Melissa Moore

These photographs were made during multiple extended visits to Hornby Island, British Columbia, exploring the territory through a sequence of still-lives, landscapes and performative interventions. An interest in vernacular architecture prompted the artist’s initial visit to the west coast of Canada, and since first setting foot there in 1999 the scene offered an intense set of aesthetic experiences that lured her back, over and over.

Echoes and footprints of ‘Walden’ can be felt strongly on this Canadian Island, the restorative and redemptive value of nature and the importance of individualism and self-awareness and self-reliance is palpable right through the terrain, and simultaneous enchantment with the numinous landscape also encouraged research into the distinctly American literary and philosophical tradition of transcendentalism – including a path via Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman to the 1970’s stunning novel Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.

The significance of creating space ‘with your own hands’ is embodied across a range of customary and countercultural buildings on the island. The unmistakable force of the surrounding nature also indicates how the landscape engineers the inhabitants, as much as vice versa. Away from an overabundance of human artifice, the cacophony of all other living things is perceived. An odyssey of back-to-the-land reveries is documented: a network of nature flanked by an inhabitation that tends towards a certain building style, a certain arrangement of tools, a linking together of blossoming structures, an essential hoarding of every piece of scrap metal and other compendia of resourcefulness.

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The ‘Stute

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