2013 Campus Exhibitions

THE CLAIM | Nathan & Cedric Bomford

September 20, 2013 to January 11, 2014

webNanaimo Press ImageA multi-media exhibition, in which installation, sculpture, photography, and found-objects contest ideas of land-use, private property, and local history. With influences including carpentry, Constructivism, and Conceptualism, and using new and re-purposed wood, the Bomford's creatively "stake a claim" with a large interactive installation assembled on the exterior deck of the Gallery on the VIU campus.

With The Claim, Nathan and Cedric Bomford continue their collaborative exploration of Vancouver Island's history and geography, through the creation of large-scale constructions. Using found and reused materials, the brothers build installations that in the past have featured rooms, enclosed open spaces, and viewing platforms, all connected through various passageways—The Claim takes the form of mine pit-head. These works appear only partially finished, with designs that look both improvised and open-ended. There is a consistent play on scale in these works—reproducing in miniature whole buildings that fill to capacity gallery spaces. The results are disorientating. These are interactive works that visitors enter, rather than stand back and observe. It is this physical motion, this passage through the art that is critical to uncovering meanings. The structures determine and pace our movements, direct our eyes, confuse our sense of scale, and highlight the role of space in social interactions and experiences. In presenting spaces in this way, the Bomfords expose the relations of power that lie just beneath the surface of everyday life, and yet which determine so much of its shape.

Nathan Bomford (b. 1977) is currently based in Shawnigan Lake, BC.  He works mainly in photography and installation, and has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Germany and across Canada. Much of his recent work has been completed in collaboration with his brother Cedric Bomford and his father Jim Bomford. Nathan received an MFA from the University of Victoria (2006), a BFA with a major in photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2003), and a DipVA from Camosun College (2001).  
Cedric Bomford (b. 1975) currently teaches at the University of Manitoba's School of Art. His installation and photographic work has been exhibited internationally and he has participated in residencies in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. His work often focuses on the power dynamics established by constructed spaces and takes the form of large-scale rambling improvisational architectural installations. The projects follow a methodology he calls ‘thinking through building’ in which construction takes on an emergent quality rather than an illustrative one. Concurrent to this installation work is a rigorous photographic practice that oscillates between research for and documentation of the installation works.  Cedric holds an MFA from the Malmö Art Academy (2007) and a BFA from Emily Carr University (2003).

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Provisionally Yours

September 20 to October 19
Lower Gallery

Adverb: subject to further confirmation; for the time being
Synonyms: temporarily, short-term, pro tem, for the interim, for the present, for the time being, for now, for the nonce; subject to confirmation, conditionally, tentatively.

web2The VIU student exhibition Provisionally Yours was conceived in late 2012, as a companion project to the exhibition The Claim | Nathan and Cedric Bomford.  In early January 2013, in the context of a second year sculpture course (Arts 285), students were given an exciting opportunity to create sculptural works and display them in dialogue with The Claim. Students were encouraged to make work in response to the practices and materials used by Cedric and Nathan Bomford.

Through a series of lectures, discussions, and material experiments, students gained a greater understanding of the milieu that the Bomford brothers work in and draw inspiration from. This exploration included a field trip to the Bomford’s Deadhead project, under construction in a large temporary studio in Vancouver. In response to this field trip, students created a large-scale temporary site-specific sculpture in April 2013 on the exterior deck of the Gallery, the very site where the Bomford’s work would be installed.

This type of experiential learning allowed students to find their own connection and entry point into Bomford’s work. Students were cautioned not to simply make work like the Bomford’s, but work of their own making that responded and dialogued with the broader themes Cedric and Nathan explore. Similar aesthetics and material relationships to the Bomford project arose organically for the students as they explored themes of: temporary architecture, construction, power structures in the built environment, and experimentation and play in fabrication processes.

The title Provisionally Yours refers the experience of the students working temporarily and intensely on this theme. By definition, this dialogue between the two exhibitions is a contingent, and temporary exploration.The title also references the ephemeral nature of the temporary structures the Bomford’s draw inspiration from, and ultimately construct.

The experience of being a student is a kind of provisional experience as well, as it channels creative and critical energy in the temporary context of a given course, a chosen field of study, and a physical institutional space.

Jason Gress, Instructor, Arts 285


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