press release

Pictures From Here
May 19–September 4, 2017

The Vancouver Art Gallery is pleased to present Pictures From Here. Featuring photographs and video works from the early 1960s to the present that capture the urban environment of the Greater Vancouver region, its citizens and the vast “natural” landscape of the province, Pictures From Here engages with the histories that shape our different perceptions of this place. A number of the works, including Jeff Wall’s Monologue (2013), Rodney Graham’s Paddler at the Mouth of the Seymour (2012–13), Sandra Semchuk and James Nicholas’ Taking Off Skins (1994) and 26 Street Scan Photographs (1969-1996) by Christos Dikeakos will be on display for the first time in Vancouver. Artists in the exhibition include Roy Arden, Karin Bubaš, Stan Douglas, Christos Dikeakos, Greg Girard, Rodney Graham, Mike Grill, Arni Haraldsson, Fred Herzog, Barrie Jones, Evan Lee, N.E. Thing Co., Marian Penner Bancroft, Henri Robideau, Sandra Semchuk and James Nicholas, Althea Thauberger, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Paul Wong and Corneila Wyngaarden/Andrea Fantona.

Pictures From Here reflects the decisive shift away from the lyrical landscape tradition that dominated art making and collecting in Vancouver well into the 1970s and the emerging, pictorially imaginative lens-based art practices that both articulated an affinity with the avant-garde projects of early modernism and acknowledged the specific place and historical time in which they were working. The term “photo-conceptualism,” which emerged out of this moment, has become closely associated with art making in Vancouver over the past four decades—so much so, that this image-making practice has now become intrinsically linked with the rise of Vancouver as an internationally known centre for the production of contemporary art.

However, while “photo-conceptualism” may be useful in describing approaches to photography that draw upon the critiques of the image mounted by Conceptual Art and post-modernism, it can also efface significant differences in the practices of artists whose work might be associated with the label. While Pictures From Here acknowledges the legacy of the innovative approaches to photography developed in Vancouver, it also emphasizes the diverse range of socially engaged practices and interests that have informed photo-based art in the city over the past four decades.

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery.