Artist Kelly Richardson stands in front of Mariner, one of her visual installations. Photo by Colin Davison

Tall trees draw renowned artist to Saanich

UVic prof focuses on Avatar Grove for IMAX’s 50th anniversary

The tall trees of Vancouver Island have drawn renowned visual artist Kelly Richardson to relocate from England.

Richardson was a lecturer at New Castle University the last 14 years, and came here to speak at the University of Victoria last year. During that trip she was brought to Avatar Grove, as she always visits the most unique and surreal natural landscapes whenever she travels.

Richardson’s known for hyper-real digital films and has been shown in North America, Asia and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Canada.

“I was overwhelmed by the fact [Avatar Grove] exists at all,” Richardson said. “When I learned there was a position coming up at UVic, I groaned, because I was very happy in England, but I was so overwhelmed by [the visit] I had to put my name in for the job, and now we’re here.”

Richardson’s now settled in Saanichton and teaches a full schedule of courses as an associate professor of visual arts courses at UVic.

She’s also wasted little time in pairing her move to the South Island with a visual arts project on the tall trees. Richardson is one of five artists commissioned to produce a large-format digital film short for the 50th anniversary of the invention of IMAX. For that, Richardson will partner with cinematographer Christian Kroitor (grandson of IMAX inventor Roman Kroitor). They’ll focus on the Island’s famed old-growth and ancient forests near Port Renfrew.

It is also Kroitor who is commissioning the IMAX project, called XL-Outer Worlds, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the invention of IMAX, set to tour IMAX theatres in 2019. The tall trees keep with the larger-than-life imagery of IMAX.

Richardson’s multimedia work generally starts with her visiting a natural landscape that stands out and shooting it with her camera.

From there she creates video installations for museum or gallery scenarios on three big screens, big enough that viewers can immerse themselves in it. XL-Outer Worlds is her first time creating something for the massive IMAX screen. She’ll also bring the works into a gallery or museum scenario, but this time it’ll be even bigger, with five screens, she said.

What marks Richardson’s work is the addition of other works that turn the images into something else, always keeping with an environmental theme, such as a proposed future landscape.

“There’s always multiple ways to read it, so sometimes it’s terrifying, and sometimes it’s positive,” Richardson said. “In this case, I’ll focus on implications of [human consumption on ancient forests], and what’s too much in terms of nature conversation. We’re still cutting 10,000 hectares of old growth every year, which is quite disturbing because it’s non-renewable.”


Just Posted

McClure house fire saw Victoria firefighters utilize drone for first time in live situation

Aerial device feeds intel to crews to help formulate firefighting action plans

Barge bound for benefits

San Juan Community Home Trust and Nickel Bros. give homes new life

UVic announces finalists for Female Athlete of the Year

Rower Caileigh Filmer, swimmer Danielle Hanus, and soccer goalie Puck Louwes are top stand-outs

Jazz songstress Ellen Doty brings her sweet sound to Hermann’s Jazz Club

March 27 concert in Victoria part of national CD release tour

Victoria says #NeverAgain in solidarity with March For Our Lives

Youth Political Commons invites public to rally against gun violence March 24 at legislature

Student learns the ropes at Oak Bay fire in hands-on experience

Local department crafts four-day work experience program for Reynolds student

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Charges formally laid against Nanaimo city manager

City of Nanaimo CAO Tracy Renee Samra charged with fear of injury/damage by another person

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read