we move, just shifting is the culmination of Brandon Brookbank’s Concordia MFA Thesis in Photography.
The show’s namesake is a pair of photographs depicting a drinking glass—smeared in yogurt—beyond blurry fingers and toes. As when a snapshot clips its maker’s thumb, the subject appears distant, found, outside deliberation.
A closer read turns depth of field into a poetic shorthand for touch. Foreground presses against the objects of the middle-ground in a purely visual field. A clue of broader intervention emerges.
The yogurt maps caressing gestures and the hand holds the lens like a lover. This is the notion of connection that makes Brookbank’s visual language, between people, self, and objects in photography. The mark of touch urges the significance of its landed-upon surface, and through it imparts an affective charge. No strict narrative is clear but the decadence of privacy in poetry, and photography’s absolute surrealist tendencies. A vague network of symbols—twigs, figurines, skin, fruit, jewellery—pry sealed histories ajar.
There is an impulse to leave the image and reproduce its world in the flesh. Objects placed within some photographs come alive and writhe as sculpture: atop a supine print of the sun wiggles yarn, bag ties and a wishbone. Something similar takes place on a print of knuckles. A column of tensely twisted t-shirts, collected from actors in Brookbank’s life, assemble to the status of architecture, while remaining vulnerable to stains.
In one photograph, two brown socks perch on the perimeter of a circular glass pane. The socks lend to a reading of the glass as a body proxy; some phantom stained reddish. Might this signal ouch or blush as coy soles dodge an errant fruit? The stain—clear metaphor for feeling—writes the body’s inventory.
we move, just shifting maps the brushing sensation of celestial transits, tectonic shifts and collective change at the scale of an inner world. Form, like feeling, is the catalyst of confluent forces that mark us as we mark them.
- Lucas Regazzi
Brandon Brookbank’s practice is rooted in photography. With this material basis, varied explorations emerge through installation, sculpture, writing and video. Like oil upon water, contemporary connection hovers above the shifting themes of the work. Brookbank enacts poetic queer narratives to deconstruct notions of touch, tension, banality, and slowness. Brookbank holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University and is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts from Concordia University. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he currently lives and works in Montréal, Québec.
Many thanks to the support of my advisor, Chih Chien Wang, and the Concordia University Photography department for their academic and financial support. This work benefited greatly from insightful conversations and studio visits with Roxanne Arsenault, Pascal Desjardins, Pascha Marrow, Maddie Mcneely, Jodi Heartz, Kinga Michalska, and Monse Muro. Thank you to Kinga Michalska and Amelia Wong for your donation of materials, Atelier CLARK, Centre CLARK staff, and Lucas Regazzi for seamlessly bringing the exhibition together, and Bain Blois and my family for transportation and assistance. Lastly, thank you to my partner, Kyle Alden Martens, for deep support along every aspect of this project.