Temporary Architectures

October 16, 2008

By Mike Landry
Susan Dobson captures the glory of downtown Guelph's Sears.

Susan Dobson captures the glory of downtown Guelph's Sears.

Photographer Susan Dobson used to live in the suburbs. She was a commuter and lived by her car. Now, living in downtown Guelph, she’s come to reject that way of life.

As a result, much of her work has dealt with the suburban landscape and environments. Her latest series of photographic works take box stores as its subject, with Dobson digitally blackening the buildings to create a dark box. In particular, it was the Sears building in downtown Guelph that drew her to the project.

“It’s just a box, a very long elongated strip. And it almost becomes a barrier between sky and parking lot,” says Dobson. “I found that was an example of the most banal architecture I had ever seen.”

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Empty

October 16, 2008

By Mike Landry
Jamie Campbell's "Tiger Girl."

Jamie Campbell's "Tiger Girl."

Joined under the banner of the exhibition Empty at Montreal’s Galerie Push, Kotama Bouabane and Jamie Campbell present two takes on the theme in their hip photographic work.

For his half of the show Boubane presents selections from two series of work. In Chalkboards, Boubane documents chalkboards at the Ontario College of Art and Design over the span of a week. He found it spoke to the outmoded nature of photographic technology, in that everyday newer cameras effectively erase older ones. He also liked how language could be transferred to text and then erased.

“Photography in general is the idea of capturing something, but it’s just an image on a two dimensional surface you can never really capture it wholly,” says Bouabane.

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The Task at Hand

October 9, 2008

By Mike Landry
One of Matthew Robertson's scaffolding inspired drawings.

One of Matthew Robertson's scaffolding inspired drawings.

When I was 15-years-old my uncle Noel hired me to help him with some roofing one cool winter’s day. Although the rough and heavy shingles were nightmare inducing, there was nothing I hated more than having to unload, build, move and take down the scaffolding. To this day whenever I look at scaffolding I scowl and shiver.

But when Vancouver-based artist Matthew Robertson looks at scaffolding he sees art. Using pieces of wood reclaimed from construction sites, Robertson has built his own scaffolding inside Vancouver’s Jeffrey Boone Gallery. His exhibition, The Task at Hand, will also feature drawings and large format photographs dealing with scaffolding.

“I like that they’re these large publicly visible structures that are esthetically unconsidered when it comes to designing, and are nice impermanent structures,” says Robertson. “I’ve been studying them, in my own way, trying to decipher why these seemingly bizarre structures to me why and how they function.”

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Jennifer Zimmer's self-portrait.

A self-portrait, part of Jennifer Zimmer's portrait series.

Throughout grade school I don’t think I had a single usable portrait taken of me. Year after year I would come home with a selection of photos that went from bad to worse. It was all thanks to what my mom called my fake smile—a goofy expression that only occurred when I was placed in front of a camera. If only Halifax photographer Jennifer Zimmer was my class photographer.

Zimmer’s latest series of 18 hand-made photographs play with the ideas of portraiture. She had her subjects lay down in the fetal position and use a shutter release cable to take a photo when they felt most comfortable.

“It’s kind of a sense of individuality, isolation and a bit of vulnerability in each one,” says Zimmer. “The point I wanted to make was in a limited environment, even though constraints are put on us, our individual bodies still seek expression.”

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