Clark & Faria"/>
February 10 to March 20, 2011
Clark & Faria
In this exhibition of new works, Stephen Waddell continues to redefine the space between the photograph as document and as art. The works reveal the emergence of new photographic subjects and the transformation of established ones that becomes possible at large-scale. By pushing the limits of photographic production, the artist explores the shifting materials and processes that are both disappearing from and becoming available to the medium. Gesturing to the expressive realm of painting yet rooted in documentary realism, these pictures uncover the details that exist within the confrontation between the worlds of people and things.
The new work Universal Man represents an important juncture that Waddell’s project has entered. With its clear depiction of a man surrounded by dense photographic fragments the picture allegorizes the course of photography’s development in relation to the experience of modernity. The image is a mechanically produced double-exposure that exposes how technical photographic means both tries to register and creates the fragmentary. At the same time its presentation dramatizes a confrontation between the visual limits of the photographic frame and the implied completeness of the depictive art object.
Wrestlers is a prototype of new large-format tableaux pictures, which presents a multi-layered narrative while using differing scales to question viewers’ relationships to photographic pictorial space. Two men in the center of the picture lock bodies in a struggle for dominance while a large crowd observes, all located within the shadow of Berlin’s Altes Museum and its dominating facade. The picture carries forward a classic motif from street-photography while transforming it through the use of such large format tableaux presentation. The image can been seen as representing the struggle of large scale contemporary photography to deal with the medium’s own history, a challenge that Waddell has made visible in his work by mixing these seven photographs together for exhibition – each in their own way depicting a moment and a particular approach to photographic depiction now.
Stephen Waddell (born 1968, Vancouver, Canada) received his M.F.A. from the University of British Columbia in 1994, and has exhibited in galleries and institutions including Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver; Clark and Faria in Toronto; The Vancouver Art Gallery, Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló in Castello, Spain; Kunstforum Baloise in Basel, Switzerland and C/O in Berlin. Waddell’s works are today part of the Armand Hammer Collection in Los Angeles, as well as the permanent collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery and The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. A book of Waddell’s work, Hunt and Gather, is forthcoming from Steidl Publishing in Germany. The artist lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.
Excerpted from gallery website.
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