Artist Statements

A Foreign Film

Light and its characteristics and relationships to form have been of particular interest to my studio practice and research over the past decade. Through research, production and creation of works and installations, I was exploring the interaction of light with particular architectural forms. The forms I preferred were derived from elements of architecture that emitted light, such structures as windows, hallways, entrances and the negative spaces between structures that enclosed light were of particular interest to me. The surfaces achieved in these works was utilized as both form and content; I felt the light and shadows cast by these works and by the materials used , mimicked the same types of light in the architecture of churches, cathedrals, temples, synagogues and various places of worship I was studying . Over the past three years my practice has been concerned with the nature of film and it’s reliance on repetition and light to create movement and narrative .The installation ,'A Foreign Film', (Skew Gallery, Calgary, Feb. 2005), was a series of six large-scale works that explored my interests in the connections between light, image, and repetition. The images used in these works were generated from random shapes that, when repeated in laminated wood of up to thirty layers, and illuminated with a system of angled lights, created a shadow effect that produced an illusion of transparency and movement similar to the images in film.
There is an intention in these works as well as in all my new recent work to invite the viewer to participate in a narrative and to remind themselves of their own capabilities at interpreting images presented to them. Just as one understands a film, a book, or a work of art, we all have our own ideas and meanings distilled from the images presented to us in our daily lives and our own responses to them. As an artist I can only guide people to make their own interpretations and conclusions towards an understanding and it is precisely this autonomy that I am trying to achieve with this proposal. In the end the viewer has the power to decide what this work means and its relationships, if any, to their own experiences.  

 - Blake Senini August 2006

The Night Watch

When I was recently working on the seven wooden pieces that make up the series, 'Stolen Birds and Many Doubts', I had produced as well, a thin layer of sawdust that was now blanketing the entire floor of my studio. When I went out the next morning to sweep up the mess, I discovered several tiny threads stretching from the ceiling to the concrete floor. Apparently some little spiders had discovered the sawdust as well during the night and had decided to use it for their own purposes. At the base of each thread where the spiders had descended were what appeared to be drawings left by their tiny bodies as they made their way through the dust in what I can only guess to be reconnaissance missions. I photographed these drawings and later projected them onto the wall of my studio. When I stood back and looked at the enlarged drawings they all appeared to have specific images and content that became immediately obvious to me. Titles for each drawing were decided upon by simply finding certain images in the drawings and recording them. When the four pieces that make up this series were represented, as the spiders originally presented them to me, they seemed to display a story and their titles bore witness to this. 'There are Rabbits and Ghosts', 'A Flower with Noise', 'This Snake on Fire',  and 'Some Boy in the Clouds' became the titles to the four pieces that make up the work, 'The Night Watch', (which also seemed an appropriate title at the time). Without any thought on my part I simply traced these drawings onto paper templates and began to cut them out of ½ inch plate steel. As I was torch cutting these patterns by hand, and while my nerves were not at their best, my erratic movements seemed to mimic the jittery trails left by the spiders as they marched about the space the previous evening. I decided to color the steel drawings with a light grey coating to match the color of the shadow they cast on the wall, as well I silver leafed the rough cut edges to create a corona that commonly accompanies a shadow. 
The resulting work I call, 'The Night Watch', and I owe it all, for better or for worse, to the spiders.

 - Blake Senini January 2013