“Stranger in a Strange Land”

Yvonne Fried

This exhibition opens on Friday, June 5th, 7:00–9:00 PM
Exhibition runs through Sunday, June 21, 2015.
Gallery Hours:
Saturdays and Sundays, 12 to 4 pm,
or by appointment.

Stranger in a Strange Land is an exhibition and exploration of the urban landscape by photo- and video-artist Yvonne Fried. The title also references the Robert Heinlen novel of the same name, about a human who was raised on Mars and returns to earth as an adult.

This show includes images from two bodies of work which explore themes of consumerism, urban decay, public vs. private spaces, and the tension between humans and nature. The artist finds the contemporary urban landscape to be an alien space which isolates us as much as it crowds us.

Urban Shrine is an ongoing project consisting of stark photographs and video of shopping centres, shot between 2am-5am, in the absence of people. Without the distraction of crowds, the details and experience of the structure become amplified: an absurd fake waterfall, the landscaped cookie-cutter trees and hypnotic flashing coloured lights. These are all elements contrived to entice people into the shops. The artifice of this manufactured space is in sharp contrast to the natural greenspace which existed before numerous incarnations of this shopping centre.

The Urban Landscape photos were precursor and catalyst to the Urban Shrine series. Since moving to Victoria, BC, in 1984 I have watched the area’s greenspaces disappear at an alarming rate, while shopping centres are built, torn down, and rebuilt. Many parts of the city lie in decay, hidden beyond the main routes yet poetically contrasting our “City of Gardens” reputation.

Yvonne Fried completed her B.F.A. in Visual Arts at the UVic in 2012 after a lengthy career detour into the sciences. Frequently torn between her artistic and analytical sides, she discovered through her studies of photography and video that her art practice could be as experimental a process as it is creative.

Her artwork explores different fragments of human existence and the impact we have on the natural world, and on collective social culture.

Yvonne lives in Victoria, BC, where she finds inspiration for her art practice in the beauty of nature as well as the frequent ugliness of modernization.

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