Shannon Garden-Smith: Shannon Garden-Smith: Tracks and traces and changes (Sand Prints)
July 17 to December 8, 2024

A woman, dressed in a pantsuit resembling a disco ball, stands on a plinth. Spotlit, she is performing for an audience in a darkened environment.

Shannon Garden-Smith, Tracks and traces and changes (Sand Prints) (detail), digital photo, 2024.

… I am still here and still mud, but all full of …tracks and traces and changes. I have been changed. You change me. Do not take me for granite.

Ursula K. Le Guin, “Being Taken for Granite”

New work by Shannon Garden-Smith, Tracks and traces and changes (Sand Prints), is the second chapter in her engagement with the AGYU vitrine spaces. For the first chapter, Mind Furniture (Dust Drawings), Garden-Smith used dust from sand gathered across Tkaronto to create marbling patterns from the endpapers of nineteenth century books. For this next iteration, the artist continues an engagement with sand and drawing connections with land across the city through photography and the documenting of found imprints in sidewalks.

Tracks and traces and changes emerges out of a practice of walking or moving with land/sand, following it through official archives as well as through the form of the built city. In this series of images, Garden-Smith proposes that moving with leads to a new engagement with buried, scattered, and erased entanglements with land. To move with is to reflect on the ways that settler colonialism has shaped the city, and the untenable extractive flows of geo-ecological matter that comprise our built world, in a manner that considers alternative futures.

Both chapters of Garden-Smith’s project for the AGYU vitrines draw attention to our daily reliance on sand in the built environment, one which requires huge volumes of this material— a need that cannot be met in perpetuity as it takes thousands of years for the formation of sand usable by the construction industry. The immense demand for construction sand today outpaces the speed at which the material is coming into existence while at the same time, climate collapse-driven desertification is increasing the visibility of sand in the environment.

Focussing on anonymous traces of touch left by human and more-than-human inhabitants of the city, Tracks and traces and changes is a visual invitation attuned to the ground, to our movement over and with it, and to an often-overlooked material—sand.

Shannon Garden-Smith is an uninvited settler of Scottish, Irish, and British heritage and an artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Garden-Smith is currently pursuing her PhD in Visual Art at York University having previously earned an MFA at the University of Guelph, 2017, and Honours BA at the University of Toronto, 2012. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Museum, University of Toronto, Tkaronto/Toronto; The Bows, Mohkínstsis/Calgary; Franz Kaka, Tkaronto; Gallery TPW, Tkaronto; Pumice Raft, Tkaronto; and TIER: The Institute for Endotic Research, Berlin, amongst others. She is an artist collaborator with Patel Brown.

Shannon Garden-Smith: Tracks and traces and changes (Sand Prints) is curated by Clara Halpern, with support from Uroš Jelić, and Michael Maranda.

The AGYU vitrines are located in the colonnade of the Accolade East Building. They can be accessed at any time.


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Art Gallery of York University
Keele Campus, Accolade East Building
Toronto Ontario  M3J 1P3

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