we move, just shifting: exploring slowness through photography

An invitation to discover subtleties in everyday moments

Brandon Brookbank’s new exhibition, we move, just shifting, is being presented in the second room of Centre CLARK until Feb. 12. A series of photos of different sizes complemented with small objects and clothes fill the space. The artworks are part of the Master’s research-creation project Brookbank is completing at Concordia University.

we move, just shifting features photographs of food, body parts, and objects. The art pieces are placed in the luminous room so that visitors have the chance to appreciate each of them one at a time. The varied frame sizes leave spaces of white wall between each work, creating room for reflection. There are photos on the walls, objects on the floor, and a colourful column in the centre of the space.

The closest piece to the entrance, We move, is a still life presenting a glass with yogurt traces in it. Blurred fingers are at the foreground of the image, playing with the viewer’s perspective. Placed beside it, just shifting features the same concept with the out of focus presence of a foot in the forefront. Wishbones stand on top of the wood frame of the second photograph. These small objects return throughout the exhibits.

Brookbank described his show as a “poetic exploration of narrative, of connection.” The artist started working on this series in April 2020 during the first lockdown. The situation affected his studies and his creative process. The resulting photographs build on the explorations of the artist’s connections with others. Brookbank also looked at the traces left on objects over time, such as old clothing.

Slowing down

Brookbank focused on slowness for this project. This concept manifested in the artist’s creative process for we move, just shifting series, by way of taking more time to create each of the photographs. This gave him the opportunity to discover and capture subtle movements and moments.

Reflections on time also come into play in the artist’s thoughts regarding relationships. In previous artistic explorations, Brookbank looked at the fast pace of digital connections. For this exhibition, these connections are slowed down.

“There is an expedited way that we interact with each other, so I’m trying to think about it in a way of slowing down and a way of looking at the subtle gestures and the subtle moments that are happening in my own relationships,” explained Brookbank.

Sculptural objects

While photography is the basis of Brookbank’s practice, sculpture is also an important part of his work. Therefore, different objects were integrated in the show throughout the creative process. For the artist, they are related to the idea of translation and transformation. The twist ties that are placed in the space, on the frames of some photographs, as well as in the pictures, speak to this idea. Shaped in different ways, these little objects can also be seen in very, very, very, much. This intimate photograph, one of the largest ones of the exhibit, shows the side of a neck with three twist ties placed on it.

Brookbank used a similar principle when showcasing Sorry, heels. A round piece of glass stained with red liquid and accompanied by two brown socks and dried figs are the subjects of this still life. In front of the photograph, on the floor of the gallery, the viewer can see these same socks and figs.

Clothing pieces make up an important part of the show. Brookbank created a column of t-shirts composed of old garments the artist collected from his friends. “It is trying to bring various bodies into the space,” he explained.

Subtleties

Two opposing themes can be observed in the exhibit: touch and intangibility. The notion of touch can be seen in the manipulation of the twist ties, the cream that is rubbed on the skin in one of the pictures, or the irregular surface of Along, which was altered by the artist using paper and rope.

Intangibility comes into play in the artist’s reflections and is particularly depicted in A Room, a central piece of the show. Placed on an elevated wood frame on the floor, the photograph shows the sun with a purple background. For Brookbank, the sun “feel[s] grand and subtle,” since “we don’t really understand it, but we do deeply understand it.”

“There is a subtlety in all of my work, there is nothing extravagant,” said Brookbank. This attention in capturing precious small moments and gestures is present throughout the exhibition. we move, just shifting is an experience where attentive viewers will always discover new details. Brookbank’s poetic exhibition offers an intimate look at the beauty of ordinary moments.

we move, just shifting will be presented at Centre CLARK, located at 5455 De Gaspé Ave, until Feb.12.

 

Photos courtesy Paul Litherland and Brandon Brookbank

 

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