Stelæ are monuments, or perhaps gravesites, to forlorn places and homes within the locale of southern New Brunswick. Ancient grounds, institutions or once grand steads that have been upheld, repurposed, torn down or discarded for the needs of industries or economics. With the assistance of taxidermist Cheryl Johnson @backriverlady, myself, and audience participations, Stelæ investigates three separate scenes through installations/ offerings placed at the foot of each site. These offerings utilize materials reminiscent of said spaces as constructed scenes –audience contributions will vary depending on participation. These installed offerings serve both as a scene and as a replacement for floral sacraments one might find at a gravestone.
Saint John's famed Gothic Arches were torn down in late 2019. It had been destroyed before, long ago in the great fire only to be rebuilt as an act of cherishing. Until it's second demise, the Arches were a sign of the city's culture and heritage, resilience and forgotten prosper. To me it was a vacant emblem of an institution that provocates colonial tradition(s) yet still a place begging possibilities, an old dog willing to learn new tricks. That said, the building was quite literally falling down without assistance, and despite our best wishes, was realistically too far gone to save. In its place will now sit luxury apartments flaunting the idea of prosperity, empty of all those filaments carried throughout the century.
The famed Anglin House named after Timothy Warren Anglin, immigrant of the potato famine, Canada's second speaker of the house, and father of Mary Anglin - an equally famed actress, director and producer. Like the Arches, the estate was demolished shortly before the onset of Covid, and so the story passed. A tale of far too many prospects lacking conclusions, and a spark of ire for heritage advocates, historians and hobbyists. It was a stately home from a time long passed and too far gone to save. And despite the winding mahogany stairs, marble hearths or crystal chandeliers, the structure was still left to die.
Normally I hold no sentimentality for the old homes, I'm usually invested in the tales that sent these homes upon such affairs. However, I had the privilege of exploring the home before its demise, it really had no excuse finding itself in such a state.
It's a story best forgotten.
Transfertype & Installation on Carved Maple Panel, 16" x 60" (40.64cm x 152.4cm)
Third Shift, 2021.