Slow wealth

art exhibit poster


Lone Wolf and I checked out the new exhibit at the Smithers Art Gallery this week: Get. Rich. Slow. / Real Wealth

As the poster describes it, the gallery’s first exhibit of 2014 “explores the relationship between the intrinsic aesthetic and ecological wealth of the natural landscape in northern BC and our exploitation of that natural wealth through resource extraction for economic wealth.”

(That sentence has Leona in a fit.)

The exhibit showcases two northern BC artists: Mike Ambach and Tara Irwin.

Irwin is the city of Terrace’s sustainability coordinator. Her series of acrylic paintings, “Real Wealth,” is a potent response to questions we in the north—and south—are grappling with: What does true prosperity look like? What’s the intrinsic value of our wild spaces? Can we put a price on our most precious resources?

With Enbridge, dozens of mining companies, IPPs, and LNG bulldogs barking at our door, Irwin’s series is timely.

But it was Ambach’s haunting images and text that pulled me into the gallery on a hectic day of running errands in town.

The Prince Rupert photographer lays out the rubble that litters the north. Paint peeling off abandoned storefronts. Discarded vehicles bleeding rust onto the forest floor. In text so faint that you’re forced to stand and squint to discern the message, he overlays promises that hang in the northern wind: opportunity, benefit streams, unlimited growth potential.

“The occupiers had all moved on, point made.”

The exhibit is at Smithers Art Gallery until March 15th.


2 Responses to “Slow wealth”

  1. commatologist

    Works beautifully. It really forces you to pause and look deeply into the image while asking yourself “What’s going on here?”


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