VANCOUVER.- The Distance Between You and Me presents the work of three notable contemporary artists from Vancouver, Los Angeles and Guadalajara . Thematically, the exhibition revolves around the ideas of location and dislocation, not only in the geographical sense, but also in terms of psychological location.
The artists - Isabelle Pauwels, Kerry Tribe and Gonzalo Lebrija are loosely united by the geographical configuration of their locations, which form a line extending along the west coast of North America from Vancouver through Los Angeles to Guadalajara in Mexico . This simple line unites diverse cultures revealing shared points of intersection and interest, says Bruce Grenville , senior curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery, but this is only the beginning, for we can also see in the work of each of these artists a shared sense of dislocation, a necessary estrangement that shapes our personal history and sense of self, creating the distance that allows us to see who we are in this place.
The three artists are also linked by their use of photo-based media. The nature of film, photographs and video makes them perfect choices for those who want to document their experience and establish evidence of their locatedness. The capturing of a trace of light on the surface of the film negative or video photoreceptors is a proof of sorts, an index that points to a position in time and space that we have occupied.
Vancouver-based artist Isabelle Pauwels uses video and found photographs that combine images from her home in suburban Vancouver with home movies made by her grandfather during his familys time in the Belgian Congo . The temporal and geographic disjunction produces a remarkable uneasiness, binding social and political history, location to medium and memory and family relations. The installation is comprised of two single channel videos, June 30, 2009 and W.E.S.T.E.R.N, 2010, together with a group of digital prints, scanned images of historical photographs taken or collected by her grandfather.
Here and Elsewhere, a two-channel video installation by Los Angeles-based artist Kerry Tribe, presents a conversation between a father and young daughter. Asked to speak about time, space, memory and being, the daughter evokes a sense of melancholy and dislocation that cannot be mended with critical thinking. In the arid Los Angeles landscape that appears and disappears throughout their conversation, their resolutely British accents seem oddly out of place.
The Distance Between You and Me by Guadalajara artist Gonzalo Lebrija includes four 16-mm films, each depicting the artist running away from the viewer as fast as he can. Light and landscape affect the figures visibility as he recedes, creating an image that is at once mesmerizing and disturbing. The viewer is left to wonder if they are the cause of this retreat, or if they should join the artist and abandon their own location.