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Scott McFarland
Winter Retreating Spring Offence

March 29 to May 5, 2012

Spring in Canada is a welcome sight after the hardships of a long cold winter.

Spring in Afghanistan signals the start of the Taliban offensive after laying dormant for most of the winter.

The exhibition Winter Retreating Spring Offence looks at both of these sides of the shifting nature between the seasons. Two series are presented together for the first time; Badlands and Repatriation. Both present the same time of year but different representations of it: in Badlands, the returning of life to the landscape, and the other the loss of a life, Repatriation.

Photographed north of Toronto in an idealized equestrian landscape, Badlands represent a vista of eroded Queenston Shale. Once farmland this scene is a popular place for visitors from encroaching suburbs to the Niagara Escarpment. A large wide-format photograph shows an unpeopled landscape transforming from winter on the right side of the image to spring on the left. In constructing this panoramic format, the image was created using several vertical segments.

Some of these segments are presented as smaller studies showing similar transitions between the seasons within a vertical format.

Repatriation is a series of large tableau photographs “documenting” repatriation ceremonies of fallen Canadian soldiers being returned to Canada after being killed abroad, in Afghanistan. People gather along the “Highway and Route of Heroes” to pay their last respects. “Corner of the Courageous” is the name given to the last corner the funeral procession takes before entering the Chief Coroners office in Toronto. It is not an actual corner, but one formed by a human chain of first responders, military veterans, and everyday citizens. The series consists of a dozen panoramic photographs taken from the same spot over the period of the spring months in 2010.

Scott McFarland lives and works in Toronto, Canada. His photographs are included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles). An upcoming exhibition of Repatriation will be presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2013.