Andreas Rutkauskas

  • Sarnia 013

Public talk | Les Consultations : 29.03.2013



Andreas Rutkauskas is originally from Winnipeg where he completed a BFA at the University of Manitoba. In 2003 he moved to Montréal and obtained an MFA at Concordia University, where he now teaches in the Studio Arts department. His projects have recently been exhibited at the ODD Gallery (Dawson City, Yukon), TRUCK Contemporary Art (Calgary, Alberta), and The Foreman Art Gallery (Lennoxville, Québec). His work has been supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts.


Through the use of photography, video, and other media, my practice is largely concerned with landscape in response to shifting technologies. My recent projects have addressed themes such as the impact of Internet-based research on wilderness recreation (Virtually There), and the borderlands surrounding the Canada/US boundary (Projet Stanstead). While my principle medium is photography, I believe that it can be limited in completely articulating an experience in the landscape, so I often incorporate video and other media as a way of providing the viewer with a more diverse perspective. My latest project Petrolia was developed during a yearlong research endeavour with the Judith & Norman ALIX Art Gallery in Sarnia, Ontario.


For this talk at le Cabinet, I will present the research process behind my latest project Petrolia. This work presents coexisting themes of the scaling-back of production in the petrochemical industry near Sarnia (an area known as Chemical Valley), while simultaneously investigating the region’s pastoral landscape and small-scale, family-operated oil industries. Large format photographs present views from the periphery of Chemical Valley – a dense social landscape where First Nations ceremonial sites, abandoned industry, and environmental responsibility initiatives all converge, while other images and video introduce the lush setting of ancient oil fields that have been operated by the same families for many generations.