February 14—March 19, 2009
Paintball: Urban War Game Landscapes
Republic Gallery is pleased to present an intriguing new series of vibrant, large-scale landscape photographs by Jim Breukelman.
In 2008 Breukelman visited the site of ‘North Shore Paintball’ in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Depicted is a self-contained environment unlike anything else Breukelman has encountered. It is a place where good friends put aside daily routines to stalk and shoot at each other in games such as ‘Elimination’, ‘King Of The Hill’, and ‘Capture The Flag’. The player/combatants wear full-face masks, neck guards, and protective clothing because the impact of paintballs—traveling at up to ninety-one metres per second—can be wicked, raising painful welts. The balls that miss their intended targets end up hitting cover such as tree trunks, walls of old tires, and wooden bunkers, creating a hap-hazard, abstract landscape colour-smacked with splats of paint. Although the action is fluid and unpredictable, there are rules of engagement, and strategy plays a large part in shaping the events that occur. Some people see this activity as a trivialization of gun-violence and war. Those who take part in it see it as an exciting sport or game that hurts no one. Whatever one’s point of view is, it cannot be denied that this sport reflects the times we live in.