The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first major exhibition of Vancouver artist Scott Massey. With discrete works that were sited in the gallery windows and at the Canada Line station, Massey links both locations through two new pieces exploring notions of time and space, and the mutable connections between them.
Typically Massey’s work accentuates and amplifies natural phenomena, often heightened through artificial means or via slight manipulations. His interest in the boundary between the natural world and the urban landscape, and our perception as such, is exemplified in his ongoing photographic series Minor Incidents. Here Massey subtly affects one element within a found setting to shift the composition of the overall scene, through which new meaning arises.
For the front of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Massey produced a new piece Aurorae that draws our attention to the shifting nature of light. By making an intervention into the volume of the existing window vitrines and their lighting, he creates a subtle animation of the façade. Using light itself as material and giving substance to the intangible, periodic changes in intensity set the building in motion, in effect suggesting something alive within.
In Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) sited at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station of the Canada Line, Massey deftly combined 171 narrow-field photographs of the night sky on the same strip of film, achieved by making minor adjustments to camera angle over a lengthy period of time. Even though the image is artificially constructed, the luminous pattern of the starry nighttime sky retains its convincingly poetic expanse while throwing into question the veracity of the photographic image. Its blueness is much closer to that of a daytime sky and as such connects to the location whereby it greets passengers as they arrive or depart at the station. By linking notions of celestial navigation – wayfaring – to more contemporary means of travel, Via Lactea throws into flux a consideration of temporality and site.
If you were walking down Nelson Street in the evening between February 3rd and May 16th, you hopefully spied the work Aurorae by Scott Massey in the CAG street front window spaces. During the day, the window spaces appeared to be coated in some kind of nondescript blue paint and visitors would come into the gallery either unaware that there was something on display or perplexed as to what it represented. When on my volunteer shift at the gallery, I would welcome visitors to make a date to come back to the gallery after dark so that they could enjoy the light-show piece, but as the gallery was closed most evenings after 6 pm, I never really saw if anyone came back to satisfy their curiosity.
I was lucky enough to have a friend live in the building across the street and we made a special tea & art viewing date together, specifically so that we could spend an evening with Aurorae.
But even if you didn’t have a friend living across the street from the gallery, or if you didn’t find the time after dark to see Massey’s light display piece in the window spaces, you’re able to see it here thanks to his time lapse video below.
As the night sky lightens on Massey’s celestial light-show phenomenon, the light takes on a more earthly halogen with Josephine Meckseper’s discussion on consumer culture and the world of advertising. The exhibition American Leg by Josephine Meckseper opens on Thursday, May 24th (7-10 PM). Currently based in New York, this will be Meckseper’s first exhibition in Canada. Additionally Josephine Meckseper will talk on her work on Wednesday May 23 at 7 pm at SFU Woodwards, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, this talk is free and all are welcome.
Scott Massey’s Off-site project Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) will remain on view at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line until July 1st. This piece, also dealing with the night sky, can be seen in the day time (or night time).MORE
This limited edition print was produced to coincide with the exhibitions Aurorae at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Vancouver, February 3 to July 1, 2012.Archival inkjet print, limited edition of 15.MORE