Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

New JNAAG exhibit explores diversity in Canadian photography

Published on

Cathy Dobson

For the next four months, every single wall at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery is covered in photos from a new exhibition that studies Canadian photography throughout the latter part of the 20th Century.

Some of the pieces are stunningly large, like the photo of photographer Jin-me Yoon taken at Lake Louise in 1991. Yoon is a Canadian from South Korea who seems to be asking if she belongs there.

“It’s so beautiful,” says JNAAG curator Sonya Blazek.

Blazek is equally enthusiastic about another large image taken by Montreal artist Holly King whose Veiled Forest explores what is fake and what is real.

“Her work is really interesting because she likes to make miniature landscapes and photograph them,” explains Blazek. The Veiled Forest is covered with texture from painted filters.

“It’s really playful,” said Blazek. “It makes you think it’s some kind of mystical place and you have to consider what is really happening here.”

Nearly 100 photos by 71 artists have arrived in Sarnia for the new exhibition organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada.

It’s not a static show as there are several photos with special features like a light box, an audio accompaniment and the use of mixed media.

Artists include Ed Burtynsky, Roy Arden, Fred Herzog, Ken Lum, Lynne Cohen, Michael Snow, Jeff Wall and more.

They will be on display until September 8 and reflect the many changes in Canadian photography between 1960 to 2000.

The photos are also the focus of JNAAG’s summer programs.

A wide variety of free presentations, preteen and teen workshops, and children’s activities are on tap this summer. Those, in addition to paid adult programs and the free family creative drop-ins on Sundays, make this summer one of the busiest since Sarnia/Lambton’s public art gallery opened in 2012.

One of the exhibition’s featured photographers, Diana Thorneycroft, will be at the gallery August 8 for an hour-long discussion of her work and why she calls herself an artist who uses a camera instead of a photographer.

Three one-day workshops are offered to adults beginning with Jillian Holmes of Sarnia facilitating the making of miniatures on June 22.  Contemporary dance will be explored by London’s Jessica Ireland on July 13 and Sarnia photographer Teri Gilman is discussing how to develop unique expression through photography on July 27.

Charges are associated with those daytime workshops but all others are free.

“We want to be accessible,” said Blazek. “It’s important to us that the community feels welcome.”

Anyone aged 14 – 18 can participate in Random Acts of Art Workshops (RAAW), a series that kicks off July 2-5 with Sarnia photographer Fera Kennedy and The Journal’s own Troy Shantz.

TNT (Try New Things) Summer Splash for ages 9 – 13 is back Aug. 6-9 after great success last year. Every day varies with a different artist and new activity.

Youth with special needs can participate in Art Pod on Thursdays in August.

“You’ll find all our programming is connected in some way to our exhibition,” said Blazek. “I’m looking forward to a responsive dance with Boundless Bodies Contemporary Ballet on July 4 when dancers will perform in the galleries, translating images into movement.”

She recommends pre-registering for all programs as they tend to fill quickly.

For a full listing of what’s on at the gallery this summer, call 519-336-8127 ext. 3226, or visit  Brochures are available at the gallery, 147 Lochiel St.

The Arts Journal celebrates Sarnia’s cultural life. Send your ideas to Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.


More like this