Fred Herzog photos on display at Audain Art Gallery

New exhibit will run until May 22

The Audain Art Museum might be just shy of celebrating its one year anniversary, but already it’s showcased a range of special exhibits from textile arts to film and paintings.

Next up: photography. Fred Herzog: Shadowlands, an exhibit showcasing 18 images captured by the accomplished Vancouver photographer, opened last Saturday (Jan. 21) and is running until May 22.

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“While our collection mandate is, and will continue to be, to collect work from B.C., with our special exhibit spaces, the sky is the limit,” said Darrin Martens, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky chief curator at the museum. “We can do anything we want. In a lot of respects it’s a grand experiment to see what resonates with our members, the community and visitors.”

The new exhibit will feature Herzog’s work spanning five decades, largely captured around Vancouver. Born in Germany, Herzog moved to Vancouver in 1953, first working as a medical photographer before turning his lens to the city’s streets.

His work, which often features rich colours and possesses a painting-like quality, has been shown at the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the UBC Fine Art Gallery, to name just a few.

“In dialogue with his dealers at Equinox Gallery I had the opportunity to look at the full catalogue of works. Within looking at that there are certain themes that really come out, whether it’s nighttime shots, streetscapes (or) people within the streetscape. One thing I found most interesting was this relatively small suite of artwork that really incorporated shadow into the composition,” Martens said.

To that end, he collected a range of photos tied together by their use of shadows to create a one-of-a-kind exhibit.

The photos range from self-portraits to street scenes of Vancouver as well as nighttime shots from the 1950s to 2000. For those familiar with the city, there’s the added appeal of nostalgia, Martens said.

“If you grew up (in Vancouver) through the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, there will be visual cues and triggers for memory,” he added. “For those who haven’t been part of that community, it’s an opportunity to gaze back in time where an artist saw something he figured was interesting. The catalogue Fred has, he’s taken thousands upon thousands of images. This is a very thin slice of that.”

The show is on display in the museum’s upstairs gallery and “what we’ve chosen to do is really give each of these works a lot of real estate,” Martens said. “There’s quite a bit of empty space between them. What I’m hoping is going to happen is that visitors to the museum and exhibition take the time to look at each of these individual artworks in solitude.”

Meanwhile, work is also underway to install a new exhibit in the downstairs gallery. “We’ll be showcasing a collection of drawings by (Henri) Mattise,” Martens said. “That’s something different yet again. I think the opportunity here for us within our temporary exhibition space is really to explore the diversity of art, the world of art, and bring that to Whistler for visitors and locals to enjoy.”

That exhibit will open at the end of February.

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