In late August of 1833 The Amphitrite left Woolwich and set sail for Botany Bay in New South Wales. The ship’s namesake was a minor sea goddess from Greek mythology; she was the youngest of fifty Nereids who reluctantly wed Poseidon. Here, the Amphitrite contained one hundred and eight female convicts, twelve children and sixteen crewmembers. The shipbegan its journey smoothly until forceful winds sent it off course towards the coast of Northern France where it ran aground, and was stranded offshore. As the tide shifted from low to high, The Amphitrite was ripped apart, the wreckage permitting only three survivors.
The extended period in between The Amphitrite reaching the shallows and its violent end was marked by stagnation. Its captain denied evacuation, sealing the fate of those on board, on the assumption that the convicts would be forbidden to set foot on French territory. This interval of stillness would pre-empt the forms the tragedy would take over the course of history through media such as visual art and textual accounts; forms though static, entailing distance, mutation and rupture from the initial event.
For Slack Tide, Karen Kraven’s second solo exhibition at Parisian Laundry, the artist brings together a selection of photography and sculpture that confronts issues of perception and representation. Kraven is interested in the processes of a fundamental illusionism: optical trickery taking on various configurations in a visual field that is necessarily mediated. In a series of photographs rectangles of mesh are hung one on top of the other forming a moiré pattern. The optical distortion of the moiré overlays the surface of the fabric, visually preceding the mesh itself. A series of sculptures suggest recognizable objects and materials but abandon exact mimesis. Thus, although the content of representation is not totally erased, media’s primacy in its access is foregrounded in a series of imperfect simulacra.
Karen Kraven holds an MFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC). Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at 8-11 (Toronto, ON), Mercer Union (Toronto, ON) and at the Darling Foundry (Montreal, QC) and Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME). Her work has also been shown at Leonard & Ellen Bina Gallery (Montreal) and Blackwood Gallery (University of Toronto Mississauga). She has participated in artist’s residencies at International Studio & Curatorial Program (New York, NY), Largo Das Artes (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) through Diagonale’s international residency program, The Darling Foundry (Montreal, QC) and The Banff Centre (Banff, Alberta). The artist would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec, Diagonale (Montreal, QC) and the Post Image Cluster at Mileux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University for their support towards the realization of this project.