Campbell River Museum - The Last Stand
Campbell River Museum
The Last Stand
June 22 - November 9, 2019
Official events around this exhibition will occur in September during 50 Degrees; Art & Earth Festival. Dates TBA.
The concept ‘presence of absence’ is one that permeates through all of the arts.
The art of photography presents an interesting tension – the camera is generally regarded as an instrument that captures what is physically before it, yet the resulting image is also suggestive of events or emotions not physically seen. This balance between presence and absence highlights the unsettled and shifting nature of a photograph.
David Ellingsen’s work is very much situated within this tension. The subject matter of his work covers a wide range of interests: weather patterns, light cycles, forests, coastline and self-portraiture. Most of the work is located along the coast of British Columbia, his home terrain. Excerpts from his series ‘The Last Stand’ are being presented in the Museum as a living document and testimonial to early logging on his home property on Cortes Island.
The images are a captured moment within the current state of the forest. They contain the remains of old growth trees, now sitting as decaying stumps. Also shown are the tools used in past logging activity. Ellingsen frames them as portraits, examining the individual character of each subject.
Yet Ellingsen speaks of intersections and conflicts within this photographic series. The composition of the photographs, combined with Ellingsen’s memories of growing up in this forest, create images that are also imbued with childhood reflections. The series suggests the mystical and unnerving nature of these remnants from past logging activity. Not only is the memory of old logging contained within these portraits, but so is a child’s spooked observation from years past, alongside an adult’s discomfort in the present. As portraiture, the images are a complex and unsettling witness to a fading history - a history still present but evolving, growing and transforming with time.
To visit these forests is in a sense to walk with ghosts. The photographs, documenting the current state of the forest, also contain the presence of unseen spirits.
Public Program Manager, Museum at Campbell River
Executive Director, Campbell River Arts Council