"Shaping the New Forest (detail)"
Lorraine Gilbert, "Shaping the New Forest (detail)," dye coupler print, 1990, National Gallery of Canada.
SARAH ANNE JOHNSON and LORRAINE GILBERT
Global Nature, Kamloops Art Gallery, June 11 to September 3
BY: Janet Nicol
Sarah Anne Johnson and Lorraine Gilbert, Global Nature, Kamloops Art Gallery, June 11 to September 3 Sarah Anne Johnson and Lorraine Gilbert began exploring art and photography in different decades, but the environmental undercurrents in both their practices are now merging in a timely exhibition called Global Nature, on this summer at the Kamloops Art Gallery. Johnson, who won the Grange Prize in 2008, chronicles the lives of Manitoba tree planters, and a group attempting to rejuvenate the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos. Gilbert’s work also examines fragile ecosystems in Canada and other parts of the world. “Collaborating with Sarah Anne is a natural fit, as she looks at the same issues using very different images,” Gilbert says. “Landscape art has been typically beautiful and sublime, but it can be troubling as well.” She originally studied environmental biology and forestry before moving into the art world, and says a main theme of her photography is our incompatibility with nature. Using a digital camera, she has traveled to sensitive ecological sites, often working alongside local artists. “An artificial feeling is created by using a digital camera,” Gilbert says of her work, “and the people in my photos clash with the landscape. The figures are wearing bright hiking clothes and carry plastic dishes. We don’t really integrate into certain environments.”