The New Pangea
July 18 - September 13, 2015
Before our divided continental world began, there was wholeness in the Paleozoic era. Pangea was one supercontinent which split and drifted apart over millions of years, to form the pattern of separate land masses we see on our current world map. Cree Métis artist Jason Baerg strives to consider this history, and to learn from the interconnectivity of the lost continent.
Baerg’s most recent body of work, The New Pangea, addresses themes of “survivance,” as defined by the Anishinaabe cultural theorist Gerald Vizenor. Vizenor writes “Survivance is an active sense of presence… the renunciation of dominance, tragedy and victimry.” Survivance can be seen as a portmanteau of survival, and resistance. It implies agency in one’s own survival. In The New Pangea, Baerg uses the idea of survivance to “engage Indigenous ways of avoiding environmental demise through processes of visioning, ceremony and action.” He demonstrates this resilient spirit as he embodies Timothy Morton’s ideas about a new era of aesthetics shaped by dire ecological conditions, and explores a utopic, yet plausible, view of a possible future.
In Baerg’s work, ecology – the sky, animals, and land – meets technology. He uses new and traditional modes of art production, including drawing, painting, and laser cutting to emphasize the link between history and technology. Paintings are dissected and disrupted through the use of laser cutting and shaped into semi-representational images. Digital drawing tools are applied to create abstract images of trees, sky, wind and stones. Presented as large scale prints, these crisp, digital illustrations evoke a sense of frenetic urgency. The images call to mind continents twisted and shaped by seismic activity, and ultimately display a type of unity that pulls the pieces together as if reassembling the continent of Pangea.
Jason Baerg graduated from Concordia University with a BA in Fine Arts, subsequently completed Graduate Studies in New Media at George Brown College, and started his MFA at Rutgers University in Newark, USA, last fall. Baerg has won numerous awards and grants including this year’s residency from The Royal Melbourne Institute of Art in Australia. His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally.