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Publication: Article in Border Crossings Magazine, #119

Multiple Benefits – Evan Lee’s Photographic Variety

By Lee Henderson

As a photographer, Evan Lee has steadily moved away from reproduction. His most recent project is a painstaking recreation of an Associated Press aerial photograph of Sri Lankan boat refugees in Vancouver’s harbour, where he has lowered the perspective to eye level using 3D-simulation technology. He is forgoing the benefits of multiples, which is the historical revolution of the camera, and making unduplicable but still photo-based images. In doing so he is pushing photoconceptualism further into its roots in history painting and Impressionism, even as he applies new technology to explicitly contemporary subjects. To look back at Evan Lee’s work over the past decade is to be impressed at the one thing that remains constant through it all: change. Lee’s art is about adapting.
And so it should be. The face of photography has changed so drastically and incontrovertibly since the dawn of photoconceptualism in the 1970s that for today’s artists the term is hardly any kind of style or era; it is more than ever an ethos.
Photoconceptualism is seeing with a skeptic’s eye the images that are taken at face value. Critical of an image that’s taken for granted, Lee’s pictures are skeptical, they are critical, but what keeps them afloat is that they are never cruel or reductive. When the propinquity of the day is to treat photographs as our second skin and self-portraits are evermore revealing in their flesh and in their accumulation, Lee’s artwork challenges that gratuitous perspective. He moves to make images in discourse with, but outside of the Flickr millions.
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Multiple Benefits: Evan Lee's Photographic Variety

Exhibition: On the Nature of Things, Kamloops Art Gallery

On the Nature of Things

October 15 to December 31, 2011

To many Canadians the title of this exhibition will bring to mind David Suzuki’s longstanding science and nature television series of a similar name. However, in the context of this art exhibition the title is meant to summon up the words and images created by Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius in his epic poem De rerum natura. Its purpose was to explain Epicurean philosophy to Roman audiences in the 1st century BC.

In keeping with Lucretius’ clinamen principle, the exhibition On the Nature of Things is organized with a multi-directional and non-linear curatorial approach that highlights individual artistic practices through a close reading of specific works. Rather than choose one specific theme or medium to pursue, the exhibition introduces a number of subjects (or avenues) to explore. The artists in this exhibition share an interest in returning to strikingly Modernist forms and structures. Sampling from a wide range of sources as diverse as advertising, found photographs, driftwood and modernist art, these artists employ surrealist wit to repurpose clichéd forms from our everyday urban environment and popular culture into extra-ordinary aesthetic tropes that challenge a stable understanding of both art and our modernity.

The artists include Kim Kennedy Austin, Andrew Dadson, Sarah Dobai, Rodney Graham, Alexander Gutke, Sofia Hulten, Jack Jeffrey, Evan Lee, Kristi Malakoff, Shannon Oksanen, Kathy Slade, Gordon Smith, T&T (Tony Romano and Tyler Brett), Jacques de la Villeglé, and Neil Wedman.

Guest curated by Patrik Andersson

Sponsored by B-100 and Jane Irwin & Ross Hill