In Camera: The View From Here
Gallery 101, Ottawa
April 22 - May 27, 2000
By Jen Budney
Andrew Wright is interested in the various structures that are used to build an understanding of the visual. These structures are both actual and metaphorical, and include contemporary and historical photographic modes and technologies, contemporary concepts of suburban life as they relate to the physical landscape and the mapped terrain, and a desire for the Enlightenment concept of a whole, unified vision.
Wright's installations invariably renegotiate the gallery's space in an attempt to question the vert idea of structure in our surroundings. To this end, he employs the technologies of photography and cinema: camera obscura, camera lucida, and reverse pinhole projections. His work demands close attention and presence over time, as it subtly shifts and evolves through the duration of the show.In In Camera: The View from Here, the artist has transformed the gallery in to a camera by way of a 'pinhole' in the roof. Here, the sky enters the room miniaturized, flipped, and reversed – effects which are the deceptive hallmarks of the camera obscura. Wright says that when the outside world is brought inside to a domesticated, private space, "the monstrousness of the gigantic is tamed and made cultured." This is not so that we can partake in the picturesque, but is istead an opportunity to witness simple moments of representation, different at each moment, but the same everywhere. Thus, our accepted postition as fixed subjects at a particular place and time becomes destabilized: the world leaks in, confronting us with void, space, cloud, and sky.
In In Camera: The View from Here, the simple reversal that has viewers looking down upon the sky, rather than up at it, inspires a paradoxical and poetic renegotiation of the "natural order" and human vulnerability. Using the simplest of camera technologies, Wright presents and experiential photographic encounter while seeking to question our definitions of individual and society, technology and nature.