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Jerry Pethick
'How specialized are our
interpretations of the world?'

September 16–⁠October 29, 2022


The prescient work of Jerry Pethick (b. 1935, London, Ontario; d. 2003, Hornby Island, British Columbia) is the result of a lifelong quest to explore the unique possibilities of our perception and the optical experience. Through a career of enthusiastic, intellectual enquiry into the historical relationships between artistic, scientific, technological, and cultural development—specifically those of the 19th and early 20th century—his works emanate a contagious exuberance, humour, and irreverence. Rejecting suggested hierarchies of material and method to achieve phenomenological effect, Pethick embraced an economy of means to produce his work. His unique, complex language emphasizes the possibilities of visual experience in our everyday lives and his influence is felt through multiple generations of artists on the West Coast and beyond. This exhibition brings together five decades of his practice: from early experiments with plastics in the ‘60s, to his ambitious sculptural proposals of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and finally to his profound formal material resolutions of the early 2000s prior to his death.

Studying at the Chelsea College of Art, and working in London, UK, from 1957–1968, Pethick was guided by his interest in imaging technology. He began to work with plastics and lenticular materials in the mid-1960s and moved to the US to pursue the burgeoning development of holography. In 1971, he established a holography school in San Francisco to explore and test the limits of holographic images, which were at that time only being developed in corporate and military research. The school of holography was the first to offer public workshops, for which Pethick developed and patented the “sand table,” a home-made device that uses a bed of sand to match the elaborate technical demands required to create holograms. In 1975, Pethick moved to Hornby Island, the place where his studio and experimental practice was based for the rest of his life. There, his DIY, egalitarian spirit persisted as he pursued his interest in the nature of perception and its relation to technical innovation, often incorporating found objects in his sculpture. Such objects included: spectrafoil and other reflective materials, silicone, oven doors, window frames, Fresnel lenses, lights, coal, car tires, sulfur, rocks, and more. These objects would be sourced from the island’s local re-use centre and recycling depot, and chosen for their formal, rather than utilitarian qualities.

As Pethick wrote: "It soon became apparent that the sculptural elements formed a kind of material bridge to the illusory elements, which are usually landscape scenes chosen for their stillness and daydream quality." Pethick's "spatial entities," created through innovative approaches to imaging, generate a protracted sense of time. Like daydreams, he characterized his illusory landscapes as alternatives to the reality of actual terrain found in nature—like a "travelogue of environments." For example, in his large-format array works, such as Follow the River (1995), Pethick assembled an assortment of images of the same quotidian landscape, photographed at slightly different angles. In front of the array, a screen of Fresnel lenses arranged precisely over each image creates a single, three-dimensional, virtual image which hovers in space and cannot be reproduced through documentation, only constructed and experienced through vision.

Pethick’s generous, complex body of work offers us an encounter oscillating between the particularities of our vison and the world they reveal. Our attention bounces from the works’ physical presence, to the optical and spatial phenomena they create, to the referential in material, images, and symbols. In this process, the work prompts an experience both shared and subjective, bridging the formal and the personal. This shifting place of encounter, difficult to communicate through photographic images or video, is increasingly relevant—particularly in a contemporary moment where we come to understand so much through a disembodied view of the screen, in a world of increasingly granular focus on articulation of identity and subjectivity. Emphasizing the shared experience of space and vision, in his own words, Pethick asks: “how specialized are our interpretations of the world?”

The gallery welcomes visitors Wednesdays–Saturdays, 12-5

Office hours Tuesday–Friday 9–5

Wheelchair entrance is available

950 East Cordova Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6A 1M6 Canada

+1 604 736 1554
gallery@catrionajeffries.com
instagram/catriona.jeffries

Catriona Jeffries Owner, Director
Peter Gazendam Director
Samara Aster Associate Director, Collections
Asia Jong Administration and Research
Sol Hashemi Visuals and Archive
Garnet Dirksen Head Preparator and Registrar
Wakana Shimamura Preparator
Paul Dhaliwal Finance
Rachel Topham Photography Documentation
Scott Ponik Design

Exhibition History

Jerry Pethick
'How specialized are our interpretations of the world?'
September 16–October 29, 2022

Janice Kerbel
Speech! Fight!
Speech! Fight!
May 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, 2022
Performance at 2pm


Valérie Blass, Laurie Kang, Christina Mackie, Liz Magor
Do Redo Repeat
March 19–May 7, 2022

Brenda Draney, Tanya Lukin Linklater
The best stories I know come from late night car rides or kitchen tables.
January 29–March 5, 2022

Raymond Boisjoly
🕸Some Number of Things🕸
November 6–December 18, 2021

Abbas Akhavan, Geoffrey Farmer, Rochelle Goldberg, Kapwani Kiwanga, Duane Linklater
Unseeable
Sept 18–Oct 23, 2021

Charmian Johnson
May 29–July 3, 2021

Ian Wallace
In the Museum
April 10–May 22, 2021

Damian Moppett
Vignettes
February 13–March 27, 2021

Liz Magor
Downer
December 5, 2020–January 30, 2021

Duane Linklater
primaryuse
October 24–November 21, 2020

Elizabeth McIntosh
Mom or Mother
September 12–October 10, 2020

Valérie Blass
La poudre aux yeux: Of smoke in mirrors
May 23–June 27, 2020

Ashes Withyman
Some kind of doctor receiving thunder
February 8–March 14, 2020

Abbas Akhavan
They asked the fox, “Who is your witness?”
He said, “My tail.”

November 23, 2019–January 18, 2020

Christina Mackie
September 21–November 2, 2019

Rochelle Goldberg
May 25–July 20, 2019
gatekeepers

Abbas Akhavan, Valérie Blass, Raymond Boisjoly, Rebecca Brewer, Trisha Brown and Trisha Brown Dance Company, Chris Burden, Raven Chacon, Geoffrey Farmer, Hanne Darboven, Marcel Duchamp, Julia Feyrer, Alex Frost, Cynthia Girard-Renard, Rochelle Goldberg, Dan Graham, Brian Jungen, On Kawara, Janice Kerbel, Christine Sun Kim, Duane Linklater, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Christina Mackie, Myfanwy MacLeod, Liz Magor, Elizabeth McIntosh, Damian Moppett, Stephen Murray, Kate Newby, Jerry Pethick, Eileen Quinlan, Judy Radul, Aurie Ramirez, Rob Renpenning, Marina Roy, Kevin Schmidt, Nick Sikkuark, Michael Snow, Ron Terada, Calder Tsuyuki Tomlinson, Ian Wallace, Nicole Wermers, and Ashes Withyman

Unexplained Parade
February 9–May 11, 2019

Judy Radul
Words No Pictures Pictures No Words
May 11–June 16, 2018

Julia Feyrer
Background Actors
March 16–April 21, 2018

Rebecca Brewer, Rochelle Goldberg, Charmian Johnson, Christina Mackie
Nature
January 26–March 3, 2018

Elizabeth McIntosh
ISLANDS
November 17–December 22, 2017

Ron Terada
TL; DR
September 15–October 28, 2017

Elizabeth McIntosh, Monique Mouton, Silke Otto-Knapp
May 26–July 8, 2017

Ian Wallace
Street Floor Table Page Wall Canvas, 1969–2017
March 31–May 13, 2017

Ashes Withyman
Bullae
March 10–18, 2017

Geoffrey Farmer
The Big Kitchen
January 14–February 25, 2017

Rebecca Brewer
The Holding Sky
November 12–December 17, 2016

Raymond Boisjoly
September 16–October 29, 2016

Damian Moppett
May 6–June 25, 2016

Liz Magor
March 5–April 23, 2016

Brian Jungen
January 22–February 27, 2016

Valérie Blass
To only ever say one thing forever the same thing
November 21, 2015–January 9, 2016

Janice Kerbel
Score
September 12–October 24, 2015

Liz Magor, Jerry Pethick, Ron Tran
A view believed to be yours
May 15–June 27, 2015

Myfanwy MacLeod
TELL HER NOTHING SHE TELLS ALL
March 21–May 2, 2015

Ian Wallace
The Construction Site
January 17–February 28, 2015

Duane Linklater
But the sun is up and you're going?
November 15–December 20, 2014

Ron Terada
Jack
September 19–October 25, 2014

Jerry Pethick
Where sidewalks leap upon the table: works on paper 1966–2000
May 24–June 28, 2014

Rebecca Brewer
The Written Face
March 29–May 10, 2014

Geoffrey Farmer
The Grass and the Banana go for a walk
February 8-March 15, 2014

Gareth Moore
Household Temple Yard
November 26, 2013–January 11, 2014

Damian Moppett
Salute
September 20–November 2, 2013

Brian Jungen, Duane Linklater
Modest Livelihood
June 7–July 20, 2013

Andrea Büttner, Joëlle de La Casinière, Gareth Moore
April 26–June 1, 2013

Raymond Boisjoly
March 1–April 13, 2013

Liz Magor
I is being This
November 16–December 22, 2012

Christina Mackie, Jerry Pethick
Bigger than a book, wilder than a tree
September 14–October 27, 2012

Judy Radul
April 27–June 9, 2012

Julia Feyrer
Alternatives and Opportunities
March 2–April 14, 2012

Ian Wallace
Masculin/Féminin
January 13–February 18, 2012

Ulla von Brandenburg, Guy de Cointet, Geoffrey Farmer, Janice Kerbel, Daria Martin, Judy Radul
People Things Enter Exit
October 28–December 10, 2011

Ron Terada
Jack
September 3–October 8, 2011

Robert Kleyn
Works 1969–1983
May 20–June 25, 2011

Arabella Campbell
March 25–April 30, 2011

Alex Morrison
February 3–March 12, 2011

Brian Jungen
November 19, 2010–January 15, 2011

Kevin Schmidt
September 17–October 23, 2010

Damian Moppett
The Sculptor’s Studio is a Painting
May 21–June 26, 2010

Geoffrey Farmer
The Surgeon and the Photographer
January 29-March 6, 2010

Myfanwy MacLeod
Gold
November 6–December 12, 2009

Ian Wallace
Works 1970–1979
September 18–October 24, 2009

Brian Jungen, Rebecca Belmore, Myfanwy MacLeod, Kevin Schmidt, Alex Morrison, Sam Durant, Ron Terada, Geoffrey Farmer, Jin-me Yoon
Loaded
May 15–June 20, 2009

Christos Dikeakos
March 26–April 25, 2009

Gareth Moore
Uncertain Pilgrimage
January 15–February 14, 2009

Jin-me Yoon
October 30–November 29, 2008

Jerry Pethick
September 12–October 11, 2008

Ron Terada
May 23–June 28, 2008

Germaine Koh
April 11–May 10, 2008

Roy Kiyooka, Damian Moppett, Jerry Pethick, Ian Wallace
Process as Work
February 29–March 29, 2008

Kelly Wood, Monika Grzymala
January 18–February 16, 2008

Alex Morrison
November 23–December 22, 2007

Ian Wallace
October 18–November 17, 2007

Judy Radul
September 7–October 6, 2007

Arabella Campbell
June 8–July 7, 2007

Brian Jungen
April 27–May 26, 2007

Sam Durant
Scenes from the Pilgrim Story: Natural History
March 16–April 14, 2007

Damian Moppett
Progress in Advance of the Fall
January 19–February 24, 2007

Isabelle Pauwels
November 25–December 22, 2006

Geoffrey Farmer
Airliner Open Studio
October 21–November 18, 2006

Kevin Schmidt
September 9–October 7, 2006

Gareth Moore, Jacob Gleeson
St. George Marsh
August 24–September 1, 2006

Christos Dikeakos, Geoffrey Farmer, Arni Haraldsson, Brian Jungen, Roy Kiyooka, Germaine Koh, Myfanwy MacLeod, Damian Moppett, Isabelle Pauwels, Jerry Pethick, Judy Radul, Kevin Schmidt, Ron Terada, Ian Wallace, Jin-me Yoon
274 East 1st
June 3–July 8, 2006

Christos Dikeakos
November 25, 2005–January 16, 2006

Alex Morrison, Isabelle Pauwels, Frances Stark, Johannes Wohnseifer
And to stop you interfering, I shall have to dematerialize you again
October 13–November 19, 2005

Geoffrey Farmer, Brian Jungen, Germaine Koh, Myfanwy MacLeod, Damian Moppett, Alex Morrison, Ron Terada, Ian Wallace, Kelly Wood
Mix with care
July 5–September 24, 2005

Ron Terada
May 20–June 25, 2005

Arabella Campbell, Neil Campbell, Ron Terada, Ian Wallace
Painting After Poverty
April 8–May 14, 2005

Sam Durant
Color Pictures
February 25–March 2, 2005

Germaine Koh
Shell
January 14–February 19, 2005

Roy Kiyooka
Open Window on a Slow Train
December 2004

Jin-me Yoon
Fugitive
October 22–November 27, 2004

Myfanwy MacLeod
Don’t Stop Dreaming
September 10–October 16, 2004

Artist Curating Artists:
Damian Moppett curates Allison Hrabluik and Zin Taylor
May 28–June 26, 2004

Geoffrey Farmer
Every Surface In Some Way Decorated, Altered or Changed Forever (Except the Float)
April 7–May 15, 2004

Artist Curating Artists:
Myfanwy MacLeod curates Kyla Mallett
February 11–March 13, 2004

Damian Moppett
1815/1962
October 30–December 6, 2003

Carsten Höller, Cameron Jamie, Jakob Kolding, Myfanwy MacLeod, Kyla Mallett, Valérie Mréjen, Isabelle Pauwels, Raymond Pettibon, Ron Terada, Lawrence Weiner, Erwin Wurm
Seethe
September 10–October 25, 2003

Iain Baxter, Geoffrey Farmer, Roy Kiyooka, Germaine Koh, Myfanwy MacLeod, Ron Terada
I Sell Security
May 29–August 16, 2003