John-Paul Kelly, Figure-ground (Crash of Canadian Pacific Airlines, De Havilland Comet IA, CF-CUN, "Empress of Hawaii", Karachi), 2015

John-Paul Kelly, Figure-ground (Crash of Canadian Pacific Airlines, De Havilland Comet IA, CF-CUN, "Empress of Hawaii", Karachi), 2015

Olympic Village Station: Figure-ground (Crash of Canadian Pacific Airlines, De Havilland Comet IA, CF-CUN, “Empress of Hawaii”, Karachi)

Jean-Paul Kelly’s work challenges the notion of documentary images: how they are produced, how they circulate, and how we interpret and understand them. For this project, Kelly repeats a photograph of an original gouache painting across the facade of the station. The original painting, made by Kelly, is itself a reproduction that formally and subjectively translates a JPEG image of the 1953 plane crash in Karachi that killed his maternal grandfather, John Cooke. Cooke was a navigator for Canadian Pacific Air Lines and at the time lived with his family at 2006 West 48th Avenue in Kerrisdale.

Kelly found a photograph of the crash on a website about aviation history, and used this low-resolution image as the basis for his project. The gouache painting directly references Bridget Riley, whose op art paintings and drawings from the 1960s use repeating patterns of grids and lines to create an illusory perception of form and space. Kelly’s painting deploys Riley’s technique to offer the viewer a position from which to consider difference, distance, and the disjuncture between subjective interpretations and physical forms inherent in documentary images.

Presented by the Western Front in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program — intransitBC. Capture gratefully acknowledges the support of the British Columbia Arts Council.

 

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