By Christine Burchnall
(WINDSOR, ON) – Artcite, Windsor’s only Artist-Run Centre for the Contemporary Arts, is presenting Seraphs: The Burning Ones, a solo photographic exhibition by Montréal-based artist Alain Lefort.
Continuing in his interest in “bending the formal and conceptual delineations of traditional photography” to create disquieting and engrossing landscapes and nature studies, the large-format photographs in Alain Lefort’s current Artcite exhibition Seraph / The Burning Ones each explore, in stunning detail, the elusive moth.
At once mysterious and familiar, Lefort’s “improbable identity portraits” of these normally hidden, nocturnal creatures are literally “painted with light.”
Lefort’s exquisite, large-format studies formally reveal and contrast the species’ inherent, evolved relationship to light and appearance. Moths’ natural inclination to conceal or blend within their environment, whether as larvae or mature moths, signifies the natural vibrancy of transformative coexistence between diverse species.
As Virginia Woolf described in The Death of the Moth (1942), they are “hybrid creatures”, highly adaptive, delicately balanced and “allegorically positioned between physical and ephemeral space.”
Seraphs: The Burning Ones is as much about the visual Lepidoptera study of the species as it is about the evolutionary unfolding of their inscribed, mythological, and spiritual connotations.
As if “emerged from Hell to die on Earth”, Lefort’s fascinating portrait subjects have come from numerous collections and private conservatories, as well from personal sources, and most of the specimens have been digitalized in order to illuminate them from all angles, Lefort floods his subjects with light, leaving no details unexamined.
“What we see are legs and antennae positioned like broken or shorn off twigs, eyes as intense as lost gems and bodies woven into the night-a night that is both dishevelled and dazzling,” describes Annie Lafleur. “[Yet] moths are more or less invisible, seeking shadows and food, shunned by other species. Alain Lefort has attempted to illustrate this singularity that is at once spectacular, monstrous, and majestic. Each portrait dwells on a particularity, colour, reflection, or texture, of these small, powdery-furred animals.”
Seraphs: The Burning Ones, a solo photographic exhibition by Alain Lefort, runs from March 6 through April 25 at Artcite, 109 University Avenue West, in Windsor. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm.
Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public.