Bill Burns, Untitled (open book with caribou) (detail), 1999. Colour photograph on paper

Forced Perspective

March 30 to June 10, 2012

Drawn from the Mendel Art Gallery’s permanent collection, Forced Perspective presents an evocative selection of contemporary and historical artworks to explore themes of culture and place.

The title refers to a bit of in-camera Hollywood magic used to create the illusion that people or things are larger or smaller than they are in reality. This illusion is achieved through the interplay of scale and vantage point. The exhibition was conceived around these principles, and expands on the concept to consider how point of view informs perception. How does where we are affect what we see?

The exhibition brings together works that vary widely in scale and approach. Seemingly divergent aesthetic traditions come together to activate the space. Genteel landscapes are populated by coal miners and farm hands; high-minded theories of Modernism mingle with the “can-do” attitude of self-taught artists. From the confines of a glass case, a miniature landscape bears witness to animals fleeing from natural history. Unabashedly pretty pictures of the Prairies may remind us why we’re here: an elegy to the lost tribes of North America reminds us of what has been lost.

Curated by Troy Gronsdahl