Several bodies of work in photography and video dwell in the transitional, liminal spaces between natural and built environments, abstraction and representation, photography and painting, nature and culture. The State of Flux photographs, River Suite photo-work and Wave Patterns video all employ water imagery within a conceptual framework to investigate the intersections between these dualities. As in my previous projects that presented the passage of time as being embodied in the flow of water, in these new works, water imagery encapsulates the idea of continual change.
Drawing on the evocative potential of water, each image in the State of Flux photographic series embraces the vitality of one particular instant. These unusual images reveal a paradoxical relationship to the “real”. Although each photograph captures a specific place and time that occurred in front of the camera, the resulting images transcend the familiar details and conventions of land- or water-scape to create newly abstracted worlds. While the medium of photography allows the distillation of gestures and forms that are otherwise blurred and imperceptible to the naked eye, these hyper-real photographs nonetheless have strong references to modernist painting in their abstraction and engagement with surface. The unidentified reflections remain ambiguous and enigmatic, as texture, colour and movement evoke an intuitive response. In our accelerated world of perpetual change and quick perceptions, each work offers a moment to savour, plucked from the water’s constant state of flux for our prolonged contemplation.
In River Suite, twelve close-up photographs that capture the changing light effects in rippling waves are arranged in a matrix as a unified group; yet, we are always aware that the whole is made up of its constituent, diverse parts. In its conceptual approach and compositional process, the work explores the tensions and continuities between several dualities. Although informed by the idea that landscape, in its framing of our natural environment, is a cultural construct that developed with and in contrast to urbanization, River Suite nonetheless undermines traditional conventions of the genre. Instead of presenting a single view at a fixed moment from a detached, distant perspective, it creates a composite of multiple viewpoints that reveal the power and beauty of the water, constantly evolving over time. With no visible horizon or long view, the viewer is immersed in the water’s expanse. While documenting the particularities of location, the imagery nears abstraction in its celebration of colour, light and form. The use of the grid, a structure of the built environment, imposes order onto the freely moving water, arranging the natural imagery into a composition.
The Spaces of the Image, Gaelle Morel, editor, Le Mois de la Photo, Montreal, 2009 There, in the Flow of Time, Petra Halkes, Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery, Ottawa, 2008 The Image Becomes the Frame: Cheryl Pagurek's Impositions, Sherri Irvin, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, 2004 Caught in the Folds: Unfoldings, Cindy Stelmackowich, Vu Centre de diffusion et de production de la photographie, Quebec, 2002 5 Fraserwood Ave., Apt. #2, Jan Allen, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, KIngston, 1994
I work in video, photography and installation for gallery exhibitions and public art projects. I often interweave source materials from many contexts to create a dynamic and cohesive whole, while accentuating the abstract qualities of colour, form, movement and tempo. The works are the site of both interconnections and tensions within such dualities as public/private, past/present, creation/destruction, representation/abstraction, reality/constructedness, urban/natural spaces.
I have used many approaches to probe and disrupt our usual expectations of photography and video. These have included physically shaping photographs into objects, removing cut-out shapes from photographs, digitally constructing photo-based images, and digitally layering video. I explore diverse ways to present video, including the use of multiple channels, a custom-shaped format, public outdoor locations, and gallery installations that use a floor projection or floating suspended screen to make viewers’ spatial experience integral to the work.
Cheryl Pagurek is a photo-based and video artist living in Ottawa, Canada. She received an M.F.A. from the University of Victoria (1992). Since then her work has been shown extensively in galleries across Canada from Victoria to St. John’s, as well as in a commissioned project for Prefix Photo magazine (2004). Exhibitions and screenings of note include those in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Montréal, Chicago, Toulouse, Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles. Her video and light box installation Reflection and Flow was shown in 2009 in Montréal as part of Le Mois de la Photo, and in 2010 at Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery in Halifax. In 2010 she also exhibited the video Growing Pains and photographic series High Value Targets at Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Ottawa. She was awarded a Public Art Commission by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program to create Currents, her LED video display for the Market Place Transit Station that was installed in May 2011. In 2012, in addition to participating in Ottawa’s inaugural Nuit Blanche with Flashcards, a collaborative video installation, she also completed several new bodies of work in photography and video. These were launched at Patrick Mikhail Gallery in January 2013 in a solo exhibit entitled State of Flux. Her work is in several collections including Foreign Affairs Canada, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Library of the National Gallery of Canada, Cenovus Energy Inc., the Ottawa Art Gallery and the City of Ottawa, and has been written about in Canadian, American and British publications, including Ciel Variable, BlackFlash, Vie des Arts, Canadian Art online, Next Level, and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. She has received grants from the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, and is represented by Patrick Mikhail Gallery. Her videos are distributed by Groupe Intervention Vidéo and Vtape.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.