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Mark Gilbert: "Displacement"

Third Avenue Gallery, Vancouver
Nov 1, 2000 - Dec 2, 2000


Prozac Nation III (2000),
photograph

Mark Gilbert is a multifaceted Vancouver photographer with scores of brand-name clients to his credit. His work is considered to be of the highest technical quality. It is also highly sought for its simplicity and a Northern European starkness. His current popularity stems not from fast-time culture but from his Zen-like compositional skills. With their quiet sensibility, his images appeal, as he puts it, to a "less-indulgent and more educated eye". In this inaugural exhibit, peaceful and sedate photographs from Gilbert's personal collection are far from the digital montages that characterized much of 90s photography. The central element is the absence of colour: white car, white garage, white room, white woman. From minimalist compositions of inanimate objects, Gilbert's work has evolved to depictions of slightly bizarre and staged moments in contemporary Western culture. Each image is set in shadowless surroundings. He confronts us, for example, with an all-white kitchen bathed in pale-blue light; an elderly woman descending a staircase in a conveyor chair; a figure heading into misty smog on a beach. His subjects are infused with light even to the point where some risk washing away in atmospherics, leaving the photograph itself to become the subject matter.

© Mia Johnson