The relationship between an artist and their environment can be a crucial piece for the development of their practice. For some, a location and its discernible features become elements to document or represent within a body of work. For others, it is the impression of a specific location and the inherent emotions one feels while in the setting that inspires creativity. For the December Curator’s Selection, we analyze the way in which four artists handle, manipulate and investigate geographical locations and their signifiers to produce art that captures an experience of place.
CHRIS SHEPHERD’S process of exploring Toronto’s urban landscape has led to a long-running fascination with the often passed-over tableaus of metropolitan life. His subjects often include discarded items and unexpectedly framed objects discovered around the city, which have helped shape his perspective of a place that he now calls home.
The changing state of coastal British Columbia’s raw manufacturing industries –down or vacant industrial pulp mills, cooling towers, gas tanks, coal bunkers, and silos – express economic and environmental concerns that ANTHONY REDPATH’S lens expertly captures. The artist's hyper-real, abstract photographs reveal a literal metamorphosis of these once-bustling industries: eroding concrete, rusted corrugated aluminum and paint peeling away from wood siding.
The instantly recognizable architecture and landscape of Southern California obtains the quality of an abstract painting in GEORGE BYRNE’S large-format photographs. Whether manipulated and re-composed or framed to capture shadowing, form and colour, the region is appreciated by artist as much for its iconography as its ability to inspire a unique, minimalist style of photography that is distinct to Byrne.
Lastly, the palpable optimism, peace and beauty of rural Vancouver Island emanates within SHERI BAKES' latest series of landscape paintings. The artist’s application of rich layers of oil paint in various strokes parallel the wide variations in topography within the region and the unsullied, purity of the land.