Ian Wallace: At the Intersection of Painting and Photography

At the Intersection of Painting and Photography is a retrospective exhibition that explores the full scope of Ian Wallace’s 50-year career.

Art Exhibition previously on at Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada.
From Saturday 27 October 2012 to Sunday 24 February 2013

Untitled (Intersection 1970) image Untitled (Black Monochrome with Grey), 1967/2007 image Untitled (Black Monochrome with Red), 1967/2007 image Untitled (Red Monochrome with Yellow), 1967/2009 image Lookout image Untitled, 1980-82 image Image/Text image Magazine Piece image Untitled (In the Studio with Table) image Untitled (In the Studio) image Studio Work image The Table (with Tropismes) image Hotel Perugia, Rome image La Mélancolie de la rue image Untitled (Helen) image Studio/Museum/Street image The Erechtheion image At Work, 1982-84 image Critic at Work image In the Studio 1984 image

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 26 December 2012.
Contact the publisher.

One of Canada’s most significant artists, Wallace has played a fundamental role in the development of contemporary art since the late 1960s. Based in Vancouver, Wallace has come to be highly regarded internationally because of his ongoing assessment of the ideological and expressive possibilities of images, which he explores at an intersection of two primary mediums: painting and photography. It is in the interplay of local and global, of personal and social, of art historical and immediate that the unique trajectory of his work unfolds.

In the 1960s Wallace became immersed in the formal language of minimalist art and began painting monochromes in an attempt to re-activate the radical possibilities of painting. Experimenting in the studio, he also created collages, text works and concept pieces that drew on his interests in literature and poetry, while also taking photographs that constituted documents of his everyday surroundings in the street and in his studio. By the mid-1970s photographs staged for the camera were blown up, hand-coloured and installed in series. Their monumentality equated them with the spectacle of cinema and history painting, a strategy of scale that was significant for Wallace and other artists internationally in elevating photography to the status of high art. By the 1980s Wallace had combined the techniques of monochromatic painting with photography onto a single canvas. For Wallace, this pairing of contrasting mediums—the visual emptiness of the painted monochrome against the visually dense, documentary nature of the photographic image—raises fundamental questions about the very nature of picture making.

Wallace’s role has been instrumental in the development of what has become known internationally as the “Vancouver School” of Photoconceptualism. He was one of the first, if not the very first, to recognize the potential of large-format photography as a means to bridge the gap between Conceptual Art where the idea is primary, with Pictorialism where the image takes precedence. Wallace’s art stands as the basis for what Vancouver has become recognized for internationally: a strong tradition of theoretically-based artwork that uses photographs of complex content and high intensity to probe, obliquely or directly, the social force of imagery. Such an investigation is paramount to an understanding of how representation functions in an image-saturated society.

This survey exhibition takes place on two floors of the Vancouver Art Gallery and is divided into five sections: The Cinematic, The Text, The Street, The Museum and The Studio, which reflect the recurring motifs throughout Wallace’s oeuvre. Within each section, artworks are generally organized chronologically, starting with early works related to the themes and finishing with his most recent. Additionally, each thematic section is interspersed with monochromes and other minimalist works that make architectural interventions.

Wallace’s influence is lasting and broad. He has made an outstanding impact on both his contemporaries and subsequent generations through his important work as an art historian, a critic and an educator, most significantly through an art practice that has consistently demonstrated conceptual rigour and aesthetic innovation.