In this new work, Lise Beaudry contemplates the act of standing on the vast, remote, temporary and mysterious landscape of a frozen lake. Whitescape is a series of photographs of these white surfaces that are in constant flux. Adapting a minimalist approach and using the tools of photography, Beaudry produces images of almost nothing. Shot at a close distance to the surface of frozen and thawing lakes, she focuses on the temporal quality of the snow or ice formation and texture. She carefully considers the angle of view, aperture, exposure, and printing process to result in images that can be pushed to the limitation of a photograph. These new images are almost non-referential, leaving the viewer with a sense of vacancy and vastness.
Beaudry is intrigued with the snow and ice formation in a similar way that John Cage was interested in Rauschenberg’s white paintings as ‘airports of the lights’. In both cases the smallest variations in light and atmosphere are registered onto the white surface. Beaudry appreciates how Cage perceived blankness in a surface as silence that is always interrupted by its ambient conditions and therefore never truly exists. As a photographer, she is also interested in producing images of the white surface of frozen ice and snow because it is demanding as an act of seeing and perceiving. The shift from her focus on the ice huts, in her previous work, to the white landscape is fueled by the alluring experience of being on the ice of a frozen lake.
In this work, Beaudry moves away from representational depiction of structures that are typical of her experience of the North to convey a reality that is ephemeral. In doing so, the apparent concreteness of the photographic referent is replaced by a slippery, introspective reflexivity.