April 1, 2021 - Capture Photography Festival - Pictures and Promises
April 1, 2021

Capture Photography Festival / Vancouver Art Gallery

Vikky Alexander, Obsession #3, 1983. Silver gelatin print, vinyl type, coloured Plexiglas. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, gift of the artist.

Pictures and Promises
February 20–September 6, 2021

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street
Vancouver BC V6Z 2H7

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As a Featured Exhibition in Capture Photography Festival, Pictures and Promises is presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and is drawn from the Gallery’s rich photographic holdings. The exhibition focuses on lens-based works that employ the structures, conventions and formal qualities used in commercial culture, mass media, fashion and advertising. The works then deploy these strategies to play on collective understandings of the world around us and to investigate the iconography of consumerism.

The title of this exhibition directly refers to the 1981 exhibition of the same name: Pictures and Promises: A Display of Advertisings, Slogans and Interventions, curated by artist Barbara Kruger. On view at the Kitchen Center for Video and Music in New York from January 8 to February 5, 1981, the exhibition combined advertisements, television commercials, posters, commercial photography and corporate signage with works of art, proposing that the ways in which “artists have chosen to engage the codes of advertising aesthetics suggests the ease of popular visual language.” Due to the inherent relationship between photography and reproduction, lens-based works are uniquely positioned to make visible the representation and repetition reinforced by the commercial realm. By discreetly or overtly referencing commercial advertising, artists in this exhibition offer an analysis of the ways in which images function in society and that meaning is created and disseminated.

Pictures and Promises speaks to the pervasive nature of lens-based images in society at large and the importance of visual literacy and critical analysis in reading those images. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Vancouver Art Gallery in presenting this exhibition and we are truly grateful for their collaborative spirit. It was a joy to work with their rich photographic holdings,” states Emmy Lee Wall, Executive Director, Capture Photography Festival.

“In an increasingly visual and digital world, it is both fascinating and important to understand the often subtle and coded role of images in creating knowledge,” explains Anthony Kiendl, CEO and Director, Vancouver Art Gallery. “This is a timely and valuable exploration of the ways images, words and art intersect and transform information into meaning.”

The exhibition features local, national and international lens-based artists and includes a broad selection of artwork from both historical and contemporary periods. Featured artists include Vikky Alexander, Eugène Atget, Hannah Collins, Audrey Capel Doray, Walker Evans, Gu Xiong, Richard Hamilton, Barbara Kruger, Ken Lum, Yasumasa Morimura, Andy Warhol and Zhang O, among others.

Pictures and Promises is on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery from February 20, 2021 to September 6, 2021.

Pictures and Promises is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery in collaboration with Capture Photography Festival and Co-curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art, and Emmy Lee Wall, Executive Director, Capture Photography Festival.

An exhibition essay by Grant Arnold will be available in the Capture Catalogue and online at www.capturephotofest.com.

Capture Photography Festival runs from April 2–30, 2021 in Metro Vancouver and includes two featured exhibitions, several selected exhibitions and public art projects.

Major support from: The Audain Foundation

About Capture Photography Festival
Launched in 2013, Capture Photography Festival is Western Canada’s largest lens-based festival. Capture’s vision is to connect Vancouver to the world through lens-based art and it is devoted to presenting compelling and urgent work by local and international artists annually. Each April, photography and lens-based art is exhibited at dozens of galleries and other venues throughout Metro Vancouver as part of the exhibition program, alongside an extensive public art program, a youth-oriented learning program, and an events program that spans tours, films, artist talks, and community events.

About Vancouver Art Gallery
Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery is recognized as one of North America’s most respected and innovative visual arts institutions. The Gallery’s ground-breaking exhibitions, extensive public programs and emphasis on advancing scholarship all focus on historical and contemporary art from British Columbia and around the world. Special attention is given to the accomplishments of Indigenous artists, as well as to those of the Asia Pacific region—through the Institute of Asian Art founded in 2014. The Gallery’s exhibitions also explore the impact of images in the larger sphere of visual culture, design and architecture.

Media inquiries: info [​at​] capturephotofest.com

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