Bringing to Order: Form and Expression in Canadian Photographic Practice

25 Jan 2002 - 07 Apr 2002

At various points throughout the 20th century, there were many artists who believed that the photograph could be a purely visual object. From the late 1960s into the 1970s, one important period for this type of inquiry, photographers created works within the framework of what has been termed high art Modernism. This idea of art allowed photographers to explore how the camera frames, and thus orders, reality. The photograph could represent a lyrical or poetic interpretation of existence. It could also be used to pursue more philosophical inquiries into the nature of vision. Through modernism, a complex visual vocabulary was created, one that continues to have currency among artists, but for two diametrically opposed reasons. There are many who still find modernist ideas a source of inspiration. There are others, however, who create highly crafted works that allude to grand themes but who have little faith in the photograph's ability to express higher metaphysical or philosophical issues. This exhibition will draw on works from the early 1970s until the present in order to explore these ideas and the rich visual legacy they have produced in Canadian photographic practice.