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Tara Nicholson, Tent Site, Arctic Station, Greenland

Tara Nicholson, Tent Site, Arctic Station, Greenland (2015), limited-edition pigment print

Tara Nicholson: Arctic Claims

Burnaby Art Gallery
Burnaby BC – Jun 2-Jul 2, 2017

Most discussions of contemporary art practice invariably touch on the importance of research. But artists have always conducted research, from experiments in the preparation and application of a pigment to reading up on the secret life of plants. On some occasions, such as Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632), research itself is the subject. A more recent example can be found in the lens-based work of Tara Nicholson.

In 2015, Nicholson travelled to the University of Copenhagen Arctic Station in Western Greenland with the intent of photographing climate change researchers. Two years later, she made a similar trip to Inuvik. The result is a series of pictures that pair the banality of patterned and repetitive fieldwork with a natural environment that is both slow and overwhelming.

In one photo, a marina of small craft vessels shares moorage space with a cluster of similarly-sized ice floes. In another, two dudes huddle beside a sampling grid, their man buns wound tight atop their heads. Most impressive, though, are pictures where that which is brought to the Arctic finds its analogue in the natural landscape: a tent reminiscent of a distant peak, a room with a framed map of Greenland that shines as bright as the light outside its window.

Michael Turner

 Mon, May 29, 2017