Ian Wal­lace: Works 1970–1979

18 September–24 Octo­ber 2009

Ian Wallace

Catri­ona Jef­fries is pleased to announce the forth­com­ing exhi­bi­tion, Ian Wal­lace: Works 1970–1979. Fol­low­ing the gallery’s 2007 Ian Wal­lace exhi­bi­tion which focused on early mono­chrome works and their lin­eage within Wallace’s prac­tice, this his­tor­i­cal exhi­bi­tion presents impor­tant pho­to­graphic mon­tages, staged tableaux pho­tographs and early video works, many of which have not been exhib­ited since the 1970s. This body of work makes up the basis of the later syn­the­sis of ideas in Wallace’s con­cep­tual prac­tice and offers insight into the evo­lu­tion of his prac­tice over the past four decades. As well, the work reveals the for­ma­tion of con­cep­tual think­ing that has highly influ­enced and deeply informed pho­to­graphic strate­gies in art both locally and internationally.

Dur­ing the 1970s Ian Wal­lace exper­i­mented with the devel­op­ment of sequen­tial, often large-scale pho­to­graphic work that would syn­the­size ten­den­cies of late Mod­ernist avant-garde art of the 1960s such as con­cep­tual art, per­for­mance art, cin­ema and paint­ing, par­tic­u­larly as it was doc­u­mented through video. Fol­low­ing his early research into the his­tory of the pic­to­r­ial image and his inter­est in push­ing the tech­ni­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal lim­its of pho­tog­ra­phy, Wallace’s use of ser­ial imagery and mural-sized photo-enlargements, influ­enced by cin­ema and abstract min­i­mal sculp­ture, present a com­po­si­tional logic that empha­sizes syn­tax and rhetor­i­cal or dra­matur­gic devices.

In this pull between tra­di­tion and inno­va­tion, Wal­lace has always empha­sized exper­i­men­ta­tion while main­tain­ing a con­sis­tent com­mit­ment to tra­di­tional pic­to­r­ial sub­jects and at the same time a crit­i­cal exam­i­na­tion of rep­re­sen­ta­tion – ideas that are key to the pho­to­con­cep­tual strate­gies which have made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Vancouver’s art his­tory. Alle­gory and sig­ni­fi­ca­tion are embed­ded within Wallace’s con­sid­er­a­tion of notions of land­scape, per­for­mance, nar­ra­tive, for­mal­ism and the idea of “work”. Referred to as a ‘poet of images’, in the 1970s Wal­lace laid the ground­work for an endur­ing prac­tice that has enabled a range of media and has con­sis­tently engaged an intel­lec­tual rigour that incor­po­rates lit­er­ary and visual ref­er­ence and a play between the two.

The gath­er­ing of work in this exhi­bi­tion focuses on the main projects of the 1970s and slightly beyond, begin­ning with Panam Scan (1970) through to Poverty (1980), includ­ing orig­i­nal pre­cur­sor works to major works such as The Sum­mer Script (1973–1974), An Attack on Lit­er­a­ture (1975), Image/Text (1979), and Look­out (1979). The exhi­bi­tion also includes an instal­la­tion of large-scale works that have not been shown in nearly three decades, includ­ing The Hyp­nero­tomachia Series (1977), L’Après-Midi (1977–1979), The Call­ing (1977) and The Stu­dio (1977) as well as early video projects related to this work.

Through these works, Wal­lace pio­neers early inves­ti­ga­tions of the mov­ing and still image and addresses key con­cerns of For­mal­ism and Sym­bol­ism. This exhi­bi­tion marks a sig­nif­i­cant period in Ian Wallace’s prac­tice and within the fun­da­men­tal ideas for­mu­lated in art dur­ing the 1970s.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion or press enquires please con­tact Catri­ona Jef­fries or Anne Low at +1 604 736 1554.