Artist’s Statement: Peter Allan I was born in a dark room - not a Skinner Box but a develop and print photographic darkroom set up first in the upstairs bathroom and later more permanently in the furnace room of our family home in suburban Montreal. In the sixties photography was our exclusive father and son activity. My Dad, a career engineer is a brilliant amateur photographer still snapping at 84. I treasured my time with him on photo jaunts without my three sisters. In retrospect it seems these times were too rare and I have changed this in relationship to my two sons. Together we would catch images of steam locomotives, Vieux Montreal, Mosport Racetrack, photos of the moon landing off the black and white TV in the rec room…most especially I enjoyed the silent moments in the darkroom, just he and I. The red light, the flash as the 2 ¼ square film was ripped from its backing and spooled into the developing canister, test strips, dodging, Kodak, Ilford, Zeiss, Rolleicord, contact printer, enlarger, the vinegar smell of chemicals, counting one one thousand in the silence, washing prints in the bathtub upstairs. As a teenager I taught these skills learned at my father’s knee to others. The first single lens reflex camera was taken on the proverbial backpack trip to Europe at nineteen but left on a park bench in Luxembourg after sharing a bottle of Napoléon Brandy and chocolate milk with my buddy Yackle. Two years later another 35 millimeter camera was stolen while hitchhiking from Amsterdam to Crete. For a time photography was supplanted by acting, university and work. I have always admired the handmade, artistic originality, a craft person’s skill. It was this fascination that compelled me to become a student at McGill University, where I learned of the century and a half of evolution of the photographic image from Fox Talbot to Warhol . However, by then picture taking for me had become a medium for documenting youthful antics rather than an aesthetic pursuit. Later a graduate course on Man Ray at the University of Victoria rekindled an interest in the mystery of a dark room. With these images I am reclaiming a creative intent. Digital photography ascended so rapidly there is still a film trapped inside my F3, the roll unfinished. These photographs are singular and defiantly unique, one-of-one. Why? I have deleted the RAW and jpeg. digital file. Poof, gone…
NO PUBLIC HOUSE Mr Bloom ate his strips of sandwich, fresh clean bread, with relish of disgust, pungent mustard, the feety savour of green cheese. Sips of his wine soothed his palate. Not logwood that. Tastes fuller this weather with the chill off. Nice quiet bar. Nice piece of wood in that counter. Nicely planed. Like the way it curves there. James Joyce 1922 Perhaps, this is a story of my coming to SaltSpring Island. Perhaps it will echo your own arrival history. I’ve long believed that a Public House is a window into its neighbourhood, its community. A mere three hours in the Vesuvius Pub and my cosmology started to shift: an unexpected, unbidden change was about to happen- a Saturn Return moment, decades before I ever heard of one. Dear friends, Bill and Kerri were married in Comox in the summer of 1985. Guests at the wedding suggested I had to see Pacific Rim National Park while I was out from Montreal. At the local Canadian Tire I purchased a tent and sleeping bag, rolled a bottle of scotch in it, bungeed it all to my garment bag and put out my thumb. An Italian baker insisted we stop at Cathedral Grove and we walked together to the big trees-the West Coast began leaking into my cells. On the boardwalk at Schooner Cove, hardcore hikers stopped dead in their boots to let the man in the suit and dress shoes by. Propped against an enormous log I read Joyce loudly to the surf, sipping a wee dram from time-to-time. A professor from King’s College, Dublin had demonstrated in a wood paneled seminar room in the old Art’s Building, that it was by reading Joyce aloud he could begin to be understood, all that alliteration: Stephen closed his eyes to hear his bootscrush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, astride at a time. A very short space of time through a very short time of space…. It took me twenty years to finish the novel Ulysses, the book of choice when travelling. A week later, I arrived in Vesuivius Bay by foot on the last ferry. On the hillside a raucous party was underway. There was a lineup to enter the pub for the live entertainment: Club Mongo was heating up with Sue Bowler and Kate Roland up front. The Vesuvius Inn was swaying on its foundations .Rum Ribs. Uniquely beautiful women asked me if I was the new Doctor on the island. Keith McHattie bent my ear on the abstraction of money [and still will if you wish]. I thought, what a wondrous place this SaltSpring Island. It has recently occurred to me that Ulysses was in my bag stashed in the shrubs outside the pub that night. August 21st, 1985 was my Bloomsday and I too was in a pub. I moved to the island from Montreal eleven months later. I played shuffleboard in my Uzbeki robe at the Fulford Inn with Machinehead ll, onion rings, Barley Brothers, pizza night, walking home in the pitch black along Isabella Point Road. These images are a lament, not an indictment. They are the result of quiet contemplation within the exhausted shells of favoured places amidst the naked rafters and detritus. The pictures are intentionally apolitical. Somewhat like myself. Enough said. Peter Allan, Fulford Harbour
MERZBAU above DRY TAPS left
The sculpture"Vanitas" was exhibited at the Sidney Fine Art Show.
The 2012 Sidney Fine Art Show will be held October 12th – 14th at the Bodine Family Hall at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. Presented by the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula, this Show is a world-class juried art show for serious artists and patrons of the arts. The first Show in 2003 was an outstanding success and each year the Show has attracted thousands of visitors to the town of Sidney...
In 2011 over 6,500 people came and admired the art and the town.