Risa Horowitz


Blurry Canada | 2001-2011 (ongoing) | photos & video

Click here for exhibition brochure with essay by Natalia Lebedinakaia.

exhibition text by Jeff Nye, below.

Dunlop Installation

Blurry Canada. As installed at The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Chromogenic colour photographs, 20x28" unframed. 75 produced from 20,000 for the Dunlop Art Gallery exhibition, January 2011. Continuous HD video: 175 hours.

Dunlop Installation

Blurry Canada. As installed at The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.

Dunlop Installation

Blurry Canada. As installed at The Dunlop Art Gallery, Sherwood Village.

Top Row

Blurry Canada. Top Row

Middle Row

Blurry Canada. Middle Row

Bottom Row

Blurry Canada. Bottom Row

Video Stills

Blurry Canada. Video Stills.

There's something about a road trip that speaks to the freedom afforded by wandering. Time shifts on the road; at full speed perceptions are altered by the feel of the pavement passing below and the panoramic view of the near and far landscape as it's left behind. From the Trans-Canada Highway one gets the sense of being 'in' the landscape despite all clues to the contrary: it is this sense of time and place that Risa Horowitz explores with Blurry Canada.

Blurry Canada arose out of an incidental activity that has become more central to Horowitz's art career - travel. Since 1996 Horowitz has lived in seven Canadian provinces, including Saskatchewan. She has developed an unusual appreciation of the Canadian landscape informed by her many road trips and the cursory access to (and distance from) our hinterland that is provided by travel along the main highway. While on the road between one place and another, Horowitz began taking blurred photographs of the landscape from the driver's seat.

In Blurry Canada, the car, the road, and speed become extensions of Horowitz's camera. For this exhibition, Horowitz conducted a coast to coast 'survey' of the Trans-Canada Highway during the summer of 2010. Unable to look through the camera lens and not knowing what images would result, Horowitz spontaneously responded to the environment as she sped through it. Along the way, Horowitz collected thousands of digital still images and hundreds of hours of HD video that she analyzed and categorized to form Blurry Canada.

Blurry Canada's two videos present a landscape distorted by the camera's wide angle lens. It seems to spin by, as if on a massive carousel. The entire trip from Eastern Canada to Western Canada and back is presented so that each visit to the gallery will provide a new leg of the artist's road trip: scenic lookouts, construction sites, bathroom breaks and all. The beauty of the landscape in the video is as palpable as its tedium - the same kind that creeps into the joyful experience of a child when left too long on a carousel.

Horowitz's photographs are categorized and presented within three rows depicting images from British Columbia to Newfoundland. The top row features overpasses, an element of the road that fascinates the artist. The middle row consists of images from the Westbound journey, and the bottom row from Horowitz's Eastbound journey.

Blurry Canada is the third of Horowitz's projects, after Trees of Canada (2007) and melitzah (2003), to investigate Canadiana. By distorting the conventions of landscape photography and recalling the particularly conventionalized beauty of the Canadian landscape in painting Horowitz presents an opportunity to wonder about the relationship between representations of the Canadian landscape and Canadian identity, while holding fast to that sense of wandering freedom.

Jeff Nye, Assistant Curator


Updated June 2024 | Acknowledgements | Copyright ©1998-2024 Risa Horowitz