Copyright © Natalie LeBlanc 2020 all rights reserved.

Fascinated by the effect that weathering processes have on the built environment, I have produced thousands of photographs that capture the collapse of various abandoned barns in eastern Canada. This work examines rusted aluminum shingles; parts broken apart and fallen down over time, weather, and the land’s overgrowth. Beauty in Abandonment not only makes reference to the colours, the texture, and the compositions that are easily overlooked in such places and objects, it makes reference to an arts-based form of inquiry that I engaged in as part of my master’s degree at Concordia University (Montréal) between 2007-2008.

For this study, I explored the dialogue between my roles as a painter and a photographer by documenting and analyzing several acts of re-creating a photograph with paint. Seeing the painting and the photographic source together, not only speaks to the controversy of a painter who is revealing their source image, but it acts to juxtapose multiple points of view as a way of exploring the relativity of experiences and the dialectical relationship between the two media that have constituted my art practice since I was a child.

The dialogue between the two media establishes that neither the photograph nor the painting is a higher standard. If my intention were to copy the photograph, then the photograph would be perceived as an ideal that painting must attempt to duplicate. But where space and time is concerned, there is a give and take —a push and a pull. The painting changes things and edits things because it can and because some things work better as a painting (while some things work better as a photograph). The title of this work draws attention to the major finding of my study — that during my painting process, I abandon the photograph for the sake of the painting.