Samantha Walrod's work is influenced by uncanny similarities and differences between imagined or reconstructed environments. The figurative elements in her recent body of work are constructed from images of the Canadian Wilderness. Her latest body of work is a response and a record of visits to Banff and Jasper National Parks:
When viewing wildlife from a vehicle, I feel a sense of awe and gratitude at the chance to witness the fleeting passage of a bear, coyote or elk coming into view and then disappearing back into the wilderness. This meeting between motorists and animals adversely affects wildlife, as witnessed in the traces of road kill on the road, and precautionary fencing placed along highways in Banff National Park, designed to keep animals off the road. Our view of wild animals is multiple and fractured.
Images in Split Seconds, Soft Edges address these fractured viewpoints. Photographic images have been torn apart and put back together again in a slightly off kilter way. The photographic space is interrupted but remains intact. The act of photographing the animals reminds us of the many cultural lenses that mediate our understanding of them.
The act of collage brings to the surface more readily than photography its construction and artificiality. The edges of the ripped paper, the slight tonal differences in the photographs, and the addition of paint on top of the images all act as a filter or an interruption.
Engineers, ecologists and government agencies have responded to road kill and motorist safety in Banff National Park. Wilderness overpasses, underpasses and fences funnel animal traffic across the highway. These overpasses show a level of care from scientific and government communities, they make our society's response to the issue of road kill more visible. The passes that I have painted and collaged are hard edged next to the organic lines of the surrounding trees and mountains. The painted bridges and highways cut through or interrupt the visual plane, much like highways do through the landscape. These hard edges talk about a difference in speed and movement between wilderness and car culture, reflecting a sense of unease that is present at these intersections.
I ask the viewer to contemplate their accountability in the existing situation. I am, and we are, directly involved and invested in the shifting boundary between nature and culture.