Out of Sight at the Nanaimo Art Gallery
I’ve just returned from the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s current show, Out of Sight, a Vancouver Art Gallery touring exhibition of the works of Eadweard Muybridge and Harold Edgerton. Both photographers were fascinated by our subjective perception of motion, choosing to freeze time in order to show what the eye cannot see. For the Victorian Muybridge, this involved serial stop-action photos, precursors of the flip cards, or, more importantly for me, of the Looney Tunes animated cartoons of my childhood. Ironically, the work of the artist, Muybridge, focusing as it does on the mechanics of motion, seems more scientific than the work of the scientist, Edgerton, focusing on one frozen millionths of a second in time, to create images of unimagined beauty.
Where both these photographers have captured rapid motion, be it galloping horse or flying bullet, I have occasionally tried to document another type of motion in another two dimensional medium, watercolour. The resulting triptychs— a horse chestnut unfolding its spiky seedcase, or a brilliant bouquet of tulips twisting and wilting—create images of the slow passage of time.