Roots and Ruins | Frances Patella

Original from a postcard of a painting by Thomas Cole, Mount Etna from Taormina, 1843. Digital photograph and paint, 2019, 16 x 21 inches

March 6 – 24, 2019

Born in Italy and based in Toronto, Frances Patella’s work explores time, transience and transformation in the landscape.  Patella incorporates paint and analogue photography, including double exposures, and uses images of ruins to suggest a temporal aspect to the representation of Pompeii, Taormina and Stonehenge.  Patella’s work establishes a visual timeline, linking and interweaving multiple temporalities and perspectives, establishing a visual timeline. Patella is interested in the multiplicity of images that can be experienced in one place.

Throughout history, people have cleared and prepared the land for farming with fire. During her childhood in Italy and during repeated visits, prescribed fires sparked her interest and she continues to use the ephemeral images of burning fields and forests. 

Patella often saves rolls of film shot during one prescribed burn event to reshoot at a later date under different conditions and perspectives. These layered images upend the conventional idea that a photograph represents just one instance and one point of view. The narrative of photography is expanded to include a conjunction of events. There’s a drama to misusing film. The film emulsion changes with time, the registration of the frames going through the camera twice is random, uncontrolled. Patella’s double exposures and process violate the classic rules of photography and she exploits and embraces these infringements to confirm the transformation process. 

Special thanks to our community partners, donors, and supporters. 

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