Jesse Boles graduated from Ryerson University in Photographic Studies in 2005 and has been gaining attention in the Toronto art scene and beyond for his decadent images of 21st-century industrial landscapes. Crude Landscapes is an ongoing series of large-scale photographs that depict industrial sites on the ports of Lake Ontario as well as in Alberta. Boles approaches these scenes as contemporary landscape, without judgement or agenda. His compositions consciously build upon the tradition of 19th-century landscape painting, and impress us with the sublime scale of modern industry. By photographing many of his scenes at night or dawn, when natural light is dwindling or gone, Boles also calls to mind cinematic scenes: his images often trace zones of industrial activity through the artificial light that illuminates the sites. The lengthy exposures needed to make the photographs in these conditions record the movement of light over the image, and evoke the experience of watching them over time.
Boles has been working in the Hamilton area to expand his Crude Landscapes series with new photographs shot through the spring and summer, 2009. The resulting new work is shown for the first time at the AGH this fall. In light of the recent developments at the steel factories in Hamilton, this exhibition offers a chance to reflect on the way that these landscapes contribute to the history and mythology of the city, and how their loss or diminishment will affect Hamiltons rapidly changing identity.
The exhibition runs through January 17, 2010 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton