A Raw and Northern View

An exhibition produced by the Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George, British Columbia for Government House, Victoria

by George Harris Curator

A Raw and Northern View involves the work of three artists from Northern British Columbia centred in the communities of Prince George and Vanderhoof.

In Prince George and Vanderhoof, as with many places, the forest surrounds us. But here, where forestry and its related industries have an ubiquitous presence, if one is not employed directly in this sector one’s life is likely to intersect with it in other ways. These three artists are no exception. Sculptor Phil Morrison, a pressman at a Prince George newspaper, marshals an enormous amount of paper in any given week. Annerose Georgeson put herself through art school working summers at a sawmill and her entire family has been employed in the industry in a broad range of roles ranging from silviculture surveyors to logging contractors. Painter Allan Farmer worked as a log scaler for many years and relished painting the landscapes in which he lived and operated.

In British Columbia, a province known for its natural beauty our forests are a part of our identity which is often romanticized. The proximity of the forest to these artists, and a working and dynamic forest industry, has influenced the way they see and reflect landscapes, forests and trees.

Phil Morrison’s concrete sculptures comprise a base of stark, grey, weathered looking tree-forms familiar to anyone who has explored a beetle killed or burned tract of forest. Hands and feet negotiate these forms in works that are inward-looking reflections of self. In his work we find the body as a drained container draped over a branch like an empty snagged wrapper and the means with which to climb to some aspirational height.

Annerose Georgeson, for more than ten years has documented the forest in which she lived with particular attention to the impact of the mountain pine beetle and processes of renewal. Her paintings are expressive and while not overly representational, they reveal unexpected beauty through candid views of logging operations, burned forest and new growth.

Allan Farmer,passed away in the spring of 2014. Many of his paintings situated industry – pulpmills and logging operations, for example– in the context of the land he painted. Accustomed as we are to idealized landscapes Farmer’s matter-of-fact representations seem out of the ordinary. Rather than protesting the presence of industry on the land, Farmer’s work was a reflection of the world in which he operated and which is ultimately familiar to many British Columbians.

Far from idealized representations of the land, this selection of work embodies world views that are imperfect, introspective and matter of fact. Here is the budding of new life, the land that feeds us, and a tangled, honest world without agenda, -- and with in it hope, and a raw surprising beauty.

George Harris, Curator
Two Rivers Gallery Prince George, British Columbia

Allan Farmer
Tower Crew, 2002

Acrylic on canvas board

Allan Farmer Tower Crew, 2002

Allan Farmer
Weighscale, n.d.

Acrylic on canvas board

 Weighscale, n.d.

Allan Farmer
Morning Commute, 2012

Acrylic on canvas board

Morning Commute, 2012

Allan Farmer
Into the Alpine, 2010

Acrylic on canvas board

 Into the Alpine, 2010

Allan Farmer
Abandoned Vehicle, 2009

Acrylic on canvas board

Abandoned Vehicle, 2009

Annerose Georgeson
Walking, 2015

Acrylic on canvas board

Walking, 2015

Annerose Georgeson
Bunching in Fall, 2015

Acrylic on canvas board

Bunching in Fall, 2015

Annerose Georgeson
Loading in Fall, 2015

Acrylic on canvas board

Loading in Fall, 2015

Annerose Georgeson
Hauling, 2014

Acrylic on canvas board

Hauling, 2014

Annerose Georgeson
New green 2, 2011

Acrylic on canvas board

New green 2, 2011

Phil Morrison
La Pieta, 2013

Acrylic on canvas board

La Pieta, 2013

Phil Morrison
The Ascension, 2014

Acrylic on canvas board

The Ascension, 2014