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"John and Lou's 1923 Voyage"
2000-10-21 until 2001-01-21
Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre
Banff, Al, CA

John and Lous 1923 Voyage is a solo exhibition of new works by the Calgary-based artist John Will. The genesis of this exhibition dates back to 1982 when John Will acquired an old cardboard box filled with photograph albums, envelops of tiny, black-and-white, drugstore contact prints and negatives at a Calgary garage sale. The contents of the box were the last remaining assemblage of memories of the life of a recently deceased bachelor named Louis W. Shulman. Among the hundreds of images the box contained was a discrete series of negatives, the travelogue of a 1923 ocean journey from Vancouver to Yokohama.

For many years Wills purchase sat unexplored, until he rediscovered it in 1997 prior to a creative residency at the Banff Centre. It was during this time that Will began to puzzle together the images with evidence of the photographers life, launching on a creative odyssey of his own. The result is John and Lous 1923 Voyage, a series of twenty-six photographs based on black-and-white negatives exposed by Shulman. Will altered the amateur photographers images by scratching text directly onto the negatives, by enlarging the images, by printing them on colour photographic paper and by accompanying them with a part-fictional, part-factual re-telling of the journey on which they were made. Part historian, part gumshoe, Wills narrative is built on primary source material from newspapers, archives and first-hand accounts, and does what each of us does when confronted by the unknown: he fills in the gaps. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication featuring Wills narrative and an essay by Nancy Tousley

John Will was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1939. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1961 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1964. In 1965 he traveled to Amsterdam on a Fulbright Fellowship and was a Printer-Fellow at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1970 to 1971. Will has worked in a variety of media ranging from printmaking and painting to performance and video. He has taught at various schools including the University of Calgary, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Emily Carr School of Design. His work is included in many public and private collections across North America and abroad. Will currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.


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