In September 2016, photographer Mark Sommerfeld and textile artist Heather English navigated their way through northern Michigan on an eight-day camping trip. While on the road, particular sensibilities and conflicts surrounding ideas of representation created an impasse in their relationship. We With Images To Give presents a series of photographs, objects, and installations created during, and after, this trip, serving as tangible evidence of the differences that unraveled their relationship.
In this multifaceted exhibition, English’s embroidered scenes are paired with Sommerfeld’s diaristic photographs and sculptures. Simultaneously loving and melancholic, Sommerfeld’s photographs document fleeting moments spent on the road with English, and describe a relationship in the midst of transition. Unknown to Sommerfeld at the time, the impulses that inspired each photograph ranged from adoration to escapism. As the days passed and tensions mounted, Sommerfeld and English began to recognize moments the camera had contributed to unspoken conflict, shedding new, contemplative light on playful images. Together, their works create an intimate window into a mercurial relationship set against the backdrop of remote Michigan and northern Ontario woodland.