I believe all media is time-based. I work with entropic materials to craft still lifes that won’t hold still. My installations examine landscape representation, frontier mythologies, and temporal imagination in a moment of global climate precarity. 

I salvage images and objects from popular culture, art history, and the built environment to question what it means to ‘know’ a place. I scavenge materials to connect works with the local built environment, ongoing land use, and networks of globalization. Through theatrically staged installation, I explore the artifice at work in performing encounters with empty landscapes. 

The sublime language of Romantic landscape painting is embedded in contemporary visual culture, leaking into cinema, advertising, and tourism.  This legacy teaches that images of landscape and wilderness should be read temporally, extending the viewer toward a horizon line which projects various infinitives.

(a place to settle; a resource to extract; an edge to push; an emptiness to fill) 

Recent works foreground sugar and ice as ephemeral and troubled materials.  Time-based materials inject a sense of urgency, as if at any moment all solid objects may begin to return to their liquid state.  I want to direct the gaze away from promises of an endless horizon toward a confrontation with the foreground, where we currently stand. Connecting human and geologic time scales, I see the foreground as a crisis point, littered with potential future ruins.


Cecilia McKinnon is an intermedia artist, primarily working in sculpture, installation, and video. She is based in Tio’tia:ke/Montréal, with ties to occupied Chumash and Tewa land (California and New Mexico). She is a member of GRAFT Collective, based in Albuquerque, Philadelphia, and Montréal, who were Fulcrum Fund recipients in 2017 and CiCA Practitioners in Residence at Concordia University in 2020. McKinnon has shared work at Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Fe), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), and Amos Eno Gallery (NYC), with solo shows at Small Engine Gallery and Harwood Art Center (Albuquerque). She is a current MFA candidate in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University in Montréal, and holds a BFA from the University of New Mexico.



mckinnoncecilia [at] gmail.com | @ce.lion