The high ceilings and large display rooms at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) are currently home to the stunning Dynamic Landscape exhibit, a Scotiabank CONTACT main event.
Dynamic Landscape features four international artists (Olga Chagaoutdinova, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Viviane Sassen, and Dayanita Singh) whose photographs “reveal the shifting relationship between figure and ground”. Each artist’s voice is clearly present as a walk around the gallery takes the observer from life in sun-scorched Africa to death in Canada’s frozen north, the orange hued streets of India, to Russia’s multi-coloured, modest interiors.
Chagaoutdinova’s takes us into living rooms and bedrooms crawling with plants and unique configurations of leopard print wall hangings and boxy digital clocks. You can smell a bit of dust and dampness.
Hooft Graafland’s mixture of wide open Arctic spaces are jarringly off-set by the presence of polar bear death and blood and intestines. There is an uneasiness to this series, seeing a butchered polar bear sending brutal shock to anyone who knows they are endangered.
I was slightly less engaged by Singh’s display of India. I was surprised because it is a destination that I would imagine a range of colours and texture and emotion greater than the over-saturated orange and cement.
Amsterdam photographer Sassen’s images are an exercise an attention to the colour consistency. Each photo in the exhibit containing a similar shade of ultra-violet blue laced around the dark flesh of her subjects. I spent a great deal of time peering into the eyes of those photographed. I felt very white and rural with the excitement that I was allowed to gaze so not-at-all intimidated into the eyes of someone so foreign to myself.
Indeed an exciting and interesting exhibit showing large collections that allow us to really get in depth with the artist.