Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky: Edelweiss

January 20 - April 28, 2024

Edelweiss is an immersive and evolving exhibition that invites audiences into a dream-like reflection on memory, home, and the passage of time. As a permutation of Weppler and Mahovsky’s Twilight, a series of life-scale mock antique and thrift stores stocked with handmade lanterns assembled from photographs of locally collected objects, this installation continues the artists’ investigation of mimicry, alternative economies, communities, and relationships that can form around familiar objects, and the flow of these objects through our lives.

As visitors step into the dimmed gallery space, they are invited into an impossibly black shed—a structure that stands in sharp contrast to the luminous objects housed within it. Edelweiss begins with a single lantern emerging from the darkness. Over the course of the exhibition, the shed will gradually fill with more; its shadowy interior slowly illuminated by an ethereal, ever-changing glow. Each lantern—crafted by the artists using traditional lantern materials of mulberry paper, wax, and wire—is a sculpture of an object selected from Trevor Mahovsky’s childhood home on Calgary’s Edelweiss Road. By depicting the objects in encaustic renderings, which are then transformed into sculptural facsimiles, the lanterns operate as a kind of still life, mimicking and representing everyday belongings and acting, collectively, as a kind of portrait of a home. However, through their handmade, crafted form and resulting flawed likeness, they also become symbolic of personal familial and historic ties, with each object holding its own veiled story and connection to the past—and the present.

Inspired by a high school friend’s brief attempt to move from his parents’ house into their garage, the inherited home of Edelweiss suggests a struggle to break free of the burdens associated with these objects, as much as an attempt to preserve the world they represent.  However, these objects are not just remnants of a personal narrative; but are also symbols of the fragile spaces that “homes” represent, especially as they stand on the cusp of radical transition and possible loss—they are a material recognition of the inevitable changes that time brings.

As the lanterns accumulate, the exhibition mirrors the ever-changing landscape of our memories and the objects we associate with them; it is an invitation to contemplate our own connections to the past and the objects that anchor us to our histories.

The exhibition will conclude with a lantern festival-style event, to which the public is invited. The lanterns will be given to those who attend and will disperse into the world to find new homes, continuing their journey in the flow of time.


Part of Exposure Photography Festival 2024.

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