Andrew Wright: Pretty Lofty and Heavy All at Once

January 23 – May 10, 2015

Opening: January 22, 2015 at 5:30 pm

While using current lens-based technologies, as well as processes derived from historical photography, Ottawa-based Andrew Wright’s art practice alludes to the immeasurable possibilities of the pictorial language. 

The works in this exhibition present traditional subject matter derived from the natural world, such as the flora occupying rock formations found within a landscape, a snowy surface or turbulent waves suspended against the night sky, and the vastness of a treed horizon. Re-examined by the artist, these appear alien and inhabited due to the deliberately confused orientation of the camera. As seen in the Tree Corrections (2013) series, the trees are presented on a straight angle despite their true position, in turn making their surroundings visually unbalanced. Whereas the long exposure times used to create the series Still Water (2009) alter our normal perception of a waterfall.  

The video Beijing Odyssey (2014) depicts the cityscape as witnessed from a hotel window. The blackness, with the exception of a digital billboard pulsating colour from beyond endless space, is in fact the outline of the buildings in front of it and proof that the void is not vacant. The transparent methodology of picture-making exposes the act of looking as limited and rehearsed. This experiment in visual organization disrupts our passive relationship to the recognizable shapes and forms, which exist in nature and man-made environments alike. 

In his recent body of work, Wright introduces mirrored surfaces and physical objects as means to interrogate the trappings and appearances of the photographic. These works are evidence of the artifice used in mechanical production. Through the process of chroming, the objects acquire a reflective quality while becoming simultaneously static and ethereal. The silvering treatment causes the objects to be defunct, yet their multiple reflections makes the otherworldly visible.

The selected works, which span more than a decade, challenge conventional uses and accepted understandings of time-based practices. Pretty Lofty and Heavy All at Once acknowledges that the photographic found all around us is a paradox: what is in our direct line of vision may yet be beyond our ability to perceive.

Ola Wlusek, Curator of Contemporary Art

A bilingual catalogue co-published with The Thames Art Gallery with texts by Randy Innes and Carol Payne accompanies the exhibition. Find out how to buy it.

In partnership with NAC’s Ontario Scene. Ontario Scene