Surface, Sample, Site

Ramey Newell, from the deep ground, 59 x 76 inch giclee print, 2018

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography

Surface, Sample, Site
Víctor Ballesteros, Ramey Newell, Tara Nicholson, Deb Silver, Karen Zalamea

Exhibition Dates: September 8 – October 28, 2023
Curator Walkthrough: September 8, 5:30PM. Opening reception to follow at 6:00PM.

The sample can be an aspect of scientific objectivity or part of ecological ethics of connection—allowing artists to explore what experimental film historian Kim Knowles calls an “aesthetics of contact.” Through formal and material interventions, images can represent fluid agencies of non-human natures linking the surface of a photograph to a site that supplements and complicates the representational image. Addressing the role of photography in modern scientific paradigms of vision, the artists invite microbes, plants, fungi and other critters to render their images in unexpected ways.

Curated by Laurie White

For more information read Aesthetics of Contact: An Eco-Materialist Photography, an essay by curator and writer Laurie White.

Laurie White (she/her) is a curator and writer based in Vancouver, unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səlilwətaɬ First Nations. Her research explores ecological methodologies in art and theory—curating exhibitions and programs at Or Gallery, grunt gallery, Griffin Art Projects, the fifty fifty arts collective and Documenta 14. Recent publications include “Every Being is a Score for Another” in Wetland Project: Explorations in Sound, Ecology and Post-Geographical Art). She holds an MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies and is pursuing a PhD in Art History from the University of British Columbia.

Images (left to right): Tara Nicholson, Exposed Permafrost Research Site, Duvannyi Yar, Sakha Republic, 40 x 40 inch archival pigment print, 2019 and Víctor Ballesteros, Chilean Garden, video still, 2020

Eco-Printing: Anthotypes from Plant Pigments
An in-person workshop with Tara Nicholson
Saturday, September 9, 12:00PM – 3:00PM

Join visiting artist Tara Nicholson to explore the world of plant pigments and printing. This workshop will introduce participants to anthotypes, a zero-carbon, plant-based printing technique. Throughout this hands-on experience, participants will learn about the historical roots of anthotypes and their contemporary resurgence.

This workshop is part of Experimental Eco-Printing, a 3-part course exploring sustainable and alternative photographic processes of anthotypes, plant-based chemigrams and cyanotypes. Participants may enroll in individual workshops, or all three.

Tara Nicholson is a photo-based artist who explores ecological activism through a more-than-human lens. She has exhibited and attended residencies across Canada and internationally while receiving funding from the BC Arts Council and Canada Council. She teaches at the University of Victoria and is currently completing her PhD (UBC) that documents Arctic extinction and permafrost melt. Tara has led eco-art workshops at the FEELed Lab (Woodhaven), Exeter University (UK) and The Empire of Dirt (BC).

Nuit Blanche: G44 x JAYU Poetry Showcase
Saturday, September 23, 7:30PM – 8:30PM

Join us for a special Nuit Blanche presentation as youth poets from JAYU’s iAM Program perform poems in response to Surface, Sample, Site. Prior to the event, youth will undergo a writing workshop inspired by the exhibition and the role of photography in modern scientific paradigms of vision. Poetry readings will take place at Gallery 44, during 401 Richmond’s dynamic and interactive Nuit Blanche event.

Online Artist Panel: Surface, Sample, Site
Víctor Ballesteros, Ramey Newell, Tara Nicholson, Deb Silver moderated by Laurie White
Wednesday, October 11, 7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT

Please join us for an online panel discussion with the artists in Surface, Sample, Site, a group exhibition exploring photography’s material relationships with plants, microbes and the earth. While the artists in this exhibition are all based in British Columbia, their works address a range of locations, from coastal forests and urban gardens to the Siberian tundra and digital space. Moderated by the exhibition curator, Laurie White, the panel will discuss the works in the exhibition as well as their place within the artists’ larger practices. The discussion will be followed by an audience Q & A.

Laura Kay Keeling, Untitled, 216 inch detail of digital print, 2022

The Advantages of Tender Loving Care, Pt. 2: Variations
Laura Kay Keeling

Exhibition Dates: September 8 – October 28, 2023
Opening Reception: September 8, 6:00 – 8:00PM

The Advantages of Tender Loving Care, Pt. 2: Variations, explores cycles of creation and expands on the ever-evolving dialogue between the natural and digital world. Laura Kay Keeling builds upon the work’s initial presentation within a virtual exhibition to include natural elements that have been foraged, scanned, digitally manipulated and then manifested again into physical form. The work questions notions of reciprocal care and asks, do technology and nature necessarily have to exist in opposition? How do we evolve our connections to the natural world in an increasingly isolating and technology-dependent society?

Laura Kay Keeling (she/her/they) is a self-taught visual artist based in Hamilton. Her practice is rooted in a process-centred approach that integrates analog photography, video, digital collage and installation. Keeling has exhibited work across Ontario, the United States and South Korea and has received support from the Ontario Arts Council.

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Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is an artist-run centre committed to supporting diverse approaches to photographic and image-based practices through exhibitions, education programs and facilitating artistic production. Gallery 44 provides space and context for meaningful dialogue between artists and publics. Together, we offer an entry point to explore the artistic, cultural, historic, social and political implications of the image in our ever-expanding visual world.

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 120
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3A8

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Maegan Broadhurst
Head of Communications and Development