Installation and Sculpture > Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn

Natalie Hunter
Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn

February 2 – May 4, 2024
Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery
Sarnia, Ontario

Natalie Hunter's Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn at JNAAG



Natalie Hunter creates photo-based installations, sculpture, and moving images that explore relationships between embodied experience, spatial perception, the senses, and memory.

Time and light are integral to Hunter’s fascination for both image making and working with materials by hand. She often employs and exploits the immaterial principles of photography—time and light—with the material aspects of sculpture in her installations. Her work studies the complexities of time, space, memory, and the senses in our digitally saturated culture through an interplay between image, material, and form. In this way her research and studio practice poetically investigate the shifting sensory experiences of light, colour, time, consciousness, and motion as they relate to space, memory, and perception.

Immerse yourself in two of Hunter's captivating photo-based installations in the JNAAG’s lecture theatre. Visitors are invited to explore these works at various times and throughout the changing seasons—to witness the captivating transformations the installations undergo.

Hunter is the recipient of many Canada Council for the Arts Research and Creation Grants, and Ontario Arts Council Visual Artists Creation Project Grants. She has shown her work in public art galleries and artist-run-centres across Canada and holds an MFA from the University of Waterloo where she is a sessional instructor. She lives and works in her home city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Natalie Hunter wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council

Artworks Exhibited:

Natalie Hunter. Edge of Sky, 2020-2021. archival pigment prints on transparent film from 35mm negatives, turned aluminum, birch, light.

Natalie Hunter. Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn. 2023-2024. archival pigment prints on transparent vinyl from 120mm negatives. Site responsive installation.

Natalie Hunter
Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn
Window installation
Extended Artist Statement and Audio Recording
Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery

" What does the sky feel like on your skin? Can we touch light and atmosphere in the same way we can touch the solid brick of a building or the skin of another person? In Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn, latent images stretch across the gallery space and slowly move with the rhythm of the sun. Made in 2023 and installed in 2024 within ten windows that curve around the upper corner of the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, this unique photo-based transparent film window installation responds to changing lighting conditions and viewer movement. As the seasons change and the earth’s axis tilts toward the sun, natural sunlight streams through transparent photographs like radiation moving like a wave through the atmosphere. Light activates the images, creates movement, and makes latent traces and mirror spaces on the walls and floors of the gallery.

Natural sunlight is an integral element of this entire installation. Photography relies on the immaterial forces of light and time to create imagery, but in my unique installation it also animates my images, transforming them into a slow moving cinema unfolding in a cycle over months. To make Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn, I photographed the sky throughout my everyday routine over a period of two months. Relying on the immaterial staples of photography - light and time - and the sensibilities of sculpture and materials, I captured the sun as it moved across the sky unfolding through time using an analogue camera, light, and hand made colour filters. For me, the sky became a locator, and I found a renewed appreciation for sunlight as it affected my body and mind. I found myself looking to the sky very often in times of anxiety, stress, and vulnerability. Our relationship to the sky can be a universal human experience, but is different for every individual.

As if plucked from the sky, photographs hover in the liminal space of each window of the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery; transforming the gallery with latent images of colour and light. Printed on transparent film, adhered directly to the windows of the gallery, and activated by light, Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn becomes a part of the architecture. Meeting the floor, the liminal space in each window becomes a portal that a viewer can almost walk into with their body, or enter with their eyes. Latent mirrored images stretch from the windows, touch the architecture, and wash the viewer’s body in cascading beams of coloured light. Part sculpture and part image, light morphs, alters, and stretches my images across bodies, architecture, and space.

Depending on the time of day, the angle of the sun, or the gallery lighting, Through sunset, slow dusk, and gathering dawn appears different each time it is viewed. Shifts in sunlight activate the installation in subtle ways. In daylight, viewers experience my images overlaid with the urban architecture of downtown Sarnia. While sun streams through the windows, my images are activated and transform the gallery space in washes of coloured light. At night, the installation is visible from the street and glows while backlit by interior lighting. The viewer activates the installation through movement too. When approaching each window pane imagery of past skies slide over the urban ground views of downtown Sarnia. As a viewer moves and walks around the space, the images of past and present slide over each other. Through this activation, both the motion of the present moment and stasis of the past are highlighted; making my photo-based installation somewhere in-between. In this way, the sky is used as an exploration of time and memory as a fluid, ever-unfolding experience. My photographs are not static moments caught in time, but fluid latent images and mirror spaces that shift and change with movement, sunlight, and seasons. Just like our mutable sky. "

- Natalie Hunter