A Marker to Measure Drift

Fri January 22, 2021  to Sat April 3, 2021
Kamloops Art Gallery (465 Victoria St #101, Kamloops, BC V2C 2A9, Canada)
Arts & Culture, Galleries & Exhibits

Scott Massey

Central Gallery

Canadian artist Scott Massey (b.1971) explores the confluence of art and science through multi-media projects that accentuate natural phenomena by fabricated means. Drawing on research into quantum physics, cosmology, astronomy, and other scientific disciplines, Massey’s practice examines cosmological subjects as a way of understanding our place in this greater context.

We live in a time when major advances in scientific knowledge are made daily. We have progressed from once believing the earth was flat to now having direct evidence of gravitational waves and black holes, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The 1972 Blue Marble photograph of the Earth taken by the Apollo 17 Spacecraft crew on route to the moon is one of the most reproduced images in history; seeing this image for the first time was a watershed moment that transformed humanity’s view of the world. With every new discovery about the universe’s expansiveness, our sense of significance diminishes. This knowledge can be overwhelming and difficult to comprehend. Massey grapples with his existence and our collective existence within this seemingly infinite context by creating a visual framework that is often experimental and driven by a deep curiosity. While recognizing the historical divide between science and religion, Massey offers a critical reframing of humbling concepts to disrupt these binaries and allow space for quiet contemplation, where scientific and spiritual dimensions can coexist.

Using light as a medium and employing image-making apparatus in both the creation and presentation of works, Massey’s practice takes up the mechanisms of photography in sculptural forms. The ground glass lens has played a pivotal role in Massey’s work, through the medium of photography, but also as a fundamental instrument of light gathering. Much of what we currently know about the cosmos can be traced back to the invention of the ground glass lens. Galileo’s lens-based observations of the moons of Jupiter in the early 17th century led him to confirm the heliocentric theories of Copernicus (1543), which propose that the planets orbit the sun and the Earth turns daily on its own axis. These theories mark a shift away from a religious-based world view to scientific observation of the “heavens.”

Connecting the physical properties of light and the paradigm-shifting potential of the ground glass lens, Massey’s work visualizes everyday phenomenon that we might take for granted. The video work Untitled (An Object Kindly Enclyning), 2012, presents a large magnifying lens spinning and wobbling on an illuminated glass surface, falling on its side and then righting itself and spinning in the opposite direction, repeating the sequence in an endless loop, and playing with our perception of gravity. The work borrows its title from Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem Hous of Fame written in the late 14th century and draws on Copernican theories of gravity, a subject further developed by Galileo.

The panoramic installation The Day Breaks, 2013, presents a time-lapse “photograph” of changing light captured over the course of a day onto a single image plane in real time, made using a device constructed from salvaged enlarger lenses and ABS plumbing pipes. In his ongoing photographic series Via Lactea, 2014-, Massey captures small sections of the night sky over the course of many hours on the same segment of Kodak Ektar film in remote locations with little light pollution in order to achieve the illusion of seeing white stars on a luminous blue background ? a reminder that the stars are still “out” during the daytime. Through the use of a full-spectrum light bulb and grass grown in a circular planter over the course of the exhibition, Rememoration Piece (grass ring), 2004/2020, evokes questions about our definitions of “natural” and “artificial” and our relationship to the natural world.

All these works play with scale, investigating small and large phenomenon as a way to reveal aspects of the seemingly unknowable, unfathomable, or invisible. Grounded in both the macro and micro, the exhibition presents over 15 years of Massey’s ambitious and meticulous undertakings, as a portal for contemplating the inexplicable.

Massey holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, BC; and has participated in residencies at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Dawson City, YK; the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff, AB; Dazibao/PRIM, Montréal, PQ; and Lumen Collective, Atina, Italy. He has been awarded numerous production/creation grants from the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as a number of other scholarships and awards.

Solo exhibitions include Movement Without Moving, VU Photo, Québec City, PQ (2018); Black Hole Sun (with Blaine Campbell) at Republic Gallery, Vancouver, BC (2016); Unstable Ground, Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, BC (2015); Light Adjustments, Dazibao, Montréal, PQ (2014/15); Let’s Reach c Together, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, BC (2013); The Day Breaks, Gallery295, Vancouver, BC (2013); Topologies and Limits, CSA Space, Vancouver, BC (2011); Swan Song, Luminato Festival, Toronto, ON (2009); Mi>Collapse: Spill 01, Artspeak, Vancouver, BC (2004). His work has also been included in group shows at Gallery44, Toronto, ON; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC; the Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio; and Contact Photography Festival, Toronto, ON. Scott Massey currently lives and works on Bowen Island, BC.

The title of the exhibition, A Marker to Measure Drift, and included artwork are borrowed from a book of the same name by Alexander Maksik.

Curated by Charo Neville, Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery

Kamloops Art Gallery
City Centre

About Kamloops Art Gallery

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The Kamloops Art Gallery is a registered charity and not-for-profit society.

Incorporated in 1978, the Kamloops Art Gallery serves residents of and visitors to Kamloops (pop. 82,000) and the surrounding Thompson-Nicola Regional District (pop. 124,000) as well as national and international audiences.

In 1998, the KAG moved to a purpose-built civic building, designed by award-winning architects Peter Cardew and Nigel Baldwin, which also houses the Thompson-Nicola Regional District offices and the Kamloops branch of the TNRD Library System. The 20,853 square foot Gallery includes 4,500 square feet of exhibition space, an admissions/store area, two multipurpose studio/workshop/lecture rooms, a packing and acclimatization area, the collection storage vault with an adjoining workroom and, on a mezzanine above, administration and curatorial offices along with a research library. In 2006, the KAG was designated a Category “A” institution under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.

The Gallery’s annual attendance has ranged between 24,000 and 37,000 over the last five years. It enjoys a national reputation for its touring exhibitions and publications and has developed relationships with national and international artists, curators, critics and scholars. The KAG is also well respected for its exhibitions, events and educational and public programs through activities organized and presented in the community and region involving both contemporary and historical art. Its collection as of December 2012 consists of 2,700 works that primarily reflect the Gallery’s exhibition history. In 2005, the KAG co-commissioned with the University of British Columbia’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Canada’s participation in the 51st Venice Biennale with the work of Rebecca Belmore.

Governed by a Board of Trustees, the KAG maintains an effective organizational structure that includes a Management Team led by the executive director, a Program Team led by the curator and a Development Team led by the manager of operations. Teams meet monthly to report, evaluate, problem solve and plan.


The Kamloops Art Gallery brings art, artists and communities together.


The Kamloops Art Gallery is the principal gallery in the Southern Interior of British Columbia supporting contemporary and historical visual arts and practices on a local, national and international level. The KAG acknowledges art to be an essential part of the human experience in nurturing a healthy society. As a leading cultural institution, the KAG is an integral part of the fabric that draws intellectual, social and economic opportunities to our province and to our region.

The Kamloops Art Gallery fosters enjoyment of and interest in the visual arts by researching, developing and producing exhibitions, publications and programs that engage, challenge and inform its various audiences. The Gallery also oversees the development and preservation of a permanent collection that includes regional, national and international art in all media. It also strives to create rewarding opportunities for visual arts professionals and the public.

Guiding Principles

  • Committed to art, artists and audiences
  • Collaborative, respectful and ethical
  • Tolerant, inclusive and diverse
  • Relevant to local and regional communities
  • Striving for excellence
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  • Sustainable

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