Dual exhibit a testament to creative collaborations

 In Events, News

A house under construction in Collingwood is stopping traffic.

Drivers are literally stopping to gawk.

The house, made of copper, is the talk of the town and it is not the first time architect Jim Campbell and his collaborators have piqued people’s curiosity. Not too long ago, he was fielding a lot of questions about a house on the 9/10 Sideroad in Clearview because of the unusual shape and colour of the house’s bones. Both houses, and a number of others that are tucked away from the public’s view, are the subject of a new exhibit happening in Creemore and Collingwood this month.

Aptly named Collaborations, the exhibit is made up of still photography and video of projects by Campbell and his team at Rockside Campbell and the contractors who build them from the ground up.

The multimedia exhibit includes photography by Lorne Bridgman and video Tom Strnad of Mountain Goat Films.

Campbell has had Bridgman photograph many of his projects for almost two decades.

“Most of our projects are back in the bush and nobody ever sees them, like nearly all of them. Nobody knows what we are doing… So we thought it would be fun to show what we’ve been up to,” said Campbell.

He said they wanted to do something to mark almost 20 years of collaborations and he has been lucky to have his friend Bridgman documenting builds for so many years.

“We had a treasure trove of photographs that basically, we weren’t using,” said Campbell.

The photos are more than straight architectural shots, they tell the story of the world around a project. Campbell said for him, his desire to document the projects wasn’t so much about the polished finished project but more about the reality of construction, working in the mud and snow.

“Personally, I wanted to communicate all the other players, the long list of people we work with who are so instrumental. It’s not this magic thing, that architects or designers snap their fingers and things appear, there’s all this team work,” said Campbell.

Bridgman, with the help of Eric Simard of Rockside Campbell, went through thousands of photos to carefully select images and make them into compilations. One quarter of the show is hanging at Curiosity House Books in Creemore and the other three-quarters is at The Press Gallery in Collingwood. (Campbell’s studio is located in Rockside, near Duntroon, halfway between Creemore and Collingwood so he thought it made sense to show in both communities.)

“I see the pictures as being a response to Jim’s work, versus just a document of the work,” said Bridgman.

He said the shots of the buildings-in-progress are some of his favourites.

“I love seeing the skeleton of the building as things are going up and it’s a skeletal representation of what’s coming before any of the surfaces or claddings or things like that end up going on. I love seeing the unfinished framework of things and in fact those are my favourite shoots,” he said. “Having the time to walk through a project that is under construction and see, for example, the way that light plays through a structure versus what happens once it’s finished. I really like showing process. There’s a certain purity to the forms at that point because you are not distracted by finished interiors, furniture and artwork, it really is about form.”

Strnad’s video is projected on the wall and 360-degree clips are viewable on a smartphone using virtual reality goggles. He has also created flipbooks of time-lapse photos of a day’s work.

Collaborations, continues until Oct. 28 at Curiosity House Books in Creemore and The Press Gallery in Collingwood, located at 65 Simcoe St.

The copper house is going up at the corner of Third and Cedar in Collingwood, for those who want to swing by and get a look.

Lorne Bridgman photo

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