October 16, 2008
The 14 new works were shot close to sunrise, so the parking lots surrounding the buildings are empty. When arranging them on the wall Dobson lines up the horizon lines to make it look like one giant parking lot. The varying degrees of pavement from cracked and potholed to black and crisp point to the future of an architecture built to last between 10-40 years.
Creating a dialogue between the bleak box store outlines and decaying landscape, Dobson’s work become visions of a car-less future.
“It is really the decline of the utopic dream of consumerism, and how we can actually use consumer objects in a way not to enhance our lives as an escape. If you look at the Home Depot it looks like the Taj Mahal. It has this pathway leading to its entrance that’s very monumental, so it’s almost like we’re praying to the temple of consumerism.”
Much of Dobson’s interest in banal architecture and design comes from her Grandfather. A developer on the East Coast, he would often talk about the mass production of architecture. She’s been resolving her own feelings about design as mass production in her own work.
Looking closely at box stores, Dobson started to see that box stores weren’t just decorated boxes to attract the eye, but almost a type of advertising. In the case of Smart Centre stores they simply change their rooftops slightly from store to store. But, “they are all terribly the same right down to the lines and illumination in their parking lot.”
Although Dobson enjoys the work, and could talk forever on the subject, it was hard to make the work because she doesn’t find it at all gorgeous to look at. But, as curator Robin Metcalfe points out in his essay on the work for the coming Temporary Architectures show at Halifax’s Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, when viewed through the lens of today’s economy the show strikes a chord.
“When seen in that regard these buildings become doomed landscapes and that’s the way I really thought about it when I was visualizing the work.”
Temporary Architectures will be on display from Sat October 18 – Sun November 23 at Halifax’s Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery.
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