Hockley Artist brings Shibumi to Creemore

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Artist photographer Peter Dusek has always loved Creemore. But the village was just a bit too far from Toronto where many of his customers are located. He and his wife have made their home in the Hockley Valley since 1998. For the next month, Dusek will display his Shibumi collection in a pop up gallery at the old Meat Market building, 151 Mill St.

Shibumi is the Japanese philosophy of quiet and serenity. Dusek uses negative space in his images to instill those feelings. He says people are so bombarded with information from various media inputs that they tend to feel better when they can add some space and quiet the noise. He draws a parallel between art and life, suggesting that the peace a viewer experiences when looking atone of his pared-down images is not unlike the feeling of calm that comes from free time and an uncluttered environment.

Many of his images are shot in winter with snow providing a sort of blank canvas, floating images and creating lightness. He also uses fog and snow to limit the distance his camera reaches. Unlike painters who have the luxury of ignoring what they don’t want to see, Dusek says a photographer must work with what is actually there, as the camera captures everything. He does limited editing to clean things up a bit, occasionally blurring things like weeds poking through the snow, but for the most part he lives with what his camera sees. He describes his work as “a slightly abstract form of realism”.

Most of his work is shot between Hockley Valley and Collingwood, with the occasional foray into Muskoka and Southern Georgian Bay. Typically he just drives around looking for scenes that speak to him. Some days he drives for hours and finds nothing meaningful to photograph. Other days he will find four or five great pictures in close proximity.

Dusek is a winner of many international awards and his works have been featured at galleries throughout Canada and the United States, including Butter Gallery in Collingwood. His career got a big boost when Saks Fifth Avenue selected 38 of his images to decorate their new Toronto stores in 2015.

To date, Dusek has worked almost exclusively with black and white in keeping with his clean, minimalist esthetic. His images range in size from an intimate eight inches wide to works as large as nine feet. He has begun experimenting with colour as a means of conveying emotion. Dusek created a great deal of work during the pandemic while there were no places available to show. He’s now looking forward to sharing his photographs with the public. The Creemore exhibit is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11a.m. to 4 p.m.

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