Curated by Michelle Jacques | Spencer and Kearley Galleries

Gwen MacGregor is a Toronto-based artist who works with installation, video and photography. While her methods are various, all of her projects are premised in her close observation of time and place.

Invited to develop a project in response to Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, MacGregor found herself drawn particularly to the diary that Macdonald kept after moving to the isolation of Nootka Sound in 1935-36. In the summer of 2014, she travelled to Nootka Island to experience, from a contemporary perspective, the landscape that inspired Macdonald so profoundly eighty years ago.

What she found was an environment that, while still awe-inspiring, clearly bares the marks of ongoing resource extraction. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cultural Geography at the University of Toronto, MacGregor’s project is premised in the research and data-gathering strategies of this field of study; the resulting artworks consider how we understand our physical place in the world in the twenty-first century, and provide a compelling counterpoint to Macdonald’s painted elegies to the land. Furthermore, MacGregor moves outside of the LAB series’ usual location, choosing to situate her work in the Mansion galleries, a setting that hints at how colonial histories have been, and remain, fundamental to any discussion about the land and our relationship to it.