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Malaspina Printmakers is pleased to present A.Y. Jackson Was Here, an exhibition of work by Jenn Jackson and Mitch Mitchell. This exhibition looks at three very different representations of Fort McMurray, Alberta: a reproduction of A.Y. Jackson’s “Fort McMurray” (1928), Jenn Jackson’s prints of her collection of hundreds of order slips gathered while working as a cocktail waitress in Fort McMurray, and Mitch Mitchell’s photo-intaglio prints derived from miniature landscapes that he constructed after visiting the Fort McMurray Tar Sands Project.
In 1928, just prior to the implementation of technologies to extract oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands, A.Y. Jackson accompanied Dr. Frederick Banting and James Mackintosh Bell on their travel by rail to a small town close to Fort McMurray, before embarking on a voyage by boat along the Athabasca and Slave Rivers to the Arctic. A.Y. Jackson’s painting depicts an early settlement in the area: a teepee of the native Cree inhabitants in the foreground and a number of wooden houses in the background in soft colour and subdued light.
Over 90 years later, Mitch Mitchell’s suite of photo-intaglio prints are developed in loose response to the sensory and subconscious memories evoked by the time he spent in and around the present day sites of the Tar Sands Project in Fort McMurray. Mitchell’s prints present eerie and evocative aerial views of ambiguous landscapes. The spaces are stripped of any visible reference to human habitation. Mitchell’s landscapes are created and controlled during the construction and photographing of miniature tableaus, and modified through digital manipulation and photo-intaglio printing.
Jenn Jackson’s “Orders” (2010) is a strikingly different, yet poignant representation of contemporary life in Fort McMurray. Jackson’s collections of restaurant order slips are compiled in a minimalist grid punctuating the opportunity for choice and variation within the established structure. Upon close examination of the larger whole one is able to see the human presence in the city represented through the excessive consumption documented in the orders.
Jenn Jackson was born in 1983 in Edmonton, Alberta. Between 2005 and 2010 she studied at the Emily Carr University, Vancouver and at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York in 2007. In 2010 she became curator of Lucky’s Gallery, Vancouver. Jackson currently lives and works in Vancouver.
Mitch Mitchell is an inter-media based print artist from Illinois, USA. He recently completed his MFA at the University of Alberta in Printmaking and received his BFA from Illinois State University in Painting and Printmaking. His work has shown across Canada and Internationally. He is currently teaching Printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
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