ANDREAS RUTKAUSKAS & JESSICA AUER
SEA TO SURFACE
MAY 23 - JUNE 30, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION: THURSDAY, MAY 23, 6 - 9 pm
Evans Contemporary is pleased to present Sea to Surface, an exhibition of photographs and video by Montreal artists, Jessica Auer and Andreas Rutkauskas.
Sea to Surface pairs two artists whose photographic and multi-disciplinary work questions our understanding of landscape and initiates reflections on tradition, history, technology and encounters within our surrounding topographies. Through their love of wilderness hiking and extensive global sojourns, Rutkauskas and Auer provide us with images and ideas that go beyond the beauty of the land and offer us new examinations of our environment.
Auer's documentary-style landscape photographic work is largely concerned with the study of cultural sites. From the beaten track to the frontier, she explores places where history and mythology are woven into the environment, and where contemporary landscape issues emerge. Many of Auer's photographic projects examine the impact of tourism on some of the world’s significant landscapes, and how landscape has been preserved, altered or commodified for sightseeing. Her work invites the viewer to consider the historical and cultural significance of places as well as question the tourist’s role in observing these sites. In other works, Auer is interested in bringing the gallery visitor into the realm of idyllic landscapes by recalling the representation of landscape through painting, photography and literature.
In Sea to Surface, Auer will be exhibiting photographs from her Unmarked Sites series (2007-2010) in which she explored the landscape of Newfoundland and Labrador while photographing cultural sites to show how history and mythology are written into the landscape. While looking to the land for signs of the past, Auer examined the relationship between landscape and regional identity. The resulting narrative reveals the intricacies that relate exploration, settlement, preservation and modern tourism.
Through the use of photography, video, and other media, Andreas Rutkauskas' practice is largely concerned with landscape in response to shifting technologies. His recent projects have addressed themes such as the impact of Internet-based research on wilderness recreation (Virtually There), and the borderlands surrounding the Canada/US boundary (Project Stanstead). While Rutkauskas' principle medium is photography, he believes that it can be limited in completely articulating an experience in the landscape, because of this, he often incorporates video and other media as a way of providing the viewer with a more diverse perspective.
Bringing these two projects together, Sea to Surface engages the importance of the ocean to Newfoundlanders, first nations and Viking settlers (Auer's Unmarked Sites project), and conjures up the ancient sea beds that formed the oil deposits that are brought to the surface in Rutkauskas' Petrolia project.
As part of this exhibition, Rutkauskas' video Oil! will be presented. Taking its title from a 1927 Upton Sinclair novel, this single channel video brings the viewer on a journey through the jerker line system, developed in the 1850s and still used today to draw crude oil from the wells. What begins as an ambiguous sculpture in motion is eventually revealed as a form of Rube Goldberg machine performing the straightforward task of extracting petroleum. The equipment runs day and night, throughout summer and winter.
In Sea to Surface, Rutkauskas will be exhibiting photography and video from his latest project, Petrolia. Developed during a yearlong research endeavour with the Judith & Norman ALIX Art Gallery in Sarnia, Ontario, Petrolia presents coexisting themes of the scaling-back of production in the petrochemical industry near Sarnia (an area known as Chemical Valley), while simultaneously investigating the region’s pastoral landscape and small-scale, family-operated oil industries. Large format photographs present views from the periphery of Chemical Valley – a dense social landscape where First Nations ceremonial sites, abandoned industry, and environmental responsibility initiatives all converge, while other images and video introduce the lush setting of ancient oil fields that have been operated by the same families for many generations.
Andreas Rutkauskas' group exhibitions include shows at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden, the Estevan Art Gallery in Saskatchewan, ODD Gallery, Dawson City, Yukon, Exposure Photography Festival in Canmore, Alberta, Foreman Art Gallery, Lennoxville, Québec, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Papier 08 Contemporary Art Fair, Montréal, Photo de la Francophonie, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Toronto International Art Fair and Toronto Image Works, and Ace Art, and Martha Street Studio in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His solo exhibitions have been featured at Sporobole in Sherbrooke, Québec, the Ottawa School of Art, the Judith & Norman ALIX Art Gallery in Sarnia, Ontario, TRUCK Contemporary Art, Calgary, and Galerie Projex-Mtl, and Art Mur in Montréal.
His work has been supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Rutkauskas completed a BFA at the University of Manitoba, and an MFA at Concordia University in Montreal, where he now teaches photography in the Studio Arts department.
Jessica Auer received her MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University in 2007. Her numerous group exhibitions include show at RISD Museum of Art, Providence, Rhode Island, Gallery Carte Blanche, and Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, Photo Center NW, Seattle, Washington, Papier 12 Contemporary Art Fair, Montreal, and Photo de la Francophonie, University of Indonesia, Jakarta. Her solo exhibitions have been featured at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon, Les Territoires, Montreal, Toronto Image Works, Galerie Thérèse Dion, Montreal, and Brome County Museum and Gallery in Knowlton, Quebec.
Auer is the recipient of numerous awards and include grants from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec the W.B. Bruce European Fine Art Travel Fellowship, AARE Grant from Concordia University, Mois de la Photo Portfolio Review Prize, Emerging Photographers: Canadian Winner, Magenta Foundation, Flash Forward, Centre Interuniversitaire des Arts Médiatiques (CIAM) Grant, and the Roloff Beny Prize. She has been artist in residence at Centre Sagamie, Alma, Quebec, Kunstnerhuset, Lofoten, Norway, Leighton Colony, Banff Centre, and the W.B. Bruce fine art travel scholarship in Gotland, Sweden.
Her work has been exhibited in Canada and the United States and is held in various private and public collections, including the Musée des Beaux Arts du Québec, the Canada Council Art Bank, Cirque du Soleil, Standard Life, Concordia University, and the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec, Montreal, Quebec
Auer is a co-founder and a board member at Galerie Les Territoires in Montréal and teaches photography at Concordia University. She is represented by Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Ottawa.