The exhibition addresses questions of place, power, and self-formation within the nature. At times in the photograph we are privy to the body of the artist, a sole black woman entering the transformative space of the nocturnal American landscape. In these rural environs of the Northeast, outside her home of New York City, she creates objects and images that inhabit the spatial, temporal, and visual ambiguity of darkness. These figural bodies, not quite human, nor animal, nor inanimate articles, unfold as abstract accounts of a nocturnal shape-shifter who becomes part of the landscape around her.
Inspired by Guyanese author Wilson Harris’s first novel, Palace of the Peacock, Scarville mines literature and philosophy on the “possessed, living landscapes.” She enters the environment with her camera, and, not without hesitation, allows her own relationship to the landscape to unfurl. She is an observer, who captures subtle variations in the night as previously concealed elements appear. In documenting this process of emergence, Scarville establishes a framework through which the geographic complexities of a region — indigenous flora and fauna or artistic interlocutor — could witness its epistemology, history, and narrative. The darkness is transformed from a space of fear into an arena of power and belonging. The darkness enfolds, allowing the separation between body and terrain to disappear, and decentering the human as a defenseless prey. Rather than traffic in black and white or a duotone, Scarville highlights reds and golds, as well as a blue mystical fogginess of night. Thereby allowing for an alchemic relationship between artist, myth, and history to ignite in this new space, where darkness is no longer inert, but becomes active perception.