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 A Video Installation by Rowan Pantel
January 18 – February 2, 2013

Please join us for the opening reception of Trail Home on Friday, January 18th at 8PM.

Rowan Pantel, Trail Home

“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”

-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Folklore, sentiment, and nostalgia describe the concepts that Rowan Pantel investigates in the video installation Trail Home. Through the illusionary layering of print and video, Pantel shares her ‘everyday’ experience of walking through the boreal forest, located on her family’s property in Northern Saskatchewan.

This forest is the original site of a logging camp and sawmill operated by Pantel’s Swedish Great-Grandfather, and it is where her father milled the lumber to build her childhood home. It is also a space where she has spent hours laying in the moss of the boreal floor, contemplating the threat of wolves and the mystique of the natural world. Much like the story of Little Red Riding Hood, Pantel remembers naively skipping through the forest, navigating the liminal space between fantasy and reality, with the potential of ‘real’ danger around every corner.

In The Poetics of Space, philosopher Gaston Bachelard reflects on the human need to find psychological refuge in family spaces, and how the spaces we occupy affect us. Bachelard asserted, “All really inhabited space bears the essence of the notion of home.”ii In the video Trail Home, the quiet, empty forest also symbolizes loss. Pantel is mourning the prospect of selling this property, and as her figure recedes down the trail into the distance, she references the inevitable vanishing of family history.

Set within the meditative space of the forest, Tail Home considers how childhood daydreams can infiltrate the adult subconscious. For Pantel, the forest is filled with contradictions; from her childhood gaze to grappling with her adult reality, this space evokes a longing for the feeling of permanence and isolation that she once experienced as a child.

Leah Taylor

iDr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Random House Books, 1990.

ii Bachelard, Gaston, The Poetics of Space, Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. p. 5