November 4 - 28, 2010
"Place" is an evocative black-and-white series of a Canadian city and its particular setting on the prairie. Photographer Geoffrey James first visited Lethbridge, Alberta, in the early 1970s in the company of architect Arthur Erickson (1924-2009). Erickson had just completed the design for the University of Lethbridge—a dramatic horizontal structure sited just below the prairie level on the coulees that descend to the Oldman River—and James was struck by the architect's careful respect for the spectacular landscape found right on the edge of town.
"I retained a sharp memory of that landscape for years, memory that I was to test in 1999 when I undertook a project to photograph Lethbridge. The University had spread alarmingly, the city itself even more so. Much of the center of Lethbridge had been hollowed out to make way for banal retail stores, and the edge of town has come to resemble the mess we are making all over North America of our new settlements. Lethbridge is saved to some extent by the sublime landscape that surrounds it, but it has effaced so much of its own history. . . . Place looks at remnants of a not always happy past and an uneasy present."
Born in St. Asaph, Wales, Geoffrey James studied Modern History at Wellington College and Oxford University before immigrating to Canada, and has been an active photographer since 1970. James is a Fellow of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York. He is the recipient of the Victor Lynch Staunton Prize of the Canada Council, the Roloff Beny Foundation Photography Book Award, and has received the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation Prize. His work has been exhibited internationally, including in Documenta IX, Kassel (1991); Crossing the Frontier, Photographs of the American West, 1849 to the Present (1996), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yale University Art Gallery; and Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009). He is the author of a dozen books and monographs, including Place: Lethbridge, A City on the Prairie (2002).