Lee Henderson
Never Letting Us Take Breath

April 30 - June 4, 2016

In taking a photograph, this tourist projects himself in a loop forward, to the comfort of home, where he'll then imagine backward into the memory that he is in the midst of constructing as the photograph is snapped... Caught up in the romance of the rhetorical, he might later describe that moment of shutter-press as one of being perfectly present. But the truth is that when that shutter gapes open, 'the present' is the last thing on anyone's mind.

So intones a voice from the back room of Never Letting Us Take Breath, a nebulous photographic project by Lee Henderson. This installation grows from the fusing of two found slide archives: one a collection of an unknown family's holiday mementos, and the other from a-defunct-travel agency. By juxtaposing personal snapshots with destination promotions (both dating from the mid-1900s) and relaying the images through the mimetic media of print, slide projection and sound, the project points to two aspects of photography that underlie its slipperiness as a discipline: its mechanical ability to re-present the past indexically, and the human desire to fling oneself perpetually into the future.

This was a Featured Exhibition for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and the recipient of the 2016 Gattuso Prize.
For more information on the award, click here.

Lee Henderson is a contemporary artist whose practice includes video, photography, installation, sculpture, performance, and text. Henderson holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2003) and an MFA from the University of Regina (2005). Recent exhibitions include Folklore and Other Panics at The Rooms, St. Johns (2015), The Half Lit Moon at Nuit Blanche, Edmonton (2015) and The Known Effects of Lightning on the Body a solo presentation at YYZ, Toronto (2014). His work appears regularly across Canada, and occasionally in Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Naples, and Berlin; notable recent venues include The Phillips Collection, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Magenta Festival Boston, The Zero Film Festival (USA); The Dunlop Art Gallery and the Mendel Art Gallery. He has been invited to participate at upcoming residencies in Reykjavik (Iceland) and Open Studio (Toronto), and will have a solo presentation of his most recent video work at Latitude 53, Edmonton, in 2016. Henderson's work can be found in private and public collections including the Mendel Art Gallery/Remai Modern, the University of Regina President's Collection, and The Center for Fine Art Photography USA.

The artist would like to thank Jon Sasaki and the Ontario Arts Council.