Elizabeth M. Webb: A Bearing Tree is a Witness

Elizabeth M. Webb, Study for A Bearing Tree is a Witness, 2022

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography

A Bearing Tree is a Witness
Elizabeth M. Webb

Exhibition Dates: October 21 – December 10, 2022
Opening Reception: October 21, 6:00 – 8:00PM

In A Bearing Tree is a Witness, artist Elizabeth M. Webb examines the plat maps and field notes from the original land surveys of her family’s former plantation land in eastern Alabama. The film and sculptural installation positions land surveys, surveying instruments, and plat maps as tools of a Western colonial agenda that helped establish and maintain the power dynamics of white supremacy. Evolving from this conceptual foundation, A Bearing Tree is a Witness thinks through the ways that plant life can provide liberatory models for how our bodies might also subvert these structures of power and control.

For more information read Defiances Below and Above Ground, an essay by Olivia Michiko Gagnon and listen to Elizabeth M. Webb and Curator Lillian O’Brien Davis discuss racial and geographic boundaries and the use of archival surveying instruments within her artistic practice on G44 Digital. Webb’s podcast episode launches on October 28.

Artwork for the exhibition was produced with the support of the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Elizabeth M. Webb is an artist and filmmaker originally from Charlottesville, VA. Her work is invested in issues surrounding race and identity, often using the lens of her own family history of migration and racial passing to explore larger, systemic constructs. She has screened and exhibited in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, Singapore, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Austria, Norway and Germany and was a recipient of the inaugural Allan Sekula Social Documentary Award in 2014. Elizabeth holds a dual MFA in Film/Video and Photography/Media from California Institute of the Arts and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Study Program in Studio Art, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She was Fall 2019 Visiting Faculty in Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since 2015 she has been the Creative Producer for Arts in a Changing America and in 2020 worked on the launch of the Cultural New Deal for Cultural and Racial Justice. She is currently co-editing an anthology with Roberta Uno and Daniela Alvarez entitled FUTURE/PRESENT: Culture in a Changing America (Duke University Press, 2023).

Elizabeth M. Webb, Boundary Exercise (On Perambulation), 16mm film, 2022

A Bearing Tree is a Witness: Artist Walk-Through
Saturday, October 22, 1:00PM – 2:00PM

Join us for a Walk-Through with artist Elizabeth M. Webb of her solo exhibition A Bearing Tree is a Witness. The artist will provide context and discuss in-depth the research and production processes involved in the development of the exhibition.

Nic Wilson, A picture of Wascana Creek (from the Cree oskana kâ-asastêki, meaning “where the bones are piled”) with the lens obscured by my finger, smartphone photograph, 2022

Pavilion of Shadows
Nic Wilson

Exhibition Dates: October 21 – December 10, 2022
Opening Reception: October 21, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Writer-in-Residence Nic Wilson explores photography’s relationship to Spiritualism, belief, hoaxes, decay, Western conceptions of death and the dead. The exhibition includes images made by leaving the lens cap on the camera, obscuring the lens, to capture a more cerebral and even metaphysical experience of an image. The exhibition features excerpted writing from Wilson’s tenure as Writer-in-Residence at Gallery 44. Wilson explores the possibilities of capturing different realms of metaphysical phenomena and the digital camera’s ability to track and image the living’s relationship with the dead.

Nic Wilson (he/they) is an artist and writer who was born in the Wolastoqiyik territory now known as Fredericton, NB in 1988. He graduated with a BFA from Mount Allison University, Mi’kmaq territory, in 2012, and an MFA from the University of Regina, Treaty Four Territory, in 2019 where he was a SSHRC graduate fellow. In 2021 they were long listed for the Sobey Art Award as a representative of the Prairies and the North. Fluent across media, Wilson creates videos, performances and artist books, and writes essays and art criticism.Their work often engages time, queer lineage, decay, and the distance between art practice and literature. Their writing has appeared in publications such as BlackFlash Magazine, Peripheral Review, and Border Crossings.

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Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is a charitable, non-profit, artist-run centre committed to supporting multi-faceted approaches to photography and lens-based media. Founded in 1979 to establish a supportive environment for the development of artistic practice, Gallery 44’s mandate is to provide a context for meaningful reflection and dialogue on contemporary photography.

Gallery 44 is committed to programs that reflect the continuously changing definition of photography by presenting a wide range of practices that engage timely and critical explorations of the medium. Through exhibitions, public engagement, education programs and production facilities our objective is to explore the artistic, cultural, historic, social and political implications of the image in our ever-expanding visual world.

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography
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Toronto, Ontario M5V 3A8
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Maegan Broadhurst
Head of Communications and Development