Land Matters series
Artists: Allyson Clay, Patricia Deadman, and M.N. Hutchinson
Curator: Josephine Mills
reception: Nov. 7, 4 – 6 pm
Ground is the final component in the Land Matters series. With this trio of exhibitions, my goal was to present some of the diverse approaches to the rich area of contemporary representation of landscape. The series began last summer with Location, which presented work from the 1980s and 1990s drawn from the University of Lethbridge Art Collection. This was a key period for the development of critical landscape practices in Canada during which artists developed attention to landscape as a means of addressing the connection between space and socially produced identity.
The three artists in Ground – Allyson Clay, Patricia Deadman and M.N. Hutchinson – all work from a foundation of in-depth research and then produce stunningly beautiful final photographs. Deadman starts with images of landscapes that are laden with historical and social meaning, formal gardens in Paris and the ‘wilderness’ in Banff National Park, and then works that imagery into patterns from aboriginal sources, such as wampum belts, pottery and blanket designs. Hutchinson explores landscapes that relate to his family history. Using classically composed images of urban and rural scenes in Norway, Sweden and Southern Alberta taken with his panoramic camera, Hutchinson works the scenes into playful, compelling final works. Recently Clay has been using the imagery of books out of place, such as underwater or sailing through the air, to explore the relationship between the ethereal and the material. This series builds on her earlier work addressing concepts of self and space, some of which were included in Location. By bringing new work by these three artists together, I hope that the result is an exhibition that is a pleasure to view but which also inspires engagement with the complexity of the ideas involved in these works.