Opening Reception: Thursday, March 20, 7PM
Presentation House Gallery is proud to launch Stan Douglas: Synthetic Pictures , an exhibition of new photographs by world-renowned Vancouver artist Stan Douglas. His complex artworks interpret the social impact of optical technologies. Frequently borrowing from popular culture and literary sources, Douglas examines the legacies of modernity and historical narratives of socio-cultural events through photographs, film and installation.
This exhibition premieres works that mark the artist’s first foray into abstract imagery. Corrupt Files is a suite of photographic scans extracted from Douglas’ film works, reduced to patterns of data. These synthetic images capture a sense a ‘ghost in the machine’ that is interfering with the electronic information. A large-scale panorama depicting postwar Hogan’s Alley in Strathcona is similarly distilled from his new online web application Circa 1948, that provokes immersive experiences of Hogan’s Alley and the Hotel Vancouver during that period. The digitally reconstructed scene, rendered with intricate historical accuracy, is translated into a black and white photograph, and thus confuses distinctions between artifice and realism. The exhibition includes a documentary survey of this mixed race neighbourhood when it became slated for urban renewal with the construction of the Georgia Viaduct in 1972. Also included are photographs in the style of postwar news photography from Douglas’ recent Midcentury Studio series that relate to his cinematic stage production Helen Lawrence, a multimedia film noir thriller. Based on extensive historical research, Douglas’ new works provide insights into the fraught social tensions and corruption in postwar Vancouver.
Stan Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he continues to live and work. He graduated from Emily Carr College of Art in the early 1980s. His international solo exhibitions include: the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002); the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); and the Staatsgalerie and Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart (2007). He has participated in important group exhibitions worldwide including Documenta IX, 1992; X, 1997; and XI, 2002 as well as the Venice Biennale in 1990, 2001 and 2005. Douglas’ work is in the museum collections of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; MoMA, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Modern, London. His accomplishments have been recognized through numerous awards: the Bell Canada Video Award (2008), the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York (2012) and the Scotiabank Photography Award (2013), among others. He is represented by David Zwirner Gallery, New York/London and Victoria Miro, London. Douglas teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Two new books on Stan Douglas, published by Prestel and Steidl, will be launched in the coming months and the world premiere of Helen Lawrence will take place at the Stanley Theatre, Vancouver in mid-March.
Research for this exhibition, as well as Helen Lawrence and Circa 1948, was supported through financial assistance from a grant from Arts Partners in Creative Development.