Central to Lycan’s project is her ongoing research into 291, the iconic New York gallery run by Alfred Stieglitz from 1905 – 1917. Described as: laboratory, oasis, menace of tomorrow, greater than the sum of all its definitions, and a relief. Critically, the gallery introduced European modernist artists to North America which opened a conversation between photography and the avant-garde.
Building off of her multifaceted installation Underglow at Presentation House Gallery in 2014, Little Glow focuses on images of 291 and the anachronistic display apparatuses and décor elements contained therein—burlap walls, vases, drapes. The result offers a simulation of the historic gallery via a system of perpetual reproduction. Translated through various processes of facsimile such as screen-capture and photocopying, Lycan presents images captured and re-captured. These methods shift the colour balance and image quality of their ‘originals’ to the point where they barely convey their subject. Instead, they engage photography in order to push it beyond medium specificity into a fluid quality of relations that blur the distinction between production and mass-consumption, content and style, time and place. Here, the real becomes replica, representation becomes abstract, and image becomes object.
Kelly Lycan lives and works in Vancouver. Initially studying photography at Ryerson in Toronto, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1992), and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles (1998). Her work has been exhibited in exhibitions across Canada, the US and Europe, including solo presentations at Gallery TPW, Toronto (2009); Or Gallery, Vancouver (2011); SFU Gallery, Burnaby (2014); Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver (2014); and Gallery 295, Vancouver (2014) among others.