Portfolio: Jessica Auer




Jessica Auer’s work is largely concerned with the study of cultural sites. She received her MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University in 2007 and is the recipient of several grants and awards, namely from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Her work has been exhibited in Canada and the United States, most recently at VU photo (Québec, Québec); at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montréal, Québec) and Newspace Centre for Photography (Portland, Oregon) and is held in various institutional and corporate collections, in particular at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Cirque du Soleil. In 2011, she published her first book Unmarked Sites, which was selected by Photo-eye and the Indie Photobook Library as one of the top 10 photo books of the year. She has participated in several residency programs including the Leighton Artist’s Colony at The Banff Centre in Alberta, and as a Brucebo scholarship recipient in Gotland, Sweden. Jessica is a co-founder of Galerie Les Territoires in Montréal and teaches photography at Concordia University. She is represented by Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Ottawa.


Artist Statement


From the beaten track to the frontier, Jessica Auer explores places where history and mythology are woven into the landscape, and where contemporary landscape issues emerge. Through the mediums of photography and video, her aim is to incite the viewer to engage with place using their imagination, as well as look at the practice of sightseeing from a critical perspective. Since 2004, her fascination with tourism led her to photograph popular destinations, showing how landscape has been preserved, altered or commodified for sightseeing. This on-going research invites the viewer to consider the historical and cultural significance of these places as well question the tourist’s responsibility in observing these sites. Bearing in mind that the tourist industry moderates our understanding of place, the artist seeks to provoke reflection on personal experience, cultural authenticity and the collective memory of specific sites. While frequently engaging in expedition-like journeys, she also creates narrative-based projects that travel through time and space. While looking to the land for signs of the past, her work examines the relationship between landscape and regional identity; the resulting images reveal the intricacies that relate exploration, settlement, preservation and modern tourism.