“Public outdoor spaces have had increasing importance and usage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – “guardians:gatekeepers” contemplates these designated ‘green’ spaces, who is permitted to access them and the dynamics and histories within them. Public seating areas in parks, city centres, and walkways are seen as a sign of universal access or open availability – picnic tables in particular are associated with democratic space for discourse and gathering. This sense of ‘community access’ can quickly shift to propriety, ownership and protectiveness, treating those who enter those spaces as wards – permitted only if their conduct and usage of those spaces mirrors their own, making them conditional spaces. This attitude is amplified by the legitimization of behavior by institutions like National Parks Canada, provincial and federal bodies – who have deemed themselves ‘guardians’ of the land. Boyer plays with these ideas by including “guardians:gatekeepers” in Hidelight a facsimile – “guardians:gatekeepers” is a digital object within an inaccessible space, with ‘designated use’ cut into the surfaces of the picnic table. Boyer is questioning the functionality of ‘community’ spaces and the fallacious urge to manage them.” – Franchesca Hebert-Spence
Katherine Boyer (Métis/Settler) is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work is focused on methods bound to textile arts and the handmade – primarily woodworking and beadwork. Boyer’s art and research encompasses personal family narratives, entwined with Métis history, material culture, architectural spaces (human made and natural). Her work often explores boundaries between two opposing things as an effort to better understand both sides of a perceived dichotomous identity. This manifests in long, slow, and considerate laborious processes that attempt to unravel and better understand history, environmental influences, and personal memories. Boyer has received a BFA from the University of Regina (Sculpture + Printmaking) and an MFA at the University of Manitoba. She currently holds a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, School of Art.