Reception for the Artist: Saturday, October 22, 2-5pm
The Stephen Bulger Gallery is pleased to present “Arboretum” our first solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist Sara Angelucci.
“Arboretum” builds upon issues raised by her previous series “Aviary”, part of an award-winning exhibition first shown at the Art Gallery of York University, which became the subject of a publication entitled Provenance Unknown published by the AGYU. With “Aviary”, Angelucci sourced Victorian era portraits which she digitally combined with photographs she took of endangered and extinct birds in the Royal Ontario Museum’s ornithology collection. In “Arboretum” the artist extends this technique to examine deforestation, one of the major challenges to bird populations.
To produce the series “Arboretum” Angelucci scanned found nineteenth-century cabinet cards with painted forest backdrops and transformed them with her own photographs of trees indigenous to Ontario, allowing the trees to take over the figures. In doing so, the forest claims a position in the foreground of the picture, becoming the main subject, while the figure becomes the ground.
As the artist explains: “Taking its cue from the pictorial tradition of nineteenth-century landscape painting, studio backdrops adopted an idealized vision of nature as a romantic setting for the figure, essentially taming the wilderness to provide an elegant pictorial frame – the picturesque. Embedded in this act of representation is the problematic notion that we are the main subject, and that nature is a mere decorative feature subservient to us. “Arboretum” gives visual presence to the notion of the sentient tree, extending the concept of the family album beyond the frame of photographic pictorial tradition. These pictures suggest a deeper consideration of not only the figure/ground relationship in photography, but also our position in relationship to nature.”
© Sara Angelucci, Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery