Ecologies of Landscape


To Sunset, 2016
Curated by Mark A. Cheetham
Opening:       November 10 · 2018 ⁄ 6 – 9pm
Exhibition:   November 10 · 201 – January 26 · 2019

Barbara Edwards Contemporary is pleased to present our inaugural exhibition for BEC Project Space at 315 King Street West. Ecologies of Landscape gathers work by nine highly accomplished artists from Canada and abroad to re-imagine our perceptual, aesthetic, and ethical relationship with our home planet. In diverse media and from a variety of cultural and geographical perspectives these artists ponder what our connections to the Earth might be in this time of widespread concern about climate change. Especially in Canada, landscape painting has been the dominant way to approach and appreciate what we construe as ‘nature’ as well as our own identities. With increasing urgency since the 1960s, however, artists world wide have grappled with the inadequacies of the landscape genre amidst concerns over land stewardship and the environmental degradation of our shared planet. Works in this exhibition reconceive land and landscape as presented and experienced in art.

Ecologies of Landscape challenges us to reconsider what art and artists can contribute to the ecological future of the earth, what ‘being terrestrial’ means for each of us. British European artist Tacita Dean photographs the stunning oddities of Madagascan Baobab trees. Bonnie Devine’s Radiation and Radiance drawings and Canoe: to the North Shore narrate the discovery of uranium near Elliot Lake in the Algoma region of northern Ontario and its impact on the Anishinaabe Ojibwa of the Serpent River First Nation, to which she belongs. Documenting a rock on an Icelandic glacier from all sides, Olafur Eliasson’s photo series The small glacier surfer sets the long game of geological change against the time it takes for a human being to move around an object. Isabelle Hayeur disrupts the seductive beauty of conventional underwater photography with a troubling image of Spirogyra – a plant that thrives on pollutants left by humans – photographed in Québec’s Eastern Townships. Reflecting on the horrors of missing and murdered Indigenous women Shelly Niro’s photographs recall landscape photography in a familiar role, that of nature as a refuge from a violent human world. James Nizam employs the magic of the camera obscura to create two still images focusing our gaze on that most fundamental diurnal phenomenon, the rising and setting of the sun. Reinhard Reitzenstein’s meticulous ‘text’ drawings of trees intone a profound reverence for these arboreal beings. British artist Simon Starling’s digital video and stills titled Project for a Rift Valley Crossing – set in the Dead Sea area of the Middle East – hypnotically involve us in the material and conceptual dimensions of our interactions with land and water. Paul Walde’s video Tom Thomson Centennial Swim returns to a regional obsession about landscape art and the land, commemorating Thomson’s mysterious death on Canoe Lake in 1917.

Ecologies of Landscape is curated by Mark A. Cheetham, University of Toronto. His book Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature Since the 60’s was published in 2018. Neda Omidvar, Director at Barbara Edwards Contemporary, is the Assistant Curator.

BEC Project Space
315 King St. West, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M5V 1J5