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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
22 Jan 21until22 Aug 21

Nicole Kelly Westman

muddled mirage of memories escaping encapsulation

CAG Façade

A photograph showing diffuse orange light dappled with shadows against a reddish brown background. The warm light forms a loose rectangular shape with undefined borders in the centre of the image.

Nicole Kelly Westman, muddled mirage of memories escaping encapsulation (process image), 2020.

The practice of Nicole Kelly Westman is anchored in an ongoing concern with the conditions of image-making. Although Westman only occasionally uses cameras or produces anything akin to a photograph, her work deftly engages the tools, techniques and principles of photography to question the objectivity of the recorded moment.

Light, in particular, is an essential collaborator for Westman. The glow of a sunbeam filtered through treetops; a city street at night, awash in the haze of sodium vapour lamps; the chromatic brilliance of a sunset: light for Westman is an opportunity to index the energies and intimacies that constitute any given moment and the ways in which it is perceived, documented and assigned meaning.

In muddled mirage of memories escaping encapsulation, Westman presents a series of three works across CAG’s façade windows, each of which nods to the ways memory is shaped, staged and recalled. Referencing the backdrop, the mirror, the gel, and the cucoloris — each used in the photographic process to produce “ideal” images — these works offer a patient counterpoint to the fixity of the standalone photograph, drawing our attention to the felt structures found in light and shadow, sentiments that often elude being captured, shot, or taken.


Nicole Kelly Westman is a visual artist of Métis and Icelandic descent that recognizes with indebted gratitude the artists that came before her and strenuously forged space, the curators that place care at the fore of their labour, the communities that foster confidence in her practice, and the institutions and organizations that implement policies prefacing relations of trust. As an artist, she enjoys practices of listening, watching, hosting, poeticizing, foraging, and sharing.