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.