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Nicole Kelly Westman | for every sunset we haven’t seen

  • Dunlop Art Gallery, Sherwood Gallery, Regina Public Library 6121 Rochdale Boulevard Regina, SK, S4X 2R1 Canada (map)
Nicole Kelly Westman,  for every sunset we haven’t seen,  2019, Photo credit: Don Hall

Nicole Kelly Westman, for every sunset we haven’t seen, 2019, Photo credit: Don Hall

For every sunset we haven’t seen

by Areum Kim

We want a potential that is wide and ebullient, luminous and spacious, quivering with the hues of a waning day. We like the kind assurance of the exiting sun, a finale to another day lived, ushering in the sweetness of night that falls like a blanket. We’d like a promise of perfect sunsets. Words are infinitely craftable, so let's keep our words close to us. We watch the silk curtains as they billow to each anxious solar breath. As the tonal prosody of synthetic sunset hues washes over our visions, our promises are staged anew.

Oh what novelty it is to pick up the thin, colourful film with the index finger and thumb, place it gently over the cornea. Permutations of crafted reality sets stage for the sunset of romance, of friendship, of looking, of apocalypse, of fiery ash-curtains, of spectacle, of moss-beds with imprints of our bodies, of iridescent bed of rock flooded with sulfuric wetness. Imitation of the sunset is a well-versed practice, an immediate desire for filmmakers, nothing to be leery about. We are our own masters in the craft of fiction.

The plot thickens into a gelatinously still air, in anticipation of an event. It's the Platonic notion that colour is "a 'visual fire' [that] burns between our eyes and that which they behold."[1] The curtain, the thin film over the cornea of the camera, the visual fire, sets fire the afterimage of a red disk and its spectrums in us.

The curtain is powerful. It makes here and there, "these unfortunate adverbs with unsupervised powers."[2] Curtains rein in the bigger misfortune of anywhere into slightly more discernible adverbs. At least we can begin the act of placemaking. Shadows are a signal to the vast depth of there, the ontological promise that lies beyond here, the there which finds its form in haunting and spills into here. Over there is an abundance of foliage that hint themselves against the silken background of drawn drapes, waving their limbs. There is a place. It is a place that is a stage for the tryouts of multiple sunsets, red, redder, orange, oranger, yellow, yellower. Here is the set of eyes. Here is where dappled lights rush in and I bask in their caress. Here and there do not exist in dichotomy, they are a spheric whole. Are we listening to the crackling of flame-engulfed firs bursting into sunset-embers? Or to the mellifluous melody of the soothing, futile raindrops striking the bone-dry forest floor? We melt into the maze of a tranquil-here and a fiery-there. In here awaits the occurrence, something that will happen, awaits you, you on the other side who lifts the drapes slightly who spills into here, but only, colour happens—a visual fire. We wait for a place of many sunsets to be borne of us, for us.

Writer Biography

Areum Kim is a wrtier and curator based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary), Treaty 7 Territory, Alberta. Kim is currently the Gallery Director of Stride Gallery. Kim is currently working on a publication project regarding Asian food diasporic immigrant communities in collaboration with artist Teresa Tam.


1 Maggie Nelson, Bluets, Boston: Beacon Books Press, 1994.
2 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, Seattle: Wave Books, 2009.

Installation Images

Photo credit: Don Hall



Director/Curator Jennifer Matotek interviews artist Nicole Kelly Westman about her exhibition for every sunset we haven't seen which ran from March 9 to April 24, 2019 at Sherwood Gallery.

Nicole Kelly Westman is a Calgary-based artist of Métis and Icelandic descent. She uses a variety of media to develop real and imagined narratives to explain what the photographic medium can, and cannot do and describe. Manipulating the effects of light and embracing the physical qualities of materials she uses, Westman inventively explores the landscape genre and the supernatural, frequently working in collaboration with other artists.

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