Vancouver

Scott McFarland

Vancouver Art Gallery

Scott McFarland’s photographs—of London’s Hampstead Heath, of an overgrown Vancouver garden, or of the California desert struck by hard light—are crisply rendered and technically precise, their colors vivid, the focus sharp. But closer inspection reveals visual contradictions: Flowers in a neglected garden blossom next to a tree about to drop its leaves; the shadows of barrel cacti point to the left and the right, as if the sun were in two places at once; and two images are identical but for their dramatically different skies.

McFarland was until recently based in Vancouver, and his work can be situated within the school of Photoconceptualism developed in that city over the past three decades. But whereas other photographers work with the tableau (Jeff Wall), Minimalism (Ian Wallace), or the documentary (Roy Arden), the younger artist explores the implications of photographing the impossible.

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