MICHAEL LEVIN MEMENTO
Opening Reception: Thursday January 22, 5 – 8 PM
For the first time in six years Michael Levin is exhibiting in Vancouver. The recipient of numerous awards, including International Fine Art Photographer of the Year and Nature Photographer of the year in 2006 and twice the recipient of France’s PX3 Prix de Photographie, his new work introduces three spectacular circular prints: Canal Boats, Harvest Moon – Provence and Mendocino. These are an intriguing salute to the original Kodak No. 1 camera which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary with the release of a collection of original black and white circular prints. The popular format was designed by Kodak founder George Eastman to make photography accessible to the amateur.
Levin’s shift from B&W to colour takes a fresh approach to the circular format. The sheer size of the prints, at 50 inches in diameter, is impressive. As in his previous work, Levin plays with spatial relationships and light. His use of serialization combined with reflection creates a dreamscape in every image. Capturing the natural patterns of the elements and human activity Levin creates work reminiscent of porcelain painting or Turner’s pastoral scenes. He describes himself as an admirer of 19th century landscape painting with a modernist outlook.
The Tuileries Fountain, 2013, measuring 48 x 72 inches and rectangular in shape, suggests the nostalgia of a lightly tinted Victorian postcard. As the viewer is drawn into the image the geometric shapes and repeated forms are reflected in the fountain’s basin and drift in an ethereal morning haze giving life to the surrounding statues and infusing awe with a splash of fuschia foliage slightly off centre in the frame. Masterful in his use of colour, Levin’s minimalistic sensibility takes us on a journey to discover the variations in light and dimensions of positive and negative space beckoning us to look ever deeper.
Levin’s world travels have produced a limited number of prints. The contemplative quality of these images is a testament to the artist’s patience and search for perfection. The circular format suggests an ancient world view of the cycle of life. The thoughtful arrangement of the images creates a blend of organic and inorganic, old and new, an oil and water effect that truly reflects life’s dichotomies.
Memento is on view from January 22 through to February 21, 2015.