Throughout his career, Iain Baxter& has challenged ideas about what art is and what it does. Using everyday objects and processes, Baxter& creates works that engage audiences in contemporary social, political and environmental issues. One of Canada’s most recognized conceptual artists, Baxter& has been taking photographs since the 1950s. While many aspects of his practice have been well documented, especially his N.E. Thing projects with Ingrid Baxter, his straight photographs remain largely unknown. Passing Through includes colour prints, polaroids and duratrans taken between 1958 and 1983, most of which have never been exhibited.
Informed by the notion of driving a car as a manifestation of consciousness in North American culture, most of these photographs were taken as Baxter& traveled across Canada. His photographic oeuvre, seen in its entirety, functions as a fragmented narrative punctuated by digressions and distractions. Strangers and friends, forbidding industrial sites and backyard parties, expansive natural landscapes and smalltime road attractions reveal the breadth of the Canadian experience during this critical period.
From the early 1960s to the mid-1980s, Baxter& lived in Vancouver. This exhibition will situate his practice in relation to the development of photography on the West Coast, where he worked concurrently to artists such as Ian Wallace, Jeff Wall and Christos Dikeakos.
The recipient of many awards, Baxter& received the Order of Canada in 2003, a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Order of Ontario in 2004 and the Molson Prize in 2005. He is the 2006 winner of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation Prize. His work is included in most major collections of Canadian art, as well as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum and the Gemeentemuseum (The Hague). Baxter& changed his name to include the ampersand.
Esso Station, North Vancouver, British Columbia, 1967. Chromira print, 148.0 × 106.7 cm.
Pipes, North Vancouver, British Columbia, 1968. Chromira print, 49.5 x 72.4 cm.
3 Minute Photos, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1967. ##Chromira print, 106.7 x 148.0 cm.