“My Backyard” expresses my feelings about London, ON, a city I’ve lived in all but four years of my life. Familiarity breeds contempt, and after living here for so many years, the city often feels dull and uninspired to me. This collection of black and white photographs depicts familiar places with a sense of emptiness I frequently feel about London, but in a way that makes them seem more intriguing.
In the darkroom since the age of eight, Rob Nelson is a second generation photographer. His work has appeared in Saturday Night, The Look, Elm Street, Interview, and the business magazines for both National Post and The Globe & Mail. With subjects such as Prince Andrew, Kirsten Dunst, Karen Kain, and Margaret Atwood, Nelson has not only captured memorable names and faces, but he has also helped introduce notable newcomers such as musician Basia Bulat.
In many respects, a backyard is a space for exploration. The Sifton Bog and the local suburbs were a condensed version of the world that I investigated with my sense of childhood wonder: I could navigate the interface between the plants and the animals, the houses and the humans. Photography enables me to do much the same by expanding and documenting that backyard – that space for exploration and inquiry – to the entirety of London. Here, photography acts as a patron searching through the shop-worn bargain racks of a department store; seeking that diamond in the rough. Its existence may have been disarmed by its surroundings, but when that object is viewed in an alternative context – through photographic composition, rather than the naked eye – It has the power to be just as captivating as any other sight
Jeff Heene was born in Hamilton and has a BFA 1999, in Interdisciplinary Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His focus at NSCAD was on Lithography and Photography. Jeff has worked as a web programmer and freelance graphic designer. For the past nine years Jeff has taught Lithography and Photography and is currently the Head of Visual Art at Bealart.
"For me, My Backyard infers all that is close at hand: the objects and people of my everyday.
Dark corners of the dining room hide the wrinkles in the baseboards that frame the window that allows the trickling sound of the pond in my backyard into the house. The unexpected and out of place encounters of objects I observe in my path cause me to consider my own position in space. The light of the day illuminates banal compositions of colourful parking standards against the beige of ubiquitous neighbourhood buildings. These are the elements of an experience; one that weaves together an understanding of myself as well as those around me and defines an infinitely nuanced grammar of interaction."
Though the photograph functions as a means to record these interactions they cannot offer any analysis. This disfunction is an opportunity to highlight how the record of an experience is contextualized by records previously encountered and results in an interpretation that is unique and special. By creating intentionally disorienting visual interactions of photographic images I hope to explore this disfunction, to weave together randomly encountered objects and scenes of someone that is looking to decipher his place in relation to all that is close at hand.
John Huggins has always brought together modern illustrative characters with serene landscapes in his work. A childhood in Timmins Ontario and a love of nature inspires the peaceful lake scenes and the urban influence of his later years in Toronto can be seen in the quirky illustrations.
For this exhibition, John examines the calming solace of the Ontario wilderness, in contrast with the age of information overload in which news headlines bombard us constantly.
John playfully and provocatively references art history, film and pop culture. His comical cartoon frogs lost in the Renaissance, his callout to Peter Paul Rubens in the title #timesupRubens and his Wizard of Oz characters expressing frustration at today’s political and social situation will make you laugh, but also make you think.
Michael and John’s passion for their art and creative comraderie have made for an exciting, energetic show with a lot to say.
John Huggins studied at Sheridan College, gaining formal training and accreditation in interpretive illustration. Michael Everett attended Bealart and Western for Fine Arts.
The exhibition runs from February 13th – February 24th with an opening reception Saturday February 17th and an Artist Talk on Wednesday February 21st at 7 pm.