Detail from "The Hunt (crouching native with deer)" cast bronze by Christopher Keene 1986. This is installed at the northwest entrance to the Manulife building in Ottawa's business and financial district. This is a corporate commission. Corporate commissions can sometimes be harder to locate and identify compared to the better documented works in municipal or government collections. Christopher Keene has another aesthetically related work in front of another Manulife building in the USA which depicts salmon struggling upstream.

Some general information about these pictures:

Like many other photographers, I have often made pictures of art for institutions and artists. While doing this I have learned much, made many friends and occasionally a little money. However much fun doing that kind of work is, my satisfaction from it has always been tempered by the creative limits placed on me as someone else's hired "shooter". The client always provides the subject, approves the treatment and judges its success.

This new body or work is made outside of those constraints. The pictures are of artworks from the National Capital Region. This project has several dimensions.

There is the documentary component that designates a time, place and creator (usually) to the works photographed but this is not a catalogue or index to this kind of artwork in the NCC region. I have picked and chosen according to my interests and I photograph them as I please. Some of the artworks are displayed at a distance, in some cases merely a detail is seen or the artwork is not the strongest part of the image.

I am doing this because of a my curiosity and affection for these objects and as a creative mechanism for learning and knowing. With these images I hope I can articulate some ideas and and connections that I see and put questions about living with this kind of art which is a such a defining aspect of seeing my city. As this project grows in size (- currently there are at least 125 images -) many themes and issues become easier to see and illustrate.

These pictures show a wide spectrum of stuff including temporary public works, a few graffiti works, some commercial appropriations of well known artists, monuments and works that exist in the exotic territory of the contemporary fine arts milieu. . There are good, bad, neglected , expensive, forgotten , reviled, sentimental and sometimes wonderful things that suggest issues common to much of our public art in our cities. What is it for? Who paid for it? Has it lasted. Should it last? How does it work? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me?

The pictures are accompanied by brief texts that tell you the name of the work, the artists, where it is and who owns/commissioned it. Sometimes, there are additional texts which discuss issues that are relevant to thinking about public art in more general terms. Any errors in fact will be corrected promptly if they are brought to my attention.

I hope you like them - I will continue adding to this site for quite a long time I expect...... December 2003

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