September 5—October 6, 2019
The Scholar’s Study
Opening reception: Friday, September 6th | 6-8pm
Carol Sawyer’s exhibition, The Scholar’s Study, focuses on video and photographs that were taken while the artist was clearing out her parent’s residence, several years after both had passed. The contents of Sawyer’s father’s desk drawers and his inventory of Plexiglas stands used to display various objects of study are the chief protagonists in the work – which is, in essence, a kind of fragmentary and poetic portrait in absentia.
The visual strategies Sawyer is employing take their cues from her father’s scholarly activity as an art historian, which he described as akin to a “being a detective”: a process of gathering clues and piecing together fragments in order to understand the past. Through a non-linear and poetic examination of his study, Sawyer wishes to invite the viewer to consider larger questions of how we understand the world through observation, the visual pleasure of looking, the fleeting nature of memory, and the inevitability of loss.
Carol Sawyer is an accomplished Vancouver-based visual artist and singer working predominately with photography, video, installation, and improvised music. Since the early 1990s her work has been concerned with the connections between photography and fiction, performance, memory and history. Her ongoing project The Natalie Brettschneider Archive has been shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and at Carleton University Art Gallery. Sawyer was awarded the 2017 Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The artist gratefully acknowledges The British Columbia Arts Council, The Contemporary Art Gallery, Robert Marks, Michael O’Connell, and Kimberly Philips for their support of this project, as well as the artists who contributed to various aspects of video production: Erika Annette Rannali, Laurance Playford-Beaudet, Victoria Furuya, and Olive Kosheluk.