Curated by: Helga Pakasaar
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 7, 3PM
Artist in attendance
Presentation House Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition that showcases photographs by the celebrated Vancouver artist Liz Magor. As suggested by the title that references Rousseau’s ideas about social freedom, A Thousand Quarrels reflects her longstanding preoccupation with shelters and wilderness refuge.
For this exhibition Magor has drawn on her extensive photographic archive of shacks and provisional huts found in the West Coast landscape. Her eye for these vernacular forms of improvised necessity reveal the inventiveness of their inhabitants who have recycled the detritus of previous economies. Yet, as her images suggest, the lure of social retreat and independence is not without its perils. These shelters speak of the vulnerabilities of isolation. Magor's work draws out the subtle politics of conflict lingering in cultural myths of autonomy and utopic escape. As Lisa Robertson writing on Magor's shacks has described, “the city is the shack inside out…If architecture is writing, the shack is speech. Like a folksong, it stores a vernacular. What is the minimum necessary?”
For her exhibition, Magor has created a new photographic work that refers to the psychological need for a sense of protection. In addition to images of shelters in the wilderness are photographs of back-to-the land campers enacting various lifestyles. The series Karl’s Castle of 2003 documents a fantastical tourist attraction on the remote island of Cortes where the artist has a second home. Built by a former Hungarian wrestling champion, mostly out of salvaged materials, Magor highlights the uncanny quality of the faux interiors of this medieval-style fortress.
Liz Magor has been exhibiting since the early 1970s and has participated in major exhibitions worldwide, including the 4th Biennale of Sydney, 1982; the Venice Biennale, 1984 and Documenta VII, 1987. She has studied at the University of British Columbia, Parsons School of Design and the Vancouver School of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include Triangle France, Marseille, 2013; The Mouth and other storeage facilities, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle and Simon Fraser University Gallery, Vancouver, 2008; and Liz Magor, The Power Plant, Toronto, 2003, among many others. Magor has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Audain Prize, 2009 and the Governor General’s Award, 2001. She is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver and Susan Hobbs, Toronto.