Raymond Boisjoly, 6336 Vedder Rd, Chilliwack, BC V2R 1C8, 2012
When I read the press release for Phantasmagoria, a group show that recently opened at Presentation House Gallery, I was intrigued to learn the origin of the titular word. After consulting the OED, I discovered its first recorded use appears in 1802 to describe the kinds of illusions produced by a magic lantern. One year later, there are records of the word as meaning the images produced from fever or dream. Two things are important here: (1) the term is thoroughly modern, relating to the development of photography; and (2) it suggests a connection between technical and hallucinatory images. Appropriately, much of the work in Phantasmagoria explores the material production of photographic images and how it relates to our sense of vision. For example, Evan Lee’s series Maquette for Phoropter Collage quite literally creates collages out of images of phoropters (the machines that ophthalmologists use to test our sight), while Mathew McWilliams’s Paper Works (Blue) uses photo-paper as a material for an exquisite abstraction.
A number of works go further to play with the dreamlike quality of technical images. Julia Feyrer’s Ja!, an image created out of exposed photo-paper, resembles a surrealist collage, while Rachelle Swatsky’s My Room, 2003 and Optimization makes use of slide projections of a bedroom juxtaposed with abstract studies to create an affinity between sleep and abstraction. Lastly, as if to imply that our cultural understanding of a place is also a dream-state, Raymond Boisjoly’s 6336 Vedder Rd, Chilliwack, BC V2R 1C8 documents an aboriginal-owed gas station, mixing the sepia-toned aesthetic of Edward S. Curtis with the conceptual photography of Ed Ruscha.
Presentation House Gallery: http://presentationhousegallery.org/
Phantasmagoria continues until July 8.
Aaron Peck is the author of The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis and, in collaboration with artists Adam Harrison and Dominic Osterried, Letters to the Pacific. His recent art criticism has appeared, or is forthcoming, in artforum.com, 01 Magazine, Art Papers, Canadian Art, C Magazine and Fillip, as well as an article in La Fábrica's Spanish-language magazine Matador. He has also contributed to numerous exhibition catalogs and is Akimblog's Vancouver correspondent.
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Posted by weedGoots, on 2012-11-05 15:42:57