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The Vancouver Art Gallery presents exhibitions of work by artists ranging from historic masters to leading-edge contemporaries. These include major thematic exhibitions, presentations of solo artists and smaller, more focused showcases. In a typical year, 2 to 3 exhibitions are borrowed from other institutions and 10 to 12 exhibitions are developed in-house, drawing on our permanent collection and loans of works from around the world. In addition, the Gallery tours a few of its exhibitions each year.
Untitled (Chinatown), circa 1939
Courtesy of the artist and Equinox Gallery,
Born in Germany, Fred Herzog came to Vancouver in 1953. Since that time, he has produced a substantial body of photographs, taking urban life in Vancouver -second-hand shops, vacant lots, neon signage and the crowds of people who have populated the city's streets over the past fifty years-as his primary subject. Herzog has self-consciously drawn upon documentary traditions in photography while incorporating something of an outsider's idiosyncratic sensitivity to a new environment into his work. Within his images, bodily gesture, the detritus of consumer culture and the architecture of the street take on a heightened resonance, as the impact of modernity becomes visible in the everyday life of the city.
Much of Herzog's work was produced on Kodachrome, a colour slide film that was difficult to work with in a spontaneous fashion. Herzog's use of colour was unusual in the 1950s and 60s, a time when art photography was almost exclusively associated with black and white imagery. In this respect, his photographs can be seen as a pre-figuration of the "New Colour" of photographers such as Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, which received widespread acclaim in the 1970s, and the work of contemporary Vancouver photographers such as Roy Arden, Arni Haraldsson, Karin Bubas and Christos Dikeakos.
Herzog has been active in Vancouver's art scene for more than forty years, while working as a medical photographer from 1957 to 1990. During that time he participated in group exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery and UBC Fine Arts Gallery (now the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery). This exhibition is the first to examine Herzog's overall body of work and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book co-published by Douglas & McIntyre.
Presenting Sponsor: Aymong Family Trust