Patterson Webster
Perspective   2018
Stainless steel, iron posts, Adirondack chairs
Collection of the artist

Two signs, both bearing the word “Perspective,” stand above the grasses of a farm field, pointing away from a child-sized Adirondack chair towards an oversized chair in the distance.

Letters on the first sign shrink as they spell out the word, exemplifying the concept of “perspective”; on the second sign the letters become larger. The changes in size of the letters echo the doubling effect of the Adirondack chairs. The letters double again, shown first in normal left-to-right order, and then reversed as in a mirror as they move away from the viewer. This upending of size and expectations draws attention to how viewers’ experiences and the vantage points they select shape their perceptions. It calls attention to how we see based on the choices we make, whether deliberately or unthinkingly.

Historically, the artistic structure of foreground, mid-ground and background created a perspective in which everything radiated from the viewer’s eye. Here, the staging of elements confounds this expectation, denying the perspective of the “omniscient eye/I” in favour of viewpoints that shift based on where, when and how we perceive the combined elements. In this way, experiencing this work is like walking the land. Variations from day to day, season to season, year to year, challenge the notion of singular experience.