Grand Lodge: Dignity, Sweep, or Elegance with Accommodation, Protection, or a Meeting Hall

2010   Mixed-media, site-specific installation
Dimensions: Entire gallery.   80 x 50 ft.

This work was curated by Robin Metcalfe at the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery and represents my first solo show.

In the summer of 2008 a local chapter of the Free Masons organization sold their 150-year-old building in downtown Halifax and relocated across the city.  I was fortunate to be friends with the buildings new owner, a businessman who began the slow process of transforming the ancient site into usable retail space.  For two years I would explore the building and collect the various objects, detritus and refuse left behind by the Masons after their historic move.

These abandoned items (church pews, antique doors, broken symbolic objects, etc.) were re-contextualized and given a different history as they became the fragmented material backbone for my installation of an architectural “ruined environment” sectioned into interconnected rooms throughout the SMU Gallery.

60% of the materials for this installation came from the Masons Hall while the remaining 40% were sourced from outside locations (hardware stores, junk shops, used stores, etc.) and “mashed” together, further obscuring the thread-like connection the Hall items had to their original context. This work is a direct attempt to investigate the syncretic origins of many systems of ritual and belief, and became a working allegory in dialogue with an unknowable, and unreachable past.