Photo Research League - Exhibition 1, running from June 23 to 27, will host the league's members Ken Giles, Cyndra MacDowall, Brenda Francis Pelkey,and Reg Tucker for a reception and discussion, June 24, from 6 to 8 p.m., Artspeak Gallery, 1942 Wyandotte Street East.
The Photo Research League is a group of artists and researchers who aim to interrogate how photographs represent, interpret, and depict our changing world. Our visual investigations critically examine the current and evolving facets of photographic production and its many forms of exhibition. Our activities include presenting speakers, organizing workshops and exhibitions, and facilitating the publication of photographic essays (visually and textually) in digital and printed form.
The Photo Research League (PRL) considers the spectrum of photography, from traditional documentary photography to digital composite imaging, as a central aesthetic feature of the contemporary art experience. They appreciate the photograph as an adventure, an investigation, and a research avenue where new visual knowledge is discovered. This research collective functions, in part, as an enquiry locus to understand the changing cultural obsession through the photographic image. To this end, contemporary photographs reward us with a gratifying reassurance in our speeding lives. Consequently, the PRL is acutely passionate about a praxis-based research focus that respects the history of photographic imaging while seeking fresh insights into the digital philosophy of photography in the 21st century.
With its founding members Brenda Francis Pelkey, Ken Giles, Cyndra MacDowall, and Reggie Tucker, the PRL encourages the pursuit of new aesthetic photographic meaning within the ever-changing twists of personal and cultural value experienced in our intensely compressed everyday lives. As an art research group investigating novel photographic practices, we explore both the value of documentary experience and the experience of abstract significance found in both analogue and digital photography.
Ken Giles is a photographic artist and essayist on contemporary art. His photographic work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in England, Germany, Belgium, France, and across United States and Canada. His past and present essays have covered contemporary art that include practices with in conceptual photography, time-based aesthetics, and critical 21stneo-political art. Currently, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor and Graduate Faculty member with in the School of Creative Arts, University of Windsor. In July of this year, his new photographic work entitled, Miracle Mile In Time, 2015, is included in the Puzzles, Riddles, and Enigmas, alumni exhibition at Jean Paul Slusser Gallery, Stamps School of Art and Design, University of Michigan.
Cyndra MacDowall is an artist photographer who has shown nationally and internationally in artist centres and public galleries. Her photographs are published in numerous books and periodicals and are in the collections of important public institutions. Her work concentrates on issues of difference, community, identity and identification, through a variety of intersecting photographic forms and subject matter including: landscape, the built environment, portraiture and self-portraiture. Recent works look at family landscapes located in the traditional agricultural terrain of the matrilineal geography of Lindsay and Victoria County. This new work begins a visual investigation of the agricultural technology and architecture of greenhouse farming in the Leamington and Essex county area.
She completed her MFA in Photography at Concordia University, Montreal, in 1995 and her BAE (Bachelor of Art Education) at Queen’s University in 1977. She is currently an Associate Professor of Photography in the School of Creative Arts, University of Windsor.
Brenda Francis Pelkey was born in Kingston, Ontario. She moved to Saskatchewan in 1980, and became involved with the art community through venues such as Blackflash and the Photographers Gallery. In 1994, she completed her MFA at the University of Saskatchewan where she worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History until 2003. Brenda Francis Pelkey is now a Professor at the University of Windsor. Francis Pelkey has exhibited throughout Canada as well as Scotland, France, Germany, Checzkoslovakia, Finland and England. Her works appear in numerous collections such as the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, the Art Bank, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Dunlop Art Gallery, Confederation Centre for the Arts, and The National Gallery of Canada. Since completing “…the great effect of the imagination on the world,” in 1989 she has had a number of solo exhibitions: “dreams of life and death” (1994), Momento Mori (1996), Oblivion (1999), As if there were grace (2000), Haunts (2001), Hierophony (2003) and Spaces of Transformation(2004) and Threshold (2005) and numerous group exhibitions.
Reggie Tucker became a photojournalist after graduating with a degree in painting from Goldsmith’s School of Art, University of London (UK). His photographs of people are marked by a concern for the individual, culminating in the book about waiting: Seeing the Hours (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1996). He was the recipient of several national awards in the USA for his photographs and audiovisual presentations. In the UK he taught photography on the Photography In Art course at Swansea Metropolitan University.
My move to Canada in the late 1990s signalled a change in how I approach photography. I am particularly interested in the possibilities afforded by digital photography to extend the range of personal expression in photographs, especially in the way pixels allow for the flattening of the print surface, like a drawing or painting. Recent projects include Sky Fragments: Exploring personal emotional responses to the sky in a context which obscures the viewing of it and The Magic Grid: Manipulating pixels intuitively to create abstract images.