Visitors to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s gallery 23:42 series can expect to be be dazzled by Robert Irwin’s photographs, the first of which, “Mirror/Undulating Backline,” is on view now. Irwin, a pioneer of immersive art who gained renown for his unconventional optical technologies, including a piezoelectric camera, continues his mastery with his latest work, through which he excavates aspects of our everyday experience from our minds to emerge with visual imaginings of the spaces, as well as the ongoing relationships between people and the environment.
With this exhibition, Irwin looks at how visual language is used to communicate empathy and concern, and re-imagines contemporary relationship with the forms of space and light, as an extension of his meditation on human relationships over 40 years. Irwin paints spatial processes using lights, sounds, and a very sophisticated optical technique. In the exhibition, pieces from his gallery 23:42 series from 2003 to 2018 include “Terminal 3,” “The Playground” and the double-height “Walkway 1,” which looks to be one of the most compelling works in the exhibition.
When we sat down to chat with Irwin, during a preview of his work from “Mirror/Undulating Backline,” the artist recalled that a lifelong obsession with relationships between humans and the world drove him toward his new career in art. Reflecting on his current trajectory, he told us he uses his photography to explore how light plays out on surfaces and how little is really reflected from the stage.
Robert Irwin’s exhibitions will be on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery until September 1.