Much of what we know to be the Modern in art of the last 125 years or so has to do with slowing down our rate of perception. Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, by Marcel Duchamp, is a well-known example of such a slowing down and the making strange of what we think we see in the world; i.e., reality itself. We are required to stop and pay attention. Ross C. Kelly has been working to a similar end in a series of cityscapes made in Vancouver, Toronto, Melbourne, Shanghai, New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo and other major cities around the world. His procedure is to photograph the same scene repeatedly over a period of days, months or even years, and then to cut out small segments of the resulting images and overlay them in a collage to create a single complex image of the urban scene. The image displayed here depicts an intersection along Granville Street in Vancouver, taken over a period of several days and assembled from segments of about one hundred and fifty photographs. The result is an arresting image that, by using the snapshot as its kernel, contradicts the instantaneity of the snapshot that pervades our visual culture: we are called to look again.
Ross C. Kelly’s work was shown in spring 2015 at Art Beatus Gallery in Vancouver, and can be seen at rossckelly.com.