a “day” on a journey, I aim to question the wilderness landscape’s iconic quality, placing it in real time and space in order to open the viewer to the urgency of its presence and the possibility of its unfolding. My hope is that these romantic landscapes are found neither empty nor abandoned but full of potentiality and populated by sojourners.

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