It seemed Vancouver couldn’t get enough of Fred Herzog’s photographs. Opened on January 28th, at the new Equinox Project Space at 525 Great Northern Way (owner Andy Sylvester still operates his Granville Street location too), the exhibition was extended for another month at the end of March, and then held over again until April 28th.
Each time an end date approached, people kept flocking to see the Kodachrome-coloured prints of long-gone Vancouver scenes circa the 1950s, 60s and 70s. There were even some rare black and white images from Herzog’s collection although these weren’t as remarkable as the colourful works he is best known for.
The show was well-represented in a large converted industrial building located in False Creek flats; a district that the City of Vancouver has been trying for years to revitalize with high-tech companies, university campuses and art galleries. The area still looks under construction. In the months of March and April, during a particularly cold and rainy spring, the meandering road leading to the recently-opened Equinox space was often muddy, and drivers had to swerve at times to avoid potholes.
The trip was worth it. The large airy spaces inside, broken into distinct areas by temporary walls, are a good backdrop for Herzog’s vintage images. In fact the decor heightens the gallery experience: pure white walls offset by distinct charcoal black industrial marks evident near the ceiling – the smudges remnants of a messier past. Herzog, who often chooses working class, run-down neighbourhoods as his subject matter, must have appreciated the still obvious grunge from a grittier time.
Let's hope Sylvester can sustain the momentum of the Herzog show with his next exhibition in this space.