Art Gallery of Grande Prairie

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Olivia Kachman: Artist Statement

Out of the Blue & Into the Red

I really believe that all human beings have an artist within them, if they choose to set that part of their spirit free and follow their creative instincts. I never fully embraced identity of ‘artist’ until the last few years when someone pointed out to me that everything I have done in my life involves a creative component that explores and expresses the world as I see it, whether it has been as a writer, photographer, dancer or teacher. What I do know is that I feel more alive when I create. If that makes me an artist, so be it.

Spirit of Kelly Lake

Spirit of Kelly Lake

My photographic explorations typically have a photojournalistic or illustrative edge, which visually map our relationships with our environment and with each other. I have often thought of myself as an anthropologist with a camera or a visual storyteller, since I take my camera for a walk and document my observations of everyday life in a way that could be read like a poem or short story. I have always been interested in the theme, “what we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves,” however the idea for the photography imagery in Out of the Blue & Into the Red came to me in a dream last winter when select images from the documentary and industrial photography I had taken the previous summer were projected and juxtaposed upon human form. I rarely remember my dreams, but that night I awoke in the middle of the night to write my vision down.

I believe the power of artists in any community is to encourage individuals to think critically about the world they live in. Artists have a phenomenal responsibility to hold a mirror up to the society in which we live and create a dialogue in the minds of our audience. My intent with Out of the Blue & Into the Red is to give a voice to the voiceless: Mother Earth and the people silenced by Industry as well the conflicted voices of a frontier land motivated by the all-mighty dollar. As the various multimedia components united in the editing process, I became aware that all the pieces were a study of our disconnect as a society.

Rig Move

Rig Move

It is my wish that my installation motivates its audience to examine the bigger picture of their role on this Earth and begin to understand how powerful they are in creating a positive change. I strongly believe that we can be the change we wish to see in the world, as Gandhi alluded to, we simply have to have the moral courage to align our belief systems with our actions. I believe humans are amazing beings with a capacity for choice based on imagination, intelligence and innovation. We simply need to start telling a different story- one based on cooperation rather than competition, one based on love rather than fear, one based on sustainability rather than exploitation.

Out of the Blue & Into the Red represents the twilight zone between the question and the answer, the current situation and the solution, the audience’s current identity and their future identity. The world is in a time of transition, and Out of the Blue & Into the Red has evolved into a call for change that I know will inspire people from other communities far from its northern Alberta birthplace.

Olivia Kachman