VANCOUVER.- The Vancouver Art Gallery presents today Jeff Wall - Vancouver Art Gallery Collection, on view through January 25, 2009. Vancouver artist Jeff Wall has become internationally recognized for his compelling photographs. Over the past thirty years, he has asserted the importance of the pictorial traditions of modernism in the wake of the challenges to that tradition presented by conceptual art and the postmodern critiques of representation of the 1980s and 1990s. Drawing on the aesthetics of cinema, photography and painting, Walls work has played a key role in the development of photographic imagery as an important arena in contemporary art. Since the late 70s, Wall has made his colour photographs as transparencies presented in light boxes. His pictures often focus on points of tension within the urban context. He has used the term cinematography to refer to his work, emphasizing the ways in which it has been affected by the various production processes normally identified with filmmaking rather than still photography. Many of his pictures are made in collaboration with performers, mostly amateurs. Some are photographed in the artificial environment of the studio, others on the streets of the city. Since the early 1990s, he has used digital technology to create montages of different individual negatives, blending them into what appears as a single unified photograph. In 1995, Wall began making traditional silver gelatin black and white photographs, and this has become an increasingly significant part of his practice since that time. The simultaneous engagement with an older kind of photography along with the new digital technologies exemplifies Walls ongoing engagement with the intersection of past and present.
The Gallery has recently acquired four of Walls artworks: the large-scale black and white photograph War Game, 2007; Concrete Ball, a large colour transparency from 2002; Basin in Rome 2, 2003, an intimately scaled colour print and Children, 1988, an illuminated transparency.
This is the first solo exhibition of Jeff Walls work in Vancouver since 1990. It will feature the Gallerys recent acquisitions, which have not been previously exhibited in Vancouver, and will provide viewers with the opportunity to consider these pictures in relation to earlier works from the collection.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art.