Jeffrey Douglas has had a range of occupations from dishwasher, factory worker, tobacco primer and grocery store bag boy to high school English teacher, editor and college professor (the latter of which is his current scheme to pay the bills). Apart from writing and exhibiting photographs of garbage, he constructs crude animated shorts, some of which have been screened at the Ottawa International Animation Festival and at venues in association with the Canadian Film Centre. He has published poetry, artwork and essays with several Canadian magazines (Qwerty, filling Station, The Torontoist, English Studies in Canada) and has exhibited photography and films across Canada. Jeffrey’s photographs complement his Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Refuse to Relic: Neopastoral Artifacts and the Phenomenology of Environment,” currently housed at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Jeffrey’s photography examines how the domestic surpluses of commodity culture have been altering our perception of natural, pastoral, and wilderness spaces and how the waste generated through our modern cult of disposability takes on aesthetic qualities when perceived in natural settings. Many of the assemblages he encounters—a refrigerator plunked in front of a decaying barn, a soda can at the foot of a deteriorating piano, a Toronto streetcar taking on new life as a rural lawn ornament, or an Old Spice cologne bottle adorned with spider webs on the window sill of an abandoned farmhouse—tease out the idea that (neo)pastoral space, and our present conceptions of the picturesque, must accommodate the disposability of consumer culture (i.e., garbage) as a modern aesthetic category.
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