January 13 to March 24, 2018
Garnet Dirksen works in photography, opting to shoot with film for its attachment to a
history of documentary photography. He looks at shifts in trade and industry, their effects on local economies and the human element within built environments. Having grown up in Merritt, BC, Dirksen has documented the effects of economic downturn and the closing of resource-based industries and their impact on workers, residents and associated businesses. He seeks out work spaces altered by labourers with their own personalized touch and the emptiness of spaces in the absence of them.
Currently residing in Montreal, QC, Dirksen explores the fur industry in the city after a decline in the 1990s and 2000s. He documents retail spaces, workshops, processing spaces and storage revealing a human element of those involved in the industry today. While it’s true there has been a recent resurgence in the market for fur, increased global competition and cheaper labour abroad have forced many of Montreal’s traditional furriers out of business. Dirksen looks at the changing industry through personal touches of workers within utilitarian spaces. The images show present-day working places and consider how inseparable this industry is from its role in the history of Canada. The images ask the viewer to question the relevance of this industry in contemporary terms and revisit its historical significance.
Curated by Craig Willms, Assistant Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery
View images of the exhibition here.