The ArtReach exhibition Perfectly Bright presents photographs taken by grade 12 students from Citadel High School in response to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia exhibition, Perfect Brightness: Discovery and Escape in Contemporary Photography. This exhibition features photographs from the Gallery’s Permanent Collection and is based in so-called “straight” photography or practices that attempt to depict a scene or subject in sharp focus and detail, commensurate with the qualities that distinguish photography as a discipline from other visual media, particularly painting.
The Citadel High students visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and toured Perfect Brightness with ArtReach artist and photographer Tim Brennan (who also has work in the exhibition). They then used digital cameras to capture their own images using techniques employed by the Perfect Brightness photographers under the guidance of Brennan and their art teacher, Michelle Bruce.
ArtReach is an educational partnership between the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Education. This initiative is designed to extend and enrich Gallery programs throughout the province by offering workshops for teachers and students, exhibitions of student artwork, and school curriculum links and resources online.
Question identity, sexuality, and the seeming futility of existence as you experience The Light Fantastic.
Recalled from John Milton’s poem of 1645, this line, while seeming to extoll a light and bright dance, is rooted in heavier political movements and questions about the nature of existence. Artist still ask these kinds of questions. Working in neon, video, print, paint and photography, artists in this exhibition dance with history and own their place in the world.
In an anxious political climate, compounded by challenging questions of nationality, indigenization and sexual identity, artists in this exhibition set forward with urgency to shine a greater light on uncomfortable issues.
The title seems almost a misnomer but a look at work from three eras reveals some startling congruency between prints made in Paris during the development of Art Deco in the first quarter of the last century; and, in Halifax, theatre designs by Marjorie Tozer early in the second quarter, and later designs for street and stage by Robert Doyle in the last quarter of the century.
The exhibition has been made possible by the generous donation of many Parisian prints by Arthur M Smith, former Librarian at the Royal Ontario Museum, who prepared the exhibition ‘Chevalier du Bracelet’ : George Barbier and His Illustrated Works, for the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2013. The prints by George Barbier and his colleagues in Paris served an elite clientele on both sides of the Atlantic. In a changing society that felt threatened by industry and technology they took delight in classical Graeco-Roman, Baroque, and other historical periods, as well as the exoticism of the Ballets Russes. Living in a world increasingly overtaken by technology, Tozer and Doyle found expression in that same escape from the commonplace.
Utagawa Hiroshige (1797—1858) was a master of the traditional Japanese Ukiyo—e, a genre of art showing the thriving life of the Japanese middle class in the Edo period. During the Edo period the Tōkaidō was Japan’s main highway. It linked the two capitals, Tokyo, then called Edo, and Kyoto. In view of the road’s importance, stages or stations were set up at strategic points where the traveller could find lodging, meals, and entertainment. Having travelled the Tōkaidō in 1831, Utagawa Hiroshige created a series of prints showing the fifty-three stages as well as the points of departure and arrival.