Scott Massey: A Marker to Measure Drift is now open for viewing at Kamloops Art Gallery

Multi-media artist, Scott Massey, invites us to reconsider our place within the cosmos through his intriguing works of art

Those interested in checking out the whole exhibition can drop by the Kamloops Art Gallery until April 3. (Kyra Grubb/The Omega)

Through his examination of cosmological subjects by fabricated means, Scott Massey invites viewers to contemplate natural phenomena and further consider their place within the universe from varying perspectives—both micro and macro. 

Scott Massey: A Marker to Measure Drift, opened at Kamloops Art Gallery (KAG) Jan. 22. The exhibition highlights over 15 years of Massey’s undertakings as a multi-media artist who sublimely merges science and art. 

Scientific knowledge is built upon daily, and with so much knowledge to process and make sense of, it is relatively easy to lose sight of our significance. Humans have progressed from the once widespread belief in geocentrism, or the belief that the center of the universe lies at the core of a stationary earth, in which the sun, moon and planets orbit to the now widespread and uncontested understanding that we are in fact a microscopic, recent and relatively insignificant blip in what we now know as the space-time continuum. 

Apollo 17 crew members required we reconsider our understanding of the cosmos when the iconic Blue Marble image of our planet surfaced after the last lunar landing. Well-lit and in technicolour, earth’s portrait stunned those after its publication and mass reproduction. 

There we were in our grandeur, juxtaposed against a broad black background of nothingness. The 1972 photograph was pivotal in transforming humanity’s view of earth and our place within the universe; just like that, our insignificance in the grand scheme of things were made abundantly clear. Massey’s work further grapples with both his own and our collective understandings of human existence, which continually grow more challenging to digest with every new discovery.

Massey’s KAG exhibit, as already mentioned, highlights 15 odd years of personal undertakings. 

One installation, titled The Day Breaks (2013), presents a time-lapse “photograph” of the changing light captured over 24 hours onto a single image plane in real-time. 

The Day Breaks installation at the KAG takes up a staggering 50 feet of wall space for the first time ever in its existence on one single wall, and as Massey stated on his Instagram, creates “a very different feel than previous exhibitions in smaller spaces.” 

Another installation and ongoing photographic series titled Via Lactea (2014) features a collection of works created by photographing tiny sections of the night sky stars over many hours on the same segment of Kodak Ektar film. 

Massey carries out the labour intensive process in remote locations beneath a new (or no) moon. He later inverts the images to achieve the illusion of “white stars” on a clear blue day, a reminder that the stars we are so accustomed to seeing at night are still out during the daytime. 

Lastly, Massey evokes questions about our collective understandings of “natural” and “artificial” through the installation, Rememoration Piece #1. A standard industrial bay lamp fitted with a full-spectrum (sunlight) bulb is hung very near the floor, surrounded by a large, circular planter of lawn grass grown from seed. Rememoration Piece #1 requires the viewer to think hard about confusing labels. Is the grass still considered “natural” although grown from genetically modified seeds and with “artificial” although full-spectrum light? It is for the viewer to decide and further grapple with. 

Those interested in Scott Massey: A Marker to Measure Drift can view the pieces mentioned above and many more at the KAG, Jan. 22 to April 3.