AUDAIN ART MUSEUM, Whistler BC – To May 25
by Michael Turner
This exhibition, organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada, features over 80 photographs by artists from Canada and abroad. Most of the works in the NGC collection were acquired since the mid-1960s; they carry with them both a technical history of the camera and evidence of an eye toward social and aesthetic issues, among them photography’s passage from scientific tool to artistic medium.
“Our collection is very comprehensive,” NGC curator Ann Thomas told Whistler’s Pique Newsmagazine, “starting with not just the earliest examples of photography, but also the pre-history of photography.”
Experiments in the prehistory of photography (capturing lightning strikes) can be found in Étienne Léopold Trouvelot’s Direct Photograph of an Electric Positive Spark (1888), where the artist coated a metal plate with a photosensitive material, retreated to the darkroom and applied to that plate a spark-inducing wand. From there Trouvelot etched the plate and printed its image (what is, in effect, a cameraless double exposure). The experiment continues to be played out, most recently in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields (2009), which appears beside Trouvelot’s Direct Photograph.
Also in the exhibition are images by Diane Arbus, Edward Burtynsky, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lynne Cohen, Camille Corot, Stan Douglas, Walker Evans, Anne Fishbein, Isabelle Hayeur, Fred Herzog, Spring Hurlbut, Arnaud Maggs, Man Ray, Yasumasa Morimura, Gary Schneider, Edward Steichen, John Vanderpant, David Wojnarowicz and Zhang Huan.
On April 25, 2 to 4 pm, local photographer Chad Chomlack will lead a panel entitled Movement & the Still Image. Q&A to follow. Check website for updates.