The border between humans and wild animals is blurry, and a local artist's striking photographic images depict what a "natural habitat" might mean for wildlife today.
As human activity alters and controls more of the earth’s surface, wildlife is forced to adapt. And while some species are displaced, many animals live at the fringe of society; others become full-time residents of what we tend to think of as “our” spaces.
Now, people are forced to re-examine what a "natural habitat" looks like in Vancouver and beyond.
Local artist Kevin Lanthier hopes to present moments of day-to-day life for several commonly found species in his new show, HUMAN:NATURE, which is at the Ian Tan Gallery from Nov. 7 - 30.
Lanthier chronicles local Vancouver wildlife stories, including the Chinatown Otter, a river otter that “broke into” Sun Yat-Sen Park and ate several of the prized koi fish, prompting rival social media fans using the hashtags #teamotter and #teamkoi. The Olympic Village Beaver is depicted, drawing parallels to Vancouver’s always-challenging housing situation. And, of course, there’s The Crow Commute, a daily happenstance in which thousands of crows fly just before dusk to the Still Creek area of Burnaby, echoing the evening rush hour. Vancouver’s “unofficial ambassador” Canuck the Crow is featured in this image as well.
Other works in the series explore the wider relationship of certain species to humans, including coyotes, and how they have adapted by turning nocturnal when in urban spaces. The works also explore Canada geese, and how they’ve transitioned to residing permanently in urban parks rather than migrating, and raccoons, who perhaps more so than any other species have absolutely thrived in cities--the "only drawback is that they’ve developed typically human problems like obesity and heart disease for all their success."
View some of the pieces in the exhibit below.
Lanthier builds concept-driven composite images, combining and juxtaposing photographed subjects in a photorealistic way to heighten narratives and distill meaning. His widely exhibited award-winning series The Special examined Vancouver’s history and culture through hyper-real, nostalgic streetscapes.
An art show featuring Kevin Lanthier’s photographic images, will be at Ian Tan Gallery from Nov. 7-30. Daily hours are Tuesday through Saturday, Noon-5 p.m. Admission is free.