Alberta Through the Back Door brings together the work of four photographers whose pictures present an increasingly complicated vision of Alberta.
In Kyler Zeleny’s series Crown Ditch and the Prairie Castle, forgotten views and back corners are intimately framed to highlight the West’s confused relationship with its pioneering past. Chris Malloy’s Rurban Landscapes tease us, uprooting what we expect out of a rural scene and reframing relics of Calgary’s quaint history within big prairie skies. Greg Gerla’s documentation is a visual diary of daily life in Alberta while George Webber gets an eyeful of Calgary’s feral side.
The show will run February 10th – April 7th, 2017.
Opening reception: February 10th, 6 – 9 PM
Join us for the opening of our first exhibition in 2017 featuring four amazing photographers.
Artist discussion: March 31, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
This informal panel discussion between the four photographers featured will offer more insight into the themes of Alberta through the Back Door.
Crown Ditch and the Prairie Castle
Soil made the farmer, the herd the rancher, and so what are we, or rather, who are we? Essential to identifying Western Canada involves forgetting the American Frontier. North America’s last great land rush took place in the Canadian West at the turn of the 20th Century. Often overshadowed (and sometimes visually conflated with its neighbour to the south), we forget to turn our gaze to the Canadian West. An area settled by a unique brand of hardened frontiersmen—cowboys, ranch-hands, miners, outlaws, and farmers—good ole boys chasing the advertised allure of a landscape made mystical by its inadequate representation, its mystery, its promise of the last ‘Promised Land’.
Gone are the early remnants of the Canadian West but its legacy still endures. Crown Ditch and the Prairie Castle is a long-term project that documents the spaces and people of the last great ‘proving out’. The project advocates for viewing this space as a beast upon itself, with a particular type of landscape, industry, and most importantly, people, who are a resilient breed created by generational lessons in fortitude and fortuned circumstance.
Kyler Zeleny (1988) is a Canadian photographer-researcher and author of Out West. He received his masters from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in Photography and Urban Cultures. His work has been exhibited internationally in 12 countries. He is a founding member of the Association of Urban Photographers (AUP), a guest editor for the Imaginations Journal for Cross-Cultural Image Studies and a guest publisher with The Velvet Cell. Kyler Currently lives in Toronto, where he is a doctoral candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program at Ryerson and York University.
In a city growing as rapidly as Calgary, the soul of the past is being replaced with the shiny and new. There remain structures which have been around longer than those who enter them. These buildings exist in stark contrast to the modernity surrounding them, giving them a distinctly rural feel despite being well-within city limits. The vision behind Rurban Landscapes was to give these fatigued facades some respite from the busy streets. The final images are a digital combination of aged urban structures and scenic rural landscapes.
Chris Malloy is a father, husband, photographer and teacher here in Calgary. Originally hailing from Eastern Ontario and moving here with his wife 10 years ago, Chris first picked up a camera a little less than four years ago and has barely put it down since. During that time, Chris’ clients have included: the National Hockey League, Travel Alberta, Tourism Calgary, Royal Ontario Museum, Calgary Economic Development Fund, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and others. Also, his photos have been published in a variety of print and digital media outlets.
I’ve been photographing Calgary for over 40 years. I’m fascinated by the feral, the overlooked, the commonplace. You can learn a lot by looking at things like that.
George Webber has been photographing the social landscape the Canadian west since the late 1970s. His books include Requiem, A World Within, People of The Blood, Last Call, In This Place, Prairie Gothicand Badlands.
Curator Tobi Bruce has described his work as “Haunting, touching, evocative and enigmatic, George’s images occupy a place somewhere between everywhere and nowhere.”
Entering anywhere ‘through the back door’ gives a sense of informality. My ‘informal’ photographic process is documenting in a visual diary-style my daily life here in Alberta. Here I present in an eclectic set of ‘iPhone entries’ of my life: beauty, humour, interest.
Greg Gerla is a commercial and fine art photographer working from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work evokes a strong mood with attention to craft and style. He’s represented by several stock agencies and his work has been published world-wide.