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John Massey: Driven to Distraction

John Massey Daybreak 2005

John Massey’s photo suite This Land (The Photographs) shows a wry sense of humour about our contemporary relationship to the landscape. Each of the photos presents a glimpse of water, sky or forest as seen through the windows of a luxury car; the camera foregrounds upscale leather upholstery and phallic stick-shift designs. They are images of commodity culture mastery; the wan delicacy of the landscape can seem like an alien space beyond the comfort bubble of the car.

As images, these make us own up to our detached relationship with landscape, to the fact of how we now vector through terrain via structured, linear routes of roads and highways. We are in the driver’s seat of a world reduced to passing spectacle. The digital construction of these images offers an added exposition on photography’s own current relationship to reality. Appropriately, the exhibition also presents images from Massey’s Studio Projections, an innovative project dating from 1979 that prefigures projection installations and digital photography. (307-300 Campbell Ave, Toronto ON)

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