The Charles H. Scott Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Canadian poet Peter Culley.
Culley lives and works in a district on the periphery of Nanaimo, British Columbia known as Area A. Within Area A’s boundaries are suburbs, reserves, forests, farms, rivers, railroad tracks, used car lots, grow-ops, abandoned roads, a pulp mill, landfills, beaver ponds and trailer parks. Walking every day with his dog and a waterproof point and shoot camera, Culley records these interstitial spaces in images of a passionate and sometimes lurid intensity that owe as much to the science fictions of J.G. Ballard, Robert Smithson and Andrei Tarkovsky as the Canadian landscape tradition, in which the apocalypse is as much an unseen presence as the whine of trucks on the Island Highway.
The vast accumulation of photographs documenting Culley’s walks have been compiled and displayed in the form of a blog Mosses from an Old Manse but have not been presented within an exhibition context prior to this show. The selection of images presented in Area A reverses the normative process whereby photographs are first produced for physical presentation and then uploaded to the internet. Instead, a substantial number of Culley’s images have been harvested from the thousands on his blog and presented in a curated gallery installation. Like his photographs, Culley’s latest book of poetry Parkway (2013) completes his Hammertown trilogy, a text-based portrayal of the landscape surrounding the poet’s home, that includes the books The Age of Briggs & Stratton (2008) and Hammertown (2002), all published by Newstar Books.
Culley is the author of the major prose essay that comprises the book To the Dogs (Arsenal Pulp Press/Presentation House Gallery). He has written critical texts on the artwork of Stan Douglas, Kevin Schmidt, Claudia Hart, Geoffrey Farmer and Kelly Wood.