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layered smoothed rocks in earthy tones, some of which have a single gold line painted on it

Catherine Chan: Fractures and Futures

Curated by

Shauna McCabe

The work of Catherine Chan delves into human entanglements with the more-than-human and the responsibility inherent in these relationships. At once her medium and subject, rocks and the materials born of them—the substance of geology—represent a layering of experiences and memories traversing epochs of the Earth’s history with more fleeting moments of human experience.

With a background in fine arts as well as biogeography and soil science, recontextualizing and mixing materials of deep time with those made within human timescales offers Chan a method to consider ways of seeing and being that oscillate like a pendulum through the past, present, and future. Kintsugi offers an approach and philosophical framework to conceive of the immensity of deep time and in this context, breaking becomes a generative act, opening up cracks and shedding light on histories that have been buried or eroded away.

Ultimately concerned with how to live within this moment in Earth’s trajectory, Chan works with fracture, repair, and care to reveal embedded histories, visualize hope, and comprehend our interwoven relationships with the biotic and abiotic. Spanning the immediacy of minutes, hours, and days to the vastness of eras, epochs, and eons, the compression of time is used as a mode of unearthing the deep past to cast forward into a deep future.

Image detail: Catherine Chan, from Fractures and Futures, 2024, lightjet C-print. Courtesy of the artist

University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music logo

This exhibition represents the culmination of two years of focused work in the University of Guelph’s Master of Fine Arts program. The Art Gallery of Guelph’s annual exhibitions of graduating MFA students are presented in conjunction with the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph.

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