Presented in connection with Photopolis, the Halifax festival of photography
Formerly a documentary photographer, Saskatoon resident Brenda Pelkey turned in 1994 to a category of subject matter that currently manifests itself spatially as landscape–pyschic landscape. The exhibition is composed of large-format Ilfochrome prints (1996-2001), some grouped in panoramic assemblages, others incorporating cryptic text fragments that hint at tragedy. The most recent were photographed in the vicinity of Havre Boucher, Nova Scotia, a former homeplace that Pelkey revisited in 2000.
None of the fields, forests or seashores contain figures. Photographed at night (or at twilight with a long exposure), Pelkey’s eerily claustrophic landscapes are illuminated with movie lights. The unnatural light and deep shadows transform these ordinary locales into the mise-en-scènes for melodramas. Their already heightened ambience is further dramatized in selected works by the presence of a muted audio component.