Presentation House Gallery is pleased to announce Phantasmagoria, a group exhibition showcasing new works by emerging artists from Vancouver. Like the perceptual trickery of the eighteenth-century magic-lantern projections from which the show takes its name, the artists in this exhibition exploit the deceptive illusionism of camera images. Their photographs, moving pictures and sculptural works explore the elemental qualities of the photographic at a critical and historic moment of change for the medium.
The exhibition profiles diverse experiments with analogue and digital camera processes. Raymond Boisjoly’s sun-exposed, construction paper prints, Ron Tran’s underdeveloped images that threaten to disappear, and Julia Feyrer’s mixed-media construction emphasize analogue approaches to photography. Such strong material sensibilities are also present in Rachelle Sawatsky’s painted slides and Andrew Dadson’s blacked-out lightbox sculpture, as well as in the hybrid constructions of Elizabeth Zvonar’s collages and Dan Siney’s painterly treatment of inkjet prints.
Investigations of the rhetoric of abstraction prevail throughout the exhibition. Corin Sworn makes pictures of ideas as abstract shapes, as in the reductive forms of Allison Hrabluik’s moving images. Photographic qualities are almost invisible in Mathew McWilliams’s subtle images. The optical illusions in Jessica Eaton’s photographs come from rigourous experiments with analogue photographic techniques. Evan Lee’s intricately collaged details from phoropters reference the optical illusions of lens perception.
The artists respond to the image-saturated world by effectively redirecting image flow and slowing down modes of perception. Christopher Brayshaw’s digital pictures come from a process of scanning and grabbing from an unlimited field of information. Two of the artists have made web pieces that will become ongoing archives: Kevin Schmidt solicits images from individuals and Jay Bundy Johnson captures “free” photographs from Craigslist.