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February 6 - March 15, 2008

Projex Mtl Gallery is proud to present recent photographs by emerging young Canadian artist Andreas Rutkauskas. Originally from Winnipeg Rutkauskas recently graduated with an MFA from Concordia University. This exhibition brings together a selection of stunning landscapes from his Peak series.

Andreas images capture the grandeur, the beauty of rugged, pristine wilderness. The viewer becomes overwhelmed by the presence of the eternal world as the artist delivers a bevy of sublime moments and viewpoints. Indeed, faithful to the methodology of his hallowed predecessors, Andreas traveled the North American West, tripod slung over his shoulder, in search of the ultimate landscape.
All shot with a medium format camera, his images of unforgiving mountains accompanying their life-brimmed valleys run the gamut of earth tones while wispy clouds and staid ice parade a splendid array of whites. These images do not merely evoke the majesty of Nature, they burn her immense aesthetic into our infinitesimal retinas.
Moreover, by using romanticized titles he calls upon the memory of 19th century paintings such as Friedrichs Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, seducing us for all too brief a moment before we are inevitably jerked back to our contemporary civilized reality- put back into the context of todays landscape as a constructed, man-mastered experience.
The pertinence of his work lays in the deliberate, subjective choice of photographing his manipulation, in choosing a specific viewpoint that has not yet been spoiled. These images provide an illusion of wilderness however, as all were taken within a comfortable distance from civilization.
Behind this documentary faade lurks a sinister connotation: the ongoing struggle of a fledgling, once-rural country coming to terms with its new-found identity as an urban, industrialized society. This work questions the relevance of the landscape as art in todays society; Western North-American landscape photography has sometimes been dismissed as postcard tourist images for sedentary urbanites eager for a glimpse of the great frontier. And though Mr. Rutkaukas photos would doubtlessly make for some breathtaking postcards, the precious objects of Peak are far from being a dime a dozen.
 
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