Streaming Cafe

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"BENCHED" | A Photographic Exhibition

by Michael Donley
We are very happy to be displaying some amazing photos on our cafe walls by John van der Woude. John is launching his photographic exhibition with an opening reception on January 6th with live music from DJ Rich Taylor. The photos will be showcased for the next month at Streaming Cafe so be sure to come down and take them in.
For more info go to the FACEBOOK event. https://www.facebook.com/events/126256077489292/
Here's a little video invite to the opening reception of "Benched" at the Streaming Cafe on Friday, January 6th from 6pm - 9pm. Hope to see you there!

More About John van der Woude
WEBSITE - http://www.johnvanderwoude.com/
I'm an award-winning artist, initially studying art and design at Camosun College in Victoria, BC and later received my BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, NS in 2007. I work predominantly in photography and have shown my work across the country and am included in numerous private collections.

I choose photography as the medium for most of my artwork because I've always found photographs interesting in how they challenge how people see themselves and the world around them. A photograph is, but its nature, a visual capture of a moment in real life, but it is nothing more than a snippet, without context and meaning (save the meaning that the viewer imposes on the photograph). All art reflects the viewer, but photography amplifies this by allowing the viewer to know that there is a semblance of truth in every photograph, but allows the viewer to give a false context to the entire scene.

Specifically with this series of photographs, they are, on the surface, simply documentations of the benches in various subway stations, specifically those within the city of Montreal. While there is no human presence being shown, there is still evidence that these benches are used on a regular basis, be it through graffiti, the oil stains from people’s hair or by the general uncleanliness of the surroundings.

But subways are an important part of today’s urban social landscape. When used in urban development, subways ensure a more vibrant, accessible and convenient city for its population and the benches within the stations symbolize a continuous flow of transit-users, where thousands of people from a vast array of different demographics will sit every day. From a societal aspect, it is one of the few places where this takes place, creating a congregation of different income levels, ethnicities, religious beliefs and ages silently interacting every day.

On an aesthetic level, Montreal, with the varied architectural designs for each subway station, creates an interesting juxtaposition between modern design influences from various eras, from the 1960s to the 1990s. And the designs are reflective of the time that they were built, using aesthetics common with the era, to create a design time-capsule that funnels tens of thousands of commuters through its concrete walls on a daily basis. The stations would never look the same if they were built in today's era of cost-effectiveness and functionality. That’s not meant to detract from the design, but rather to suggest that it’s a snapshot of a different design aesthetic where function took more of a backseat to showmanship.