Kelly Richardson - Legion
Opening Thursday July 10, 7-10pm
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Vancouver of Canadian artist Kelly Richardson. This survey includes a selection of recent major projects and photographic works reflecting what Richardson is best known for; her immersive projection works which create environments prompting questions of our relationship to the natural world.
Richardson’s work touches on the notion of the sublime, that mixture of awe, hope and fear that reveals something uncomfortable about the depth and darkness of human desire. While technically pristine, in part through the process of computer manipulation and invention of form, her work has precedents in sources as seemingly disparate as the romantic landscape paintings of the late eighteenth century or the science-fiction films of the 1970s and 80s. Speaking about her work, she has stated: “I’m interested in that contradiction at this critical time in human history when current predictions for our future are not just unsettling, but terrifying.”
The exhibition at the CAG will showcase the large-scale, multi-screen installation of Leviathan (2011) where viewers are confronted with an all-encompassing projection. Through the image and its reflections across the floor, it infiltrates the space, implicating us as audience as we simultaneously behold and are contained within the image. Asserting itself, with its Biblical title, as suggestive of some kind of apocalyptic flood, the swirling water appears to almost envelop the viewer.
In Orion Tide, (2013) visitors see rocks and foliage littering the ground, convincing us of some form of scrub land. Then an eerie, distant sound warns us of that which follows, the slow eruption of a lit pod from the surface. Trails of flame and smoke lead the eye up through the dark sky and then out of sight, followed by another and another and another. Are they escape pods — final humans abandoning all hope — or are they a death rattle of a dying planet?
Richardson deftly avoids simplistic environmental and sci-fi cliché with a painterly sense of narrative mystery.
Kelly Richardson was born in Burlington, Ontario, Canada and has been living and working in the north east of England since 2003. She has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide including at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Alberta; Artpace, San Antonio; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Caixa Forum, Barcelona; Towner, Eastbourne, UK; Palais de Tokyo, Paris and the Pompidou Centre, Paris. In addition she has participated in various film festivals and biennales including the Sundance Film Festival, New Frontier on Main, Utah; Beijing 798 Biennale, Beijing, China and the Busan Biennale, Korea.
She is represented by Birch Contemporary, Toronto.
The exhibition is developed in collaboration with the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, UK; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK; Towner, Eastbourne, UK and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA. An extensive monograph accompanies the exhibition.
Contemporary Art Gallery
555 Nelson Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6R5
Hours: Tues – Sun: 12 – 6 pm.