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5:30 P.M. TO 9 P.M

2 P.M.

PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY is pleased to present STATE OF FLUX, an exhibition of new work by photo-based and video artist CHERYL PAGUREK. The exhibition unfolds with photographic imagery and original video in three related components: State of Flux, River Suite, and Wave Patterns. The works dwell in the transitional, liminal spaces between natural and built environments, abstraction and representation, photography and painting, nature and culture. All employ water imagery within a conceptual framework to investigate the intersections between these dualities. As in her previous projects that presented the passage of time as being embodied in the flow of water, in these new works, water imagery encapsulates the idea of continual change.

Drawing on the evocative potential of water, each image in the State of Flux photographic series embraces the vitality of one particular instant. These unusual images reveal a paradoxical relationship to the “real.” Although each photograph captures a specific place and time that occurred in front of the camera, the resulting images transcend the familiar details and conventions of land- or waterscape to create newly abstracted worlds. While the medium of photography allows the distillation of gestures and forms that are otherwise blurred and imperceptible to the naked eye, these hyper-real photographs nonetheless have strong references to modernist painting in their abstraction and engagement with surface. The unidentified reflections remain ambiguous and enigmatic, as texture, colour, and movement evoke an intuitive response. In our accelerated world of perpetual change and quick perceptions, each work offers a moment to savour, plucked from the water’s constant state of flux for our prolonged contemplation.

In River Suite, twelve close-up photographs that capture the changing light effects in rippling waves are arranged in a matrix as a unified group; yet, we are always aware that the whole is made up of its constituent, diverse parts. In its conceptual approach and compositional process, the work explores the tensions and continuities between several dualities. Although informed by the idea that landscape, in its framing of our natural environment, is a cultural construct that developed with and in contrast to urbanization, River Suite nonetheless undermines traditional conventions of the genre. Instead of presenting a single view at a fixed moment from a detached, distant perspective, it creates a composite of multiple viewpoints that reveal the power and beauty of the water, constantly evolving over time. With no visible horizon or long view, the viewer is immersed in the water’s expanse. While documenting the particularities of location, the imagery nears abstraction in its celebration of colour, light, and form. The use of the grid, a structure of the built environment, imposes order onto the freely moving water, arranging the natural imagery into a composition.

In a related video, Wave Patterns, twelve video channels are arranged in a matrix of three channels high by four wide. Shot at several Canadian locations, each channel captures flowing water and its shifting reflections, colours, moods, and movements. Together they form an ever-changing tapestry as each video evolves itself and in concert with the others, beginning with a single channel and culminating in the full grid of twelve. Channels fade in and out individually and in groups as the rectangular grid pattern fluidly builds up, breaks down, and builds itself up again. Abstraction emerges in the colour and forms of the water imagery, as well as in the visual patterns created by the play of oscillating and fluctuating rectangles of video. By contrasting the free-flowing water with its containment within the ordered structure of the grid, the work explores the intersections between the natural world and the human impulse to build and make order. The audio track contributes to the work’s constructive process by building an unexpected soundscape of construction sounds; the noises of different tools are associated with the appearance of particular video channels according to the rhythm of the editing. In the relationships of its many parts to the whole, the video projection creates a dynamic choreography of change over time, simultaneously exploring both fragmentation and unity.

Wave Patterns will be screened in Toulouse, France as part of the festival Traverse Vidéo 2013 from March 13 to 29, 2013, in a program called "Videos of Canada" at le Musée des Abattoirs on March 16, 2013. In August and September 2012, Wave Patterns was also screened in Kingston and Saskatoon as part of Modern Fuel’s and AKA Gallery’s Square Pegs V: East/West screenings.

Cheryl Pagurek is a photo-based and video artist living in Ottawa, Ontario. She received an M.F.A. from the University of Victoria (1992). Since then her work has been shown extensively in galleries across Canada from Victoria to St. John’s, as well as in a commissioned project for Prefix Photo magazine (2004). Some of her recent exhibitions and screenings have been in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Montréal, and Chicago. Her video and light box installation Reflection and Flow was shown in 2009 in Montréal as part of Le Mois de la Photo, and in 2010 at Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery in Halifax. In 2010 she also launched the video Growing Pains and photographic series High Value Targets at Patrick Mikhail Gallery. She was awarded a Public Art Commission by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program in 2010; Currents, her LED video display for the Market Place Transit Station, was installed in May 2011. In 2012, in addition to participating in Ottawa’s inaugural Nuit Blanche with Flashcards, a collaborative video installation with Michèle Provost, she also completed several new bodies of work in photography and video. Her work can be found in numerous collections including Foreign Affairs Canada, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Library of the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and the City of Ottawa. Her work has been the subject of critical writing and analysis that has appeared in numerous Canadian, American, and British publications, including Ciel Variable, Vie des Arts, Canadian Art online, Next Level (UK), and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. She has received grants from the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Cheryl Pagurek gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the City of Ottawa.

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