Joyce Crago is creating still-life compositions out of garbage. She has long been intrigued by garbage and what people leave behind. She is constantly finding interesting and intriguing trash. She found her best jeans on Albert Street on a snowy January day: she found her couch on the curb in Toronto.
She finds in photographing trash that there is the possibility of the rediscovery of order, under circumstances that are never propitious and out of materials that are less than promising.
She photographed garbage from:
- Arts organizations including the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa, the Pace MacGill Gallery in NYC, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin at a time when she was going to arts school (SPAO)
- The Women’s March on Washington and the 2017 Inauguration. It is hard to overstate how devastated Joyce Crago was at 4 am on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016. It was more than her heart could bear. In the subsequent weeks she decided to travel to Washington, D.C. to confront these feelings in order to understand better where we go from here.
- Her morning walks to get coffee when she was recovering from a perforated appendix and for the first time in her life seeking to understand the country of Illness with its different language, different citizens, different culture, and different Gods and Totems.
There are challenges with her process. For example, certain arts organizations refuse access to their garbage. For example, the Art Bank stated:
I love what you are doing but with reservations in regards to Art Bank garbage. Anyone reading this would assume the artworks are garbage (contemporary art is a challenge to many) and not the detritus of framing, eating etc. please consider another opportunity.
And the garbage from the Women’s March on Washington and the Inauguration needed to be photographed in the U.S. and brought across the border. But these types of challenges ultimately inform and inspire her work. She is constantly amazed by the intriguing stories of what we leave behind in our waste. And as someone who is always seeking to understand, Joyce wonders what do the images of the trash she collected in DC tell us about the world and the time we live in.
It is interesting to think of the backstory of the DC trash:
- Who left a lifesaver on a yellow string at the Women’s March on Washington?
- Who left a Marlborough cigarette butt in a holder at the Inauguration?
ABOUT THE GALLERY
Exposure Gallery was established in 2009 as an exhibition space dedicated to emerging and established Canadian photo-based artists. Located on the second floor of Thyme and Again in Ottawa, ON, this space functions not only as a sophisticated gallery, but also as a restaurant, a gathering space, and a venue for special events. In 2015, Exposure Gallery partnered with the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa to bring Ottawa’s rich photography to a wider audience, educating and enriching the arts and culture in Ottawa while strengthening the community as a whole.