News Archive
For Immediate Release: November 25, 2011

Janice Gurney
Outside Our Doors
New Work
Project Room and Hallway

November 26 – December 17
Opening Reception:
Saturday November 26, Artist present 2-5pm


One Meditation (detail), 2006-2011, hand-made books, 13.5 x 13.5 x 9.75

“Things stand outside our doors, themselves by themselves, neither knowing nor reporting anything about themselves.”
-- The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Book 9.15

We are pleased to announce a new solo exhibition of Janice Gurney, Outside Our Doors. The exhibition includes new mixed media work in the Project Room and a sound and text installation using the WTG Hallway Sound Program wall, just outside our doors.

Gurney says of the new work; “I am fascinated by how the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome from 161 - 180, continue to resonate over time. They have been preserved in many different translations, becoming a record of both permanence and change

Every work in the exhibition takes the above meditation and translates it through different media, with nineteen people and in fifteen languages. The various media in this project mirror the content of the Marcus Aurelius meditation in that each one, in some way connected to the medium itself, blocks our direct communication with the things of the world. Outside Our Doors includes hand-made books, a custom-built book stand, an iPad, an audio CD, a video, and digital photographic prints. In 2006 I worked with Kate Murdoch to make twelve hand-made books. The gold lettering that is embossed on their spines spells out the words of the meditation. Each hand-made book consists of only one or two words, made up of sun photographs of the pages of my old telephone/address book. Each page has one letter at the top. These pages are added together to spell a word. The interior pages of the books cannot be accessed in the conventional way that books are read. Because the books are covered by a plexiglas box, they can only be read by scrolling through the pages of each book on the iPad placed on the wall beside the book table.

In 2009 and 2010, I recorded eighteen people as they stood outside their doors speaking the same meditation. Each person read their own translation of the English translation by A.S.L. Farquharson in another language, one that is either their first language or a second, learned language. This audio work is heard in the hallway outside the gallery. The English translation of the meditation and a list of the names of all the translators and the language of their translations is located on the wall in the hallway beside the speakers. Inside the gallery are two framed photographs of the spaces where the audio work was heard in 2010 outside the doors of the Art Gallery of York University and in the hallway outside the ArtLab in the Visual Arts building at the University of Western Ontario. On the video monitor in the gallery, Miriam Jordan uses sign language to sign the same Marcus Aurelius meditation that others have spoken for the audio work. The translations we hear from all the voices on the CD are translated into the silence of translation done visually as a video. The sounds made by the things outside Miriam’s doors are available to us only through head phones. “