Toxic Gallery presents Tim Atherton's photos in Peripheral Vision: Yellowknife and the Suburban State of Mind. There no longer appears to be a clear division between the suburbs and either the urban or rural environment. There now seems to be a generic suburban condition that may be a potential quality for all inhabited spaces. This extended suburban condition does not easily show up on maps, it is in many ways more of a suburban state of mind than a topographic location.
Yellowknife - a city perched on the Canadian Shield and surrounded by Boreal forest is like an isolated specimen of this condition - the idea of the suburbs. Wherever you are in Canada (or indeed, North America) there is a mundane, yet reassuring familiarity to the suburbs and the strip malls and the big box stores that results from the pressure of market forces and from blunt expediency. And while each place often displays subtle individual differences, the movement is away from difference towards similarity and the success of homogenization. What dominates is the generic.
In photographing this I find myself looking at things that are somewhat off centre, off to the side - a peripheral vision. Things that are often unnoticed and just below our level of perception. Things seen that are in plain sight yet so familiar or obvious they are usually ignored, unseen, and their existence barely registered - attention no longer paid to them. This project conveys everyday North America and the infiltration of the city by suburban culture - the place seen on the way to the office or the supermarket - viewing these familiar environments from an offcentre perspective, revealing the ambiguities and artifice of everyday life.
“This intelligent and sensitive group of photographs establishes a landscape that is so familiar - whether it be in the outskirts of Montreal or Yellowknife - the "urban/suburban state of mind" that is ubiquitous. The prints are remarkable.” Phyllis Lambert – Founding Director, Canadian Centre for Architecture.