In the age of Instagram feeds flooded with tiny online versions of epic landscapes, Sea to Sky Art House’s new Exposed exhibition offers a look at art and adventure in full-size glory.
Curator Caitlin Aboud said the exhibition, which opened June 23, was meant to draw in art lovers as well as the outdoor-loving crowd that isn’t always drawn to the gallery setting.
”It’s outdoor artwork,” she said. “The reason I called it exposed is because when you’re outdoor climbing, it usually means you’re right over a cliff, you see quite a bit and you’re quite high up. I wanted a lot of the work to embody that feeling.”
The resulting exhibition features work from several international big-name outdoor adventure photographers, including Chris Burkard and Pablo Durana.
Epic photographs of climbers, surfers and alpinists hang alongside painting and digital illustrations of green ferns, forests and mountains – including local depictions of Squamish.
Exposed features a variety of subjects and art forms, heavy in photography but also including reproductions of outdoor-inspired digital illustrations and oil paintings. The gallery also offers more approachable art forms – including stickers and smaller-scale art cards.
While Exposed features big names from around the world, a number of the feature artists are locals.
Familiar mountain and forest subject matter is featured by Squamish-based painters Jessa Gilbert and Jenna Robinson. Squamish-based expedition photographer Paul Bride and Vancouver-based travel photographer Taylor Burk are also included.
“I hope people take away the fact that there is a space for current art in Squamish and there is so much talent in town, this is a place for them to show their work,” said Aboud.
Some of the works in the gallery, like Chris Burkard’s epic surf photo “Aleutian Perfection” or Jeremy Koreski’s aerial forest “Peak Old Growth” might give some visitors deja vu, having been well-publicized online and in print.
But while plenty of people enjoy outdoor photography as an art form on the computer or smartphone screen, Aboud points out that seeing large-format works printed and framed in a gallery is a different experience.
Photos on a smartphone screen are small and backlit, and the image is fleeting when it’s part of a casual scroll.
While most of the established photographers contacted for the exhibition had professional experience selling prints, for others who have worked exclusively online, the experience was brand new.
“The photographers who have never set up in a gallery, it was definitely a learning curve for them,” said Aboud.
Opening night drew close to 450 people to the small gallery on Cleveland Avenue.
Aboud put together the exhibition in a month-and-a-half, which included rebranding the space, formerly known as the Inspired Squamish gallery.
The Sea to Sky Art House has a different appeal, she said.
“I wanted to make it approachable and unique. I’ve been to B.C. small-town galleries, and a lot are very scattered landscape paintings or the same thing repeatedly,” she said.
Exposed will run until mid-July.