November 21, 2020 to January 16, 2021
This exhibition brings together two unique photographic works from the Kamloops Art Gallery’s collection. Both works explore the viewer’s perception through abstraction by playing with scale to distort meaning and to question the subject. Each artist has specified an unconventional installation of their photographs to encourage the viewer to engage with the work in relation to the confines of gallery space.
Klapstock’s Ambiguous Landscapes (2003–) is a photographic and video series of human-made and natural landscapes that are spatially ambiguous in scale due to the size of the image and the framing of the subject matter. The series was first exhibited at the Kamloops Art Gallery in 2006 as a touring solo exhibition, Lisa Klapstock: Liminal coordinated by the Kamloops Art Gallery, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery. This work, entitled Kamloops (2004), is captured in two parts. The first image is dislocated and abstracted from any frame of reference or scale while the second image reveals scale through the presence of a person. The two images are installed on opposite walls as a way of reinforcing the difference in how the landscape is represented and to create an uncanny viewer experience. The photographs capture a snapshot of a place and time in space that has been framed by the artist in a way that allows for only a limited perspective. Shown in the context of Kamloops, Klapstock’s representation of the grasslands in this region evokes a sense of familiarity, reflecting the geography outside the Gallery, while offering a shift in how we see this familiar landscape.
While Klapstock distorts our perception of our surroundings, Mark Soo looks inward, distorting the actual film captured. In his work Indeterminate Parts (2009), Soo has enlarged a portion of a film negative showing an automotive garage. The negative is enlarged allowing particles of film grain to be revealed and distorting the image when viewed closely. The scattered tools and car parts warrant closer inspection but only by backing away does the image reveal that things are not as they seem. Soo is interested in exploring the picture plane and the flatness of photography while playing with the viewer’s changing perception of the image. In this work he interrogates the spatial relationship of the viewer to the work and how meaning changes depending on the physical viewpoint.
Together, Klapstock and Soo offer new ways of looking through their approach to representation and provoking questions about what we think we see. They are interested in the mechanism of image as captured through analogue photography. Klapstock’s landscapes question what it is we are looking at absent of context and how our views change once that context is provided. Soo’s images reverse the relationship of viewer to image. Rather than images becoming clearer as the viewer draws near, the viewer is forced to recede in order to bring things into focus.
Lisa Klapstock is a Kamloops-born, Canadian artist working in photography and video. She has exhibited her photography in North America and Europe including The Center for Photography, New York; Gallery TPW, Toronto; Presentation House, Vancouver and La Musee de al Photographie, Belgium.
Mark Soo is a Canadian artist based in Berlin and Vancouver. He graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in 2001. Past exhibitions include presentations at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC, Vancouver; Vancouver Art Gallery; Western Bridge, Seattle; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp; Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; and the Biennale für Aktuelle Fotografie, Heidelberg. He works in a variety of media including photography, sound, and video, which he uses to investigate notions of perception, modes of representation, and considerations of social space. His work draws on diverse sources ranging from art history to popular and social histories.
Curated by Craig Willms, Assistant Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery
View images of the exhibition here.
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