David Ferguson - Statements

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THE CONQUEST OF TAHITI

David Ferguson studied photography at Montrealís Dawson Institute of Photography and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto. He was photo editor at the University of Victoriaís student newspaper between 1974 and 1976, was on the gallery 44 board of directors in 1988-89, and has worked as a colour lab technician and teacher of photography.
For the past ten years he has worked as an artist in Toronto, His work has been widely exhibited in Canada since 1984, most recently in a touring show called Ďfrom Morocco to Rococoí, of which the Edmonton journal noted: ďno matter how doggedly the luscious cathedral-like grove of giant vegetables tries to imitate a painting, itís not. Neither is it true to life. Itís a photograph, complete unto itself.Ē


David uses Tahiti here as a metaphor for that unspoiled and natural state that is supposed to have existed when the human race and the world were in harmony.


ďIn some earlier time a confrontational relationship developed between humans and the rest of the world. The natural world has since lost itís primacy to these wielders of technology. The wholesale extinction of species and the dramatic changes occurring to the biosphere and to local environments delineates the progression of the conquest.


I think this state of affairs is best examined not by scenes of the battlegrounds but by looking for the intellectual tools that make it possible. When a forest can be conceived of as a measurable quantity of paper, a chain of actions, focused primarily on the paper, can be unleashed to accomplish that transformation. Only the abstraction of the wood fiber from itís complex context allows this, and the tools for this abstraction seem to be those of quantification and reductionism. As I despair for the development of tools sufficiently comprehensive to accurately measure and number and account for the infinite variables that comprise our world, I feel compelled to look more closely for the nature and the origins of the tools.


The tools I use here are those of the still-life image. I can assemble and manipulate within this context a great variety of things and ideas. Thoughts about the conflict between our civilization and the rest of the natural world led me to place artifacts and tools of our industrial civilization next to pieces of the natural world. From here I contrive to construct an image that can stand on itís own in terms of itís formal aspects but has itís roots in these thoughts and in the still-life tradition.

Artist Statements
from Morocco to Rococo
the Conquest of Tahiti
Fruit of Consequence
Reviews
Debbie OíRourke 2000