Cecilia McKinnon is an intermedia artist and curator, primarily working in sculpture, installation, and video. She is based between occupied Chumash and Tewa land (California and New Mexico) and Tio’tia:ke/Montréal. McKinnon works on mediating the relationship between representation and the Real, examining imaginary and physical landscapes through Romantic painting history, popular cinema, salvage practices, construction sites, culinary practices, and ‘natural’ history. She is a founding member of GRAFT Collective, based between Albuquerque, Philadelphia, and Montréal, who were Fulcrum Fund recipients in 2017. She has shared work at Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Fe), Vox Populi (Phila), and Amos Eno Gallery (NYC), with solo shows at Small Engine Gallery and Harwood Art Center. She is a current MFA candidate in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University in Montréal, and holds a BFA from the University of New Mexico.
Searchers//Searchers plays with the staging of landscape through cultivated popular imagination, Western cinema, and the performance of place. An anonymous cowboy figure rehearses throwing gestures in front of projections of excerpts from John Ford's 1956 "The Searchers," and a film set. The cast-sugar bottles, a nod to the genre’s ubiquitous bar fight scenes, tie together the fraught history of sugar production in colonized North America with performances of violence on screen. The figure stands between the film and the audience, ambiguously positioned between the fictional landscape and the ‘real’ spaces of film set and viewing audience. Gestures of rehearsal, a decoy 16mm projector soundtrack, and candy glass bottles all engage with the fabrication and staging of landscape through popular media. For whose consumption are these imaginary landscapes produced? What kind of knowledge of place, history, and relations are performed and reiterated via the mechanisms of filmic fiction? The landscape morphs and mutates, eluding the targeted gaze of the performer: as often as the figure throws the bottle at mountains, he only ever manages to hit the sky. This film was produced in collaboration with Daniel Crouch
digital video, 4:12