February 2, 2019 - March 23, 2019
Orest Semchishen began his photographic career in the early 1970s recording the Byzantine (Ukrainian Eastern Rite) churches of rural Alberta. This first series, undertaken while he was working as a radiologist, was grounded in his own family history – his maternal grandparents were Ukrainian settlers in the late 1890s; he himself was born in Mundare, 80 km east of Edmonton, in 1932. From an initial impulse to record this history through its architecture, Semchishen expanded his practice to photographing people and communities of Alberta, as well as rural towns and surrounding prairie. No matter what the subject, Semchishen’s works have a quiet serenity, an exquisite attention to detail, a clarity of light and focus, and an ability to depict a site which ranges from a play with spatial abstraction to evoking a felt sense of a very particular place.
In 1994 Orest Semchishen received national recognition with an exhibition of his work by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the publication of the accompanying catalogue In Plain View. Many of the photographs in that exhibition – and all in this one – are now in the Esplanade Permanent Collection of Fine Art, thanks to a generous donation of over 100 prints by Orest Semchishen in 2002.
The exhibition is part of the Alberta-wide Exposure Photography Festival, www.exposurephotofestival.com