Between You and the Thing Itself

June 29 – August 4, 2007,
open: Thursday June 28, 8pm

With works by Robert Arndt, Raymond Boisjoly, Matthew Booth, Heidi Johansen, Kyla Mallett, and Jeremy Todd, curated by Dan Starling.

“Between You and the Thing Itself” presents the work of six artists from Vancouver working with photography. This exhibition was organized in a spontaneous manner and was largely influenced by the selected artists’ works as well as my own interest in photography. In this way the show came together organically without a heavy-handed curatorial premise. The artists in the exhibition do not have any easy categorization and work within a variety of contexts.

Perhaps a common thread that runs throughout this selection is an interest in how photography acts as the mediator between you (the viewer) and the thing (the object).  While all of the artists investigate the nature of photography’s re-framing and its ability to divulge something about the idea of originality and the subject it is depicting, each explores this distancing mechanism inherent in the medium through different means. For example, Kyla Mallet’s Kids on the Brink, is an image of a scanned book cover that shows how the serious matter of teen suicide is packaged by the medical industry for an anxious public. Formal interventions can also produce comic effects, as in Matthew Booth’s printed stills depicting images of stunned viewers witnessing David Blaine’s street magic.

With this exhibition, I selected artists who are not typically grouped together in order to move away from the idea of creating a cohesive group of artists working in a parallel fashion.  Rather, I hope that this functions to provide a cross-section of the methods available to photography as a re-framing device. I am interested in the mediation that photography creates because it opens up an imaginative space of speculation—a contemplative space of re-configuring or re-imaging cultural formations.

  • Robert Arndt examines the means of accessing culture and history through the mediated forms of books, magazines and the internet.  His recent work has involved elements of performance, photography and film, and is informed by historical west coast conceptualism and the visual language and authority of cinema. He has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the U.S., and abroad.
  • Raymond Boisjoly is an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia. His research is concerned with the transformative dynamics of cross-cultural contact as a form of artistic production. An upcoming work negotiates the visual intersection of two cultures, First Nations & Heavy Metal.
  • Matthew Booth graduated from Emily Carr Institute in 2006. He is a co-editor of Pyramid Power magazine.
  • Heidi Johansen has exhibited her work at Blanket Gallery (Vancouver) and at Irvine Contemporary, Irvine, CA. She graduated from Emily Carr in 2005 and currently lives in Norway.
  • Kyla Mallett is an artist based in Vancouver. Since completing an MFA at the University of British Columbia in 2004, her work has been included in exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery; ThreeWalls, Chicago; the Vancouver Public Library, and Artspeak.
  • Jeremy Todd is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, musician and educator currently working as an interim Director/Curator for the Richmond Art Gallery. In March of this year he completed the feature length digital film “Dear Guy”, a reflection on current understandings and acculturations of Guy Debord’s life and works, and is now developing “Easter Everywhere”, a film project combining dystopic science fiction, pop documentary and epistolary narrative structures.