Greg Staats has been in the process of reconnecting with a traditional Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] restorative aesthetic. Such a practice echoes the knowledge transferred by generations within his family whereby they recalled the health of the body and mind in a series of shared repetitive events, which were both restorative and reflective; they elevated the mind and facilitated the giving of thanks. These condolence ceremonies originated within the longhouse and were transferred organically within families into the Christian church. In both these situations individual grief was borne by all present and could be understood as an archive of shared experience.
The sadness that is felt from his personal loss of the Mohawk language and subsequent worldview, and the networks defined by culture motivates Greg Staats recent video and photographic works within a mnemonic continuum. In place of this systemic deficit, he has also assembled and created an archive of images and documents, both personal and familial. This restitution and the residual visual documents produced by it create and maintain strong connections with the land, nation, community, and family. Furthermore, this powerful new resource is an externalization of what is carried within the body, which in itself is a repository in dialogue with places real and imagined, traditional and contemporary. The condolence ritual is a systemic pattern occurring at the personal, familial, community, confederate and alliance levels when relationships are altered by death. This pattern has formed Greg Staats aesthetic, having used relationships as a principle of organization within his artistic practice.
Greg Staats (b. Ohsweken, Ontario) is a photographer and video artist whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural world. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Gallery, Walter Philips Gallery, Banff, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Mercer Union, Gallery TPW, Toronto. Group exhibitions include : Ottawa Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art. Greg Staats is the recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography. Recently, Greg Staats has been Faculty for two Aboriginal Visual Arts Thematic Residencies: Archive Restored (2009) and Towards Language (2010) at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Staats has an upcoming solo exhibition in 2011 at the McMaster Museum of Art. http://www.re-title.com/artists/greg-staats.asp
The artist thanks: Quebecor Fund, Banff New Media Institute, CityTv, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Peer Bode and Rebekkah Palo
Participating Artists: Greg Staats (Ontario)
Credits: Image : Greg Staats, 2010
Discussion with Martha Langford and Greg StaatsFriday, January 14, 2011 - 19:00
Discussion with Martha Langford and Greg Staats as part of the exhibition Condolence. Greg Staats (b. Ohsweken, Ontario) is a photographer and video artist whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural...
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