Robin C Nisbet
Photographer Barry Smith and I went back to "our house" on the 28th of May. There was a lot that had changed. It was really amazing to note how much damage was done over winter. Part of the dormer that was perfectly fine last year has now fallen in. There has been some activity there, too. Someone has been coming in and cutting down trees. There was a large pile of logs in the driveway.
The roof to the kitchen is currently being held up by an electrical wire that is still attached to an outlet. There are trees and weeds starting to grow inside and on some of the roof. As we walked around gingerly, I wasn't feeling quite as scared as when I had explored this place on my own. You have to be very careful of your footing - there is so much debris and bits of things. There are wooden pathways that may or may not have led to places.
There is a lot of different structures on the property and its very hard to tell what things were. The structure that I photographed Barry shooting is on the south side and has a brick walled area in the centre. Maybe it was a smoke house? Not sure and we may never know. I got a great shot of looking through the doorway and out to the other side that is begging to be painted. There is so many little vignettes and bits of things to take note of: a lace curtain, big glass jugs, an old tin, its kinda endless. It's also now impossible to see the kitchen from the front. You have to shimmy along the face of the house to get to it because so many plants and things have grown in front. Barry got to shoot the stairs to the second floor, so he was happy about that. We also got a look into the basement, which we really hadn't seen before. This house is so sad. I am in awe of how much can grow when it's left alone to do its thing.
I did see a person in a truck drive in to the property while I was passing it, so maybe that was the person cutting down the trees. Both Barry and I keep wondering when the "No Trespassing" signs are going to go up. Until then, we will continue to document and explore this forgotten home.
Working in collaboration with photographer Barry Smith, we have come together to create a unique perspective on some of the decaying and abandoned properties they have come across. Using a pink-curtained window as a starting point, we have chosen to create a painting within a picture and begin an endless loop and an endless set of possibilities. The exhibit will include approximately 15 to 20 photographs and paintings that explore the theme of nature’s effect on abandoned properties and what is happening to those properties before the scene changes for the next “act”. Part of the exhibit will be how photograph and painting answer each other in a sometimes abstracted, sometimes impressionistic way. The pinnacle of the exhibit will be a 10x4 ft diptych that combines both photo and painting to create a panoramic view of a Niagara property that has to be celebrated for what it once was, as well as what it will be when the curtain rises again.
Artist. Educator. Graphic Designer.
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150 Steele Street
Port Colborne, ON L3K 4X6
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