Sifted Histories Catalogue

In October of 2014 I was fortunate enough to work with the lovely and talented curator Jenna Swift on a show at The Little Gallery at the University of Calgary.  Not only did Jenna do a beautiful job curating works from my Human Histories series into a cohesive exhibition, she wrote a unique and insightful essay for the catalog.  Her writing is layered and visual, giving us a glimpse into her understanding of the work.  I am always honored to work with her and her thoughtful approach to experiencing art. 

as the bright look goes in...
                                     navigating Kristine Zingeler’s
Sifted Histories

Text is written across the porous page. Its meaning falls through... If the slick surface of a photograph could resist, a residue of material culture might build up there – sediment pooling amid the grainy image. Sifted Histories, a new exhibition of collage-based works by Kristine Zingeler, illuminates these combinations. Found objects attain an elemental force as disparate yet intrinsic factors towards the construction of meaning, cultivating tension between the graphic and the tactile. Photos sourced from outdated periodicals provide the frame against which the artist scatters her material findings. Narrative remains elusive as past and present are mixed up together. Situations captured in photographs collide with the immersive realm of the viewer, in all of its sensorial colourations. Scent has been introduced into the space as another potent mnemonic cue. Zingeler leaves a trail which we may pick up in a hundred different places and a hundred ways. The route through these pictures is pathless and invented by each.

It is possible to feel your way along Kristine Zingeler’s work. It means falling through... Layers of time rub against each other, casting strange shadows. At ground level lie photos of indeterminate origin – pictures which have mostly existed in the dark, sealed shut in the compressed pages of a closed magazine. The etymological root of the word magazine connects with the concept of a storehouse. The artist selects images of anonymous mountainsides and the implacable faces of strangers, modest cafes and odd views of iconic architecture. Zingeler careens between subjects, pulling the table of contents down from darkened storehouse shelves. Flour and ink spills. Fragrant hops tumble loosely across the floor.

After all these pages have touched – texts upon one another – the artist introduces an external source of light. While brittle blots of paint conceal whatever they cover and hard glass reveals, Zingeler elects to use plant material as her primary palette. The hues found in these flowers reference something vital. Like veins glimpsed through a shut eyelid, suffused with the warmth of shifting sunlight, these vascular petals carry a bright imprint. They remember, even as they dry and fade. Photosynthesis has seared their delicate tissue in a process akin to the light- sensitive emulsion used as a method of analog photography. Faces and landscapes emerge from a drama of light and shadow, unable to ever fully forget these constituent polarities.

In the lead up to writing this piece I took a sheaf of Zingeler’s graphic collages with me to Dawson City, YT. Nested inside my coat, I hoped that the act of carrying these images close might unlock their secret cartographies - reveal an alternate instinct for wayfinding among storied landscapes. What I found were lapsed placer mines, the alluvial flow still legible in the cut banks. These images exist somewhere in the space between remembering and forgetting. Names are lost as the fog of senescence sets in, thick as a cloud of spores. Who remains that can recognize these transplanted stories? Fleeting glance of gold, or mica glinting up through the earth...

- Jenna Swift, 2014