Like the Concrete Poet who tries to make words look like other things, Tegan Moore has set out in No Light Stands Alone to package light itself. As ambitious as this may seem, her discrete sculptural experiments appear to trap light somewhat less vigorously than the average atom or solar panel, bringing to mind a quasi-scientific approach more akin to wishful thinking than physics. Made from found and manufactured materials, Moore’s forms are contrived and geometric—clunky yet exquisite—offering us a palpable sense of her continuing research, even as the hidden glory of things is miraculously exposed.
Different from detournement, where objects are reused or appropriated to undermine an original message or purpose, Moore’s pairings of light and object instead elicit an inborn sense of camaraderie between constituent parts. Dramatic oppositions like real and unreal, the authentic and the fabricated, may be implicit, but here seem played down to favor a more earnest, meticulously-crafted, take on our basic, indexical relationship to nature and natural phenomena. In this sense, Moore’s sculptures perform the noble duty of poetics first and critique second, for if plastic and foam can approximate sunlight through the trees, or a cooler stand-in for a glacier, then surely one’s disbelief has already been suspended enough to ignore a latent critique of consumer goods (if one does indeed exist). One is reminded instead of an electrician, with voltmeter in one hand and a copy of Thoreau’s Walden in the other, dutifully testing sockets to bring about a revolution.
Tegan Moore will be entering her fourth year at Emily Carr Institute this fall. Her current body of work was inspired in part by a recent trip to Iceland where she experienced first-hand the effects of a different kind of sunlight on vast, clear lakes.