Rebecca Lane is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of British Columbia. She is currently conducting her doctoral research on materialist aesthetics, radical leftist politics and technological dystopia in art of the American West from 1968-1978.
February 10–March 24, 2007
Exploring the complex relationship between the human and animal worlds, Eleanor Morgan’s practice examines empathy in light of cultural and personal politics. The artist writes, “we can only understand animals as metaphors for our own behavior, so there is a constant attempt and failure to connect.” For Morgan, animals are shifting, sticky objects of investigation. Her process of engagement with her subject is an activity that hinges on the human need to personify the natural world, and her emphasis on the processual aspects of her animal encounters yields work that entangle subjectivities. Influenced by the writing of W.G. Sebald, whose web-like narratives operate somewhere between fiction and document, Morgan’s artistic process is part research, part memory, and part desire.
Her most recent work, The Puffin Hunter, is a documentary film that follows a hunter on his solo trek to lure, capture, and kill mature puffins in a dramatic, remote Icelandic landscape. The harvesting activity forces viewers to question notions of nature, necessity, and empathy. Pointing to a triangulated experience between the birds, the hunter, and the observer, The Puffin Hunter elicits a potential response of conflicted emotion, clinical observation, and a consideration of the sublime.