Exhibit offers unique look at photographs

Art: Leighton Art Centre showcasing two photographers as part of Exposure 2014

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 08:38 am

Photographer Kristine Thoreson’s composite image of a canyon, taken at three moments in time, is among those displayed at the Leighton Art Centre.
Photographer Kristine Thoreson’s composite image of a canyon, taken at three moments in time, is among those displayed at the Leighton Art Centre.
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Art viewers can’t help but look at the bigger picture when taking in the latest exhibit at a foothills gallery.

The Leighton Art Centre is showcasing The Big Picture, an array of breathtaking photographs featuring picturesque landscapes across Canada from two very unique perspectives.

Calgarian Kristine Thoreson uses large-scale composite images to explore the glacial landscape of the Rockies in her exhibit Viewpoint, while Lorraine Field, of Nova Scotia, explores migration in photographs of rock formations with projected ceramic details in her exhibit Illuminated Petragraphs.

The Big Picture is part of the Exposure 2014: Calgary Banff Canmore Photography Festival, a diverse exhibit of photographics available for viewing at various venues in Calgary and surrounding communities throughout the month of February.

This is the first year the Leighton Art Centre participated in the festival, according to curator Stephanie Doll.

“It’s brought quite a lot of people out to the centre,” she said, adding the exhibit opened in mid-January. “It’s been really good to have that exposure and it’s brought a real whack of photographers that have never been here before. I had people from out east and the states here.”

Doll said the centre’s staff felt combining the works of Thoreson and Field for the exhibit would have viewers looking at photography through a different lens.

Illuminated Petrographs takes captivating photographs of boulders and erratics jutting out of the ground in various landscapes across Canada and imprints photographs of ceramic art of varying cultures in an exhibit that speaks to the migrant traditions of the area.

“Lorraine Field projected designs onto rocks, which is labour intensive and speaks to her commitment to her art,” Doll said. “People are shocked that it’s not digital. It’s the story Lorraine tells with her photographs that people can really relate to and enjoy.”

Field said much of what is known about the migration of people to Canada thousands of years ago is often identified only through the archaeological recovery of ceramic figures.

Having these images displayed on large boulders and erratics that moved south to adorn Canada’s landscapes during the ice age symbolizes the boulders’ own migration to Canada, Field said.

“They are not original with the landscape,” she said. “They are immigrants in their own way.”

Field captured a variety of ceramic patterns representing various cultures by looking in textbooks and reaching out to friends and relatives.

In a few cases, Field was able to photograph the real thing. For instance, she photographed a plate from the Queen’s china at the Government House in Halifax and ceramics displayed at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.

Although their projects tell different stories, Thoreson and Field both used nature to share their messages through their exhibits.

Field’s photographs capture landscapes across the country while most of Thoreson’s pictures were taken at and around the Columbia Icefield, south of Jasper in the Rocky Mountains.

Thoreson’s interest in cold landscapes, the Canadian north and fragile places being lost due to environmental change made the ice field a perfect subject for her exhibit Viewpoint.

Through her display, Thoreson challenges viewers to think of photography differently. Rather than looking at it as the truth, she wants them to consider it from the perspective of the photographer controlling the image by selecting a certain moment and location to take the photograph.

“People tend to think of a photograph as a window,” she said. “Really, it’s only one representations of that space in time by one person. There are dozens and millions of representations that could have been possible. It represents a record of how you are experiencing the place through the camera.”

In a composite image of a canyon, Thoreson took pictures of two moments through her lens and put them together to create one photograph.

“When I came home I put the two of them together and it really reflected where I was with my camera,” she said. “You can see the perspectives don’t match up.”

Viewpoint also showcases a series of single photographs split and placed on two or three panels.

Thoreson has been behind the lens of a camera, capturing landscapes from various parts of Alberta since she was 12 years old.

“I loved the way a camera could capture light and the way light looked on certain surfaces at certain times of the day,” she said. “It’s the experience of being outdoors and trying to discover something about that experience through photographing it that I’ve always been drawn to.”

Thoreson is completing a PhD in art and visual culture at the University of Calgary and this July will embark on an arctic expedition to begin another photography project featuring glaciers.

The artwork of Field and Thoreson will be available for viewing at the Leighton Art Centre until Feb. 22.


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