Site Specific, Johnson Street, Victoria
Victoria: A History in Layers . 2013
Artist Statement: Victoria: A History in Layers
My mission as an artist, whatever media I am using, has always been to inspire people to perceive the profound beauty that frequently hides in plain sight, dormant and ignored; to uncover new levels of meaning and mystery just beneath the surface of everyday reality; to discover a new way of seeing.
Lower Johnson street and its myriad alleys and nooks are walked upon daily by thousands of people who probably never notice, beneath their feet and in the walls around them, the rich texture of detail that brings to life this area’s exciting history. Waddington Alley, between Lower Johnson and Yates, for example, was built in 1858 during the Gold Rush. It has retained much of its history through the building materials used, including the Douglas fir blocks with which it was paved, the metal curb that edges the sidewalk, the clay bricks, granite, and so on. The buildings along here are more than 100 years old. On a single wall several layers of old peeling paint might juxtapose a swath of shockingly vibrant new blue; new wood and bricks rub shoulders with decaying vestiges of their brethren predecessors, along with crumbling masonry, creeping vines, hardy moss, and random clues and symbols from a bygone era.
My high definition macro photos, vividly displayed in strategically placed light-boxes, will initially surprise and intrigue the viewer, luring them into an adventure of the senses, a more tactile, visceral experience of familiar places, pulling them back in time then pushing them forward again, conjuring a sense of how varied and exciting this area was and still is. The intention is to render this iconic area subjective and personal, making the public feel a place they have passed by often, but never truly see.
Made possible by a 150 People and Places Grant with the support of the Greater Victoria Spirit Committee in partnership with the City of Victoria, the Province of BC and the Department of Canadian Heritage.