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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Admission always free

Today's hours
12 pm - 6 pm
3 Feb 12until15 Apr 12

Scott Massey

Aurorae | Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake)

CAG Façade and offsite at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station

A square of turquoise blue with a smattering of white specs resembling a starry sky. White text at the top reads “49 KODAK EKTAR 100 50.”

Scott Massey, Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake), 2011. Courtesy the artist.

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first major exhibition of Vancouver artist Scott Massey. With discrete works sited in the windows and at the Canada Line station, Massey links both locations through two new pieces dealing with shifts in notions of time and place connected through memory and association.

Typically Massey’s work often accentuates and amplifies natural phenomena, often heightened through artificial means or via slight manipulations. His interest in the boundary between the natural world and the urban landscape, and our perception as such, is exemplified in his ongoing photographic series Minor Incidents. Here Massey subtly moves one element within a found setting to shift the composition of the overall scene. For the front of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Massey has produced a new piece which draws our attention to something we think we know. By making an intervention into the volume of the existing window vitrines and their lighting, he creates a subtle animation of the façade. Using light itself as material, giving substance to the intangible, changes in intensity set the building in motion causing us to look again.

In Via Lactea (Above Glacier Lake) sited at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station of the Canada Line, Massey deftly combines 170 photos of the night sky on the same strip of film, achieved by making minor adjustments to the exposure over a lengthy period of time. Even though the image is artificially constructed, the luminous pattern of the starry night-time sky retains its convincingly poetic expanse while throwing into question the veracity of a photographic image. Its blueness is much closer to that of a bright, sunny day and as such it links to the location whereby it greets passengers as they arrive or depart at the station. By linking notions of celestial navigation – wayfaring – to more contemporary means of travel, Via Lactea throws into flux a consideration of temporality and site.


Scott Massey lives and works in Vancouver. He studied photography at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Solo exhibitions across Canada include Topologies and Limits, CSA Space, Vancouver (2011); Swan Song, Luminato Box, Toronto (2009); Minor Incidents, Werner Whitman Gallery, Montreal (2007); and Spill 01: Collapse, Artspeak, Vancouver (2004). Massey has also participated in Before and After, Contact Photography Festival, Toronto (2010) and Arte Laguna, Venice (2010). His work is in private and public collections including Visual Art Collection, Office of Foreign Affairs, Canada; the Rennie Collection, Vancouver and the Surrey Art Gallery.

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