Safe Inside by Ann Mansolino

In March 2020, during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, I was away from home at an artist residency. I watched and thought and wrote and photographed in an unfamiliar town while the world around me changed beyond recognition, yet the view through the windows remained the same. I tried to find a way to capture that sense of fear and need for safety in those days — fear of something we could not see, expressed through the representation of our relationship with what we could see. It seemed then that the only safe way of interacting with the outside world was through the window. And so I photographed the windows of the artist studio, and the windows of my car. I photographed and wrote, focusing always on that pane of glass that represented safety, the thing that kept us safe from a threat we could see but knew was out there, growing and spreading, more each day. The book thus forms a record both of the feeling of that time when so much was shifting and uncertain, but also of the daily visual experience of closely observing the landscapes around us through glass: landscapes transformed by ice and frost and water on windows, landscapes that are initially visually obscured by ice crystals but that become gradually revealed as the book progresses, as the ice melts, as weather and seasons change, and winter shifts into spring.

Artist Bio

Ann Mansolino is a visual artist and writer whose work explores the relationship between the internal self and external ideas of place through photography, writing, and handmade books. She is interested in the ways in which landscape can help us understand ourselves – as metaphors for our internal experience, as well as expressions of our more literal relationship to nature and the larger world we inhabit. Ann has taught photography at colleges and universities in Canada, the United States, and Singapore, and also lived in Ireland and worked as an English teacher in Russia. Her photographic and book arts work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, Slovenia, England, Northern Ireland, Japan, and Singapore. Ann currently lives in Blairmore, Alberta, Canada.