For Alley View Bouquet, A Delivery for Mrs. Deighton, Vancouver-based photographer Torrie Groening took her inspiration from the women of Gastown’s history. Mrs. Deighton was Qwa-halia (Madeline) Deighton, a Squamish woman who married the infamous John “Gassy Jack” Deighton (for which Gastown was named) at twelve-years old—thirty years his junior. The Deighton family ran the Deighton Hotel on Carrall and Water Streets, which burned down in the Great Fire of Vancouver in 1886. On that historic night, women from the Squamish Nation rowed back and forth between their home on the North Shore and what is now called Gastown in 1,000-pound canoes to rescue people from the fire. Not only is Alley View Bouquet, A Delivery for Mrs. Deighton an ode to the young wife of Gassy Jack, it investigates and sheds light on the lesser-known women of this local history.
The images in this installation are adapted from a still life montage entitled Destiny Bouquet, in which a collection of art deco vessels are photographed and layered to evoke limitless collecting—the vases are host to a constructed bouquet of drawn and etched flowers and objects. Further, the installation’s format alludes to the legacy of trompe l’oeil, an artistic technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the objects exist in three-dimensional space. The installation works directly with the architecture of this building in a poetic and seamless way.
Making use of new and traditional technologies, Groening creates installations and photographs that reflect on a personal investment in the peripheral material of the artist’s studio. Using objects from her own collections, she constructs elaborate still life scenes representative of a multilinear and often autofictive narrative.
Presented in partnership with
Gastown Business Improvement Association
Capture’s Street Photography project comprises two roving exhibitions and one site-specific exhibition concentrated within the borders of Vancouver’s Gastown, Strathcona, and East Village neighbourhoods. These exhibitions take place on the storefronts and facades of different retail and community spaces, with each participating business showcasing a unique artwork. Residents, shoppers, and those who work in the neighbourhood are able to slowly piece together each exhibition as they encounter the artworks during their daily errands and commutes, with the goal of sparking thoughtful and spontaneous dialogue.