Eamon Mac Mahon
November 26 – December 19, 2015
Thursday, November 26, 6-9 p.m.
Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
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Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Circuit Gallery is pleased to present Apprehensions, an exhibition featuring new photographic work by Eamon Mac Mahon (Canada), Jon Wyatt (UK), and Chris Bennett (USA).
This exhibition brings together three artists who, in this time of increasing ecological crisis, are deeply engaged with landscape, and who ask us through these works to consider our place in, and relationship to, the wider natural world.
The Enlightenment concept of ‘man’ as an autonomous, self-conscious, and rational subject hinges on the separation of an ‘outside’ natural world from an ‘inner’ human and subjective one. With this separation in place, nature became seen as something external to discover, appreciate, and study. The ensuing modernist project mutated this view of the natural world into something for us to exploit, master and control for our own ends, in the name of progress, science, and reason. Paradoxically, nature has simultaneously been seen as so vast and resilient that it was safe from our depredations. Both of these ideas have failed us.
Apprehensions engages landscape both as a subject for photography and as a genre, where the traditional aesthetic categories of the beautiful and sublime, often synonymous with the landscape tradition in art, take on new resonances in our contemporary apprehending of, and affective orientation towards, the natural world.
This exhibition situates the work of these three photographers, and their different approaches to this genre, as having been predicated on and motivated by a profound and heightened awareness of our species’ contributing role in global warming and our unfolding catastrophe.
Landscape has always been an important genre and subject for photography. And it makes more sense now than ever that artists are reengaging traditional aesthetic categories and feel compelled to reevaluate our culture’s changed and increasingly fraught relationship with nature and to question our assumed place in the world.
Such art can open up the world and our relationship to it. It can destabilize and move us, reminding us that there are other ways of being in it.
The exhibition is curated by Claire Sykes with an essay by Leo Hsu.
Eamon Mac Mahon is an artist working with photography and video based in Toronto. Raised in northern Alberta, his fascination with the wilderness began at an early age. Mac Mahon’s photographs have been published by the Walrus, National Geographic, Capricious, MIT Press and the New Yorker. His work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Power Plant. He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).
British photographer Jon Wyatt‘s work documents the detachment of modern culture from our physical landscapes, both in the context of landscape iconography, national identity, human ecology and ecosystem transition; and through the perspective of vast spans of time and geologic processes. His work has been published in PDN, National Geographic Traveler, Orion Magazine and The Times amongst others and exhibited in Europe, South East Asia, the United States, and Canada.
Chris Bennett is an American photographer based in Portland, Oregon. He received his BFA from Indiana University in 1999 and his MFA in Photography, from the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, in 2014. Bennett’s work has been shown widely, with exhibitions in Portland at Froelick Gallery, Camerawork Gallery, and the Oregon Historical Society; as well as nationally and internationally at The Phoenix Art Museum (AZ), Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Fe, NM), INOVA – Institute of Visual Arts (Milwaukee, WI), Camera Club of New York (New York, NY), and Kominek Gallery (Berlin, Germany).
Leo Hsu is a writer, researcher and photographer based in Toronto. He is a regular contributor to Fraction Magazine and holds a PhD in Anthropology and Certificate in Culture and Media from New York University. He has taught on the history of photography and documentary photography at Carnegie Mellon University and collaborated with the Silver Eye Center for Photography on several exhibitions, most recently A World Imagined: Kelli Connell and Sara Macel.
(Image: Eamon Mac Mahon, Wildfire, Northwest Territories, 2015)