Underground

Announcement_2B

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Feature Exhibition 

May 1st-31st, 2015
Opening Reception & Artist Talk May 2nd, 2-4p.m.
Bau-Xi Photo
324 Dundas Street West, Toronto
contact:

Julie Watt

Nell Crook

416.977.0400

info@bau-xiiphoto.com

www.bau-xiphoto.com

Bau-Xi Photo preview images for the show.

As a continuation of his acclaimed subway series that began with ‘Transitions’ in 2007 and ‘Waiting’ in 2010, Underground is an exciting revival of the subject that introduced Shepherd to the Canadian art scene. Encompassing imagery from his most recent exploration of both the Toronto and Montreal subway systems, the work is unified by the artist’s signature approach to lighting, composition and form.

Submerged from view in both Montreal and Toronto, the subways of each metropolis weave, burrow, anchor and nourish the structures and urban life aboveground. Montreal’s metro is the third busiest network in North America — behind only New York and Mexico. Toronto’s subway is a close second in size to Montreal, moving fewer people but reaching more stations than it’s Francophone sister. Underground is an exploration of both city’s subterranean networks, but rather than capturing the frenetic activity of each system, Shepherd instead turns our attention to the fleeting moments between the perpetual cycle of arrivals and departures; the ignored hallways, staircases, platforms, mezzanines, tunnels and inanimate skeleton of the transit lines. Each image depicts quiet details of the everyday, resonating with a silent beauty that transforms the utilitarian spaces into painterly tableaus of contemplation. Shepherd describes his compositions as ‘”temporal blips in the consistent hustle and bustle of everyday life.” As part of an ongoing study, the images are inherently bound to the archives of each city, serving to document and re-document the chronological life-span of the spaces as they continually adapt to the changing needs of the urban-dweller.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Chris Shepherd began his artistic practice as a painter and studied art history, film and artistic practice at Ryerson, Waterloo and McMaster Universities. After moving to Toronto, he turned to photography as a means to familiarize himself with his new city. It was this process of exploration that piqued Shepherd’s interest in urban landscapes and led to a long-running fascination with the often passed-over or under-appreciated elements of metropolitan life. The serenity and reserve of Shepherd’s photographs often contrast with the locations they are depicting. Shepherd captures fleeting moments in time, whether they be a brief moment of quiet in the perpetual cycle of arrivals and departures in the subway, or the fallow vacancy between tenants in commercial buildings.

Shepherd’s art has been exhibited across North America, and is included in major corporate collections in Canada including Seneca College, TD Bank and Bank of Montreal.

 

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The Danforth

The Danforth was good to me this morning. I’ve always loved this wall and it makes an interesting shot. I think I like almost everything about this picture. I’ll print it 36 x 36 and it will be in the next show. It’s the perfect confluence of weird colours, shapes, and arbitrary line. There’s a Starbucks just a little west of this. The wall is the western most point of a strip of retail just east of The Holy Name Parish church. I imagine the cords coming out of the wall are simply old school electrical, although they look like rope. I’ve seriously looked at this wall for years and found something neat about it. This morning when I try to think of why my mind turns to the sites I’ve been visiting recently to look at contemporary art. I can’t say I’m completely enamoured with them, but I do like the otherworldly randomness that they evoke.

The next two images are interesting but I’m not sure if they’re keepers. There’s a bridal shop on the south side of the Danforth around Chester. These are taken through the windows before it opens. I do like the funny self-portrait which –in the second of the two images below– makes it look like I’m wearing a wedding dress. These are both cropped in a 4:5 ratio in preparation for trying out the new view camera. I like the proportion better than the standard 35mm ratio of 2:3. I also like the dress image because I’ve broken one of my cardinal rules which is not to position myself so I’m looking up or down. Its weird I know but it’s become a habit that’s very hard to break.Finally this chair was nicely placed. It captured the sun at the exact minute I was walking by. Weird stuff happens.

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Reflection

Reflections is an idea that came to me this morning in that limbo between sleep and the day.

The strangest thing about this was the vivid and casual nature of the images. It was as if I was consciously planning it in my sleep and I was aware this was happening. I’m sort of shocked that I remember it. The other strange thing is that when I was relaxing with my coffee at the computer this morning I opened a Tweet link that took me to a project that related to some of my newly realized concept.

Reflections is a studio shoot. The plan is to create a central sculptural piece and shoot it from several different angles. The central form would be an angular construction resembling a flower vase. I would create the piece from chunks of mirrored glass. These would be polygons with different sizes and configurations. I see the final structure as being a drug induced and uncomfortable disco ball where the pieces of the surface are rough and abrupt instead of uniform and organized. In general all the pieces of the sculpture would be apparently haphazard.

This sculpture would be suspended or somehow isolated in the air and small coloured sheets or pieces of material would be positioned so that that each is reflected in one of the facets of the crystallized sculpture. This would create a weird 3 dimensional colour mosaic which I would subsequently shoot.

The colours could be all slightly different shades of one particular colour. Yellow comes to mind first and foremost. White would be good and so would black but there are endless possibilities.

Shoot with a very large aperture and short depth of field with no flash to render the background reflected colours in a visible and more understate light.

Alternate idea is to get a hunk of tree branch chromed and use it and other similar natural substrates as the reflective surface but only use a white background so the shapes can be detected but the effect is the objects would appear “invisible” when photographed. To do this I might have to make a metal cast of a branch then have that cast chromed.

Both concepts seem to be exploring photography and sculpture.

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Reflections

Make these a series of seemingly simple portraits. They could be of Bill, Lorissa, Danny, Dan, Sarah…or better yet professional actors. Take the pics in the G44 studio using the blasted light effect. Ask each actor to imagine a scene and emote to suit. Creat the drama or narrative in their mind and take the picture as they relate. Crying, flinching, laughing, etc.This will provide the underlying layer for reflections. Shoot 2 more layers. 1 is the reflection of the taller lights on the glass of an empty frame. The 2nd would be the narrative scene mentioned that the actors are imagining. In photoshop this layer would be inverted and overplayed with the others to produce the entire composite image. The no 1 layer could be a film.

Create an empty shadow box. Hang it in an empty gallery. Create narrative scenes within the gallery space and film the reflection of the action in the glass of the empty shadowbox frame.

1.Create my next Bau-Xi show the same way I did learning and play back the created narrative movies over top of the regular images.

2.Show the movies in a series of empty shadow boxes

Create a sense of discomfort in the viewer. When the look at the piece the reflection should seem like action actually happening in the present. Create a sense of paranoia.

Formulated when I looked into Simon Rayner’s office and saw the il divo framed award reflecting his office

2nd thoughts.

Variation

Take pictures as if I’m going to simply do another Bau-Xi exhibition. Frame them in shadow boxes like normal but use regular reflective glass. Light the framed pictures in such a way that the room they are in is reflected on the glass. Create tableaus of people, or narrative occurrences in those reflections and reshoot the images or film them now with that “created” reflection in the glass. Print these new pieces with the reflected scene or project the film of these scenes in a framed “screen”.

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