BREAKING TRADITION: LANDSCAPE (IM)POSSIBILITIES

January 31, 2019 - April 13, 2019

Curated by Jasmine Hynes in collaboration with Museum and Heritage Studies from the Collection of Nickle Galleries

Opening Reception: Thursday 31 January, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

 

Traditionally, in Canada, when we think of landscape we think of the great north, vast and barren, wild and unspoiled. The paintings of A.Y Jackson, Lawren Harris, and other members of the Group of Seven come to the forefront of my mind, they represent an idealised Canadian landscape. The Group of Seven succeeded in capturing Canada’s unpredictable seasonality.  Their vision was however clouded by wildercentric attitudes, thus, they failed to include inhabitants, signs of modernity, and the relations between human and land.

​How do we capture in a single frame that which surrounds us at all times, that which wholly consumes us? Landscape is difficult to capture for it cannot be seen entirely.  Landscape is “both our subject and thing within which we exist,” it is the setting for life. Land cannot escape the social, political, and economic systems that circulate throughout it, nor can land ignore the people which inhabit it. In this respect, it is impossible to see anything as not landscape. The very definition of landscape must account for everything. Art historian W.J.T. Mitchell contends that “landscape is not a genre of art but a medium,” we humans appropriate landscapes of all sorts (natural, pictorial, symbolic, mythic, imagined, built) as a means to artistic, social, economic, and political ends. As much as we shape landscapes for our own benefit, they too act on and shape us, “as if agents in their own right.” We depend on landscape, both natural and otherwise, for sustenance and survival.

​The photographic works in this exhibition challenge traditional understandings, perceptions, and interpretations of landscape. They capture that which the Group of Seven did not: the systems that operate on the land, showcasing subjective understandings and interpretations of the landscape and all that it encompasses. Here, a new perspective is gained.

Curated by Jasmine Hynes in collaboration with Museum and Heritage Studies from the Collection of Nickle Galleries

Kirk Gittings
Plowed Farms, Alberta
1982
photograph, black and white silver print

John Dean
Untitled (from the project “East End”)
1975-1982
photograph, B & W

 

Phil Bergerson Untitled (Washington, D.C.) 1997 photograph, colour chromogenic, 5/25

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