Edward Poitras, 1885 (Installation view). In Reed, Joyce Whitebear. The Post-Colonial Landscape : A Billboard Exhibition. Saskatoon, Sask.: Mendel Art Gallery, 1993.

Inside/Outside : Images of the LAND in Artexte’s Collection

Curator : Karla McManus

Wednesday, February 6 to Saturday, April 13, 2019

Opening reception: Wednesday, February 6 from 6 PM to 8 PM

 

Following her research residency at Artexte in 2017, during which she studied the ways in which photographers in Canada have responded to the growing awareness of environmental crisis, Karla McManus will present the curatorial project Inside/Outside: Images of the LAND in Artexte’s Collection. Drawn from the many publications dealing with LAND in the collection, this exhibition will place in dialogue the practices of Indigenous, settler, and migrant artists whose work responds to the human-altered landscape as both subject and representational form. Highlighting the vast practice of critical land-based image-making in Canada, the exhibition aims to challenge the traditional framework of landscape photography to incorporate notions of belonging, identity-formation, and place-making through the interaction and intervention with land.

Long before the concept of the Anthropocene became a concern, artists in Canada were grappling with the country’s colonial and environmental history, using photography to respond to and express their social, emotional, or political perceptions of land. These traditions and visions, by confronting and feeding upon each other, have developed according to particular perspectives on land: an internal perspective, which seeks to bring forth experiential and subjective readings, as well as an external position of photographer as outsider, recording transformations as neutral or critical observer. In between, (inside/outside) lies work which explores the absences in the land, that takes the form of land reclamation, and aims to activate places within their histories of human and animal belonging. Through the exhibition, McManus proposes to situate the viewer within the social, cultural, and political land of Canada in 2018 by asking the question: are you inside or out?

 

 

Karla McManus is an art historian who specializes in the study of photography and the environmental imaginary. Her writing and research consider how historic and contemporary concerns about the environment—from wildlife conservation, to environmental contamination, to anxiety about the future—are visualized photographically.