“I never enter into any photographic project with preconceived notions of what I am going to get. Surprise is what makes it interesting.”
For over ten years, Guelph, Ontario based artist Susan Dobson has taken the urban landscape as her subject.
Dobson’s interest in photography started at the age of 10 when she took her first photograph. She recalls being captivated by the final image and how the camera mediated the depicted subject. The earliest part of her childhood was spent in suburban New Brunswick. Her family would eventually move to Germany following her father’s career change from land developer to Opera singer. Dobson returned to Canada in the summer months, spending time in Nova Scotia with her Grandfather.
Dobson graduated from Ryerson University, Toronto, in 1988 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts, following which she worked as an editorial photographer for private companies and magazines such as Toronto Life, and Saturday Night. She returned to school in the mid-1990’s completing her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph under the mentorship of artist Suzy Lake. Dobson went on to teach at both her alma maters.
In Sleep Country, part of her Retail series, Dobson photographed box stores and digitally greyed out their façades leaving only the outline of the architecture. Dobson depicts these box stores under a cheery blue skies; symbolic of economic optimism. Yet the isolation of the structures, in desolate patches of aging asphalt, imparts a gloomy edge to the works.