“View from the Edge” – Curator’s Statement

“View From The Edge”  –  The Limnology Project   

Thunder Bay Art Gallery Exhibition – with works by Klaus Rossler, September 25  –  November 15, 2009 

Limnology, by definition, is the study of physical, chemical, meteorological and biological conditions of bodies of fresh water. by that token, many artists in the region can be said to be limnologists. They observe and record responses to those same conditions. This Limnology Project presents Klaus Rossler from the North Superior region, who is so inclined. 

Landscape interests have strong purchase here. As citizens of Thunder Bay, we all hold that a special consciousness is ours in the splendor of isolation. Nature exerts its thrall just steps from our front doors. In the North Superior region, our eyes seem continually drawn to fresh water and its contiguities: shore, cliff, shimmer, and sky regardless of season or time of day.

The rugged simplicity synonymous with Group of Seven was consonant with our national ethos ninety years ago, but their influence has been an inhibition of the genre on the intervening decades. In the 1960’s abstraction forced art in a different direction. Happenstance, not hostility, saw the theory-heavy approaches of the 1980’s and 1990’s evade pictorial landscape. At times, it has been difficult to find landscapes unattached to political correct images of pollution, industrial degradation, the depravity of resource pillaging, or moralistic social provocation. Even more ironically, landscape interests waned as the environmental movement blossomed. The function of landscape to lend perspective to space seemed totally eclipsed.

This week, as the G 20 leaders convene in Pittsburgh to do their No-You-First Dances and global warming continues apace, it seems even more imperative to champion a genre that supports us, individually and collectively, to contemplate the natural world around us and our relation to it. Fortunately for us, Klaus Rossler’s exhibition here represents a focused attention that cannot but bolster our private environmental considerations. Being concerned with beauty, he is committed to health.

Klaus Rossler’s photo-based reflections can all be seen to represent aspects of our own physical contexts, our own perceptions, and the necessary focus of our own ecological concerns. Viewers will find resonance in their tender observations and careful interpretations. Klaus Rossler’s “View From The Edge” may have started as an examination of Nipigon Lake, but it seems now less about the objectivity of the camera lens, and far more about his personal feelings and the emotions of the mind behind the lens. Adhering to the lineage of B&W, which is every photographers heritage, his “Longing” series is a highly evocative statement about those distant unattainable places that seem to afflict our memory. Avalon, the inaccessible Isle of the Blessed, a mirage of perfection, secluded and sublime, is separated from the viewers by turbulent waters. The chill of foreboding, the shadow of doubt, seem to hang in the air. In other images, the whisper of tall grasses and shiver of sands pulled by the ebbing waves, become almost audible. The molten, undulating shimmer of foliage gets cast down to luminous lake. 

The responsibility of the artist to present us is amply fulfilled here by Klaus. Quietly, lovingly, he attends to the world around him, caring for himself and for the land on which his community abides. For me these are all images of indwelling, of Being Here Now.

On behalf of Board of Directors, Sharon Godwin, and staff of the TBAG, and on behalf of your respective communities, I thank you for your work and show.

Glenn Allison  –  Curator, Thunder Bay Art Gallery

View images of the exhibition Here


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