Pale Fire

Michael Drebert: Fresh Eyes

January 6–March 4, 2023

Exhibition Map

In mid-August, Douglas aster begins to bloom across riverbanks, marshes and meadows on the Pacific Northwest coast. They are plentiful along the banks of the Fraser River estuary, but can easily escape one’s attention. If you veer off the Brunswick Point dyke onto the network of trails cut by foot into the fen, the lavender crowns of this daisy-like flower can be seen painted among the earthier grasses, sedges, berry bushes and cattails. It’s golden pupil catches your eye and its fine petals quiver like a flock of blinking eyelashes in the coastal breeze.

Michael Drebert’s artistic practice often takes the form of symbolic journeys, repeated gestures, small events and subtle ceremonies. For Drebert, empirical experience and personal encounters are critical ways of exploring the complexities of the natural world. In some cases, these passages are ends unto themselves; in others, they are motivated by a particular task or quest. The artist has, for example, travelled to distant sites to reunite objects and materials that have been separated over time. Closer to home, Drebert has developed a number of projects that involve daily practices, routines and invented customs. Elegant in their simplicity, these poetic and sensitive interventions often unfold within exhibition contexts as painted shapes, and texts using India ink on large pieces of paper–stories relayed by the traveller.