April 8, 2019

How art history student turned a practicum into a photo exhibit

On April 11 Jasmine Hynes shares her thoughts about photography and breaking tradition

An exhibition curated by a University of Calgary student features photographic works that challenge traditional understandings, perceptions and interpretations of landscape. Breaking Tradition: Landscape (Im)Possibilities was curated by Jasmine Hynes, an art history student in the museum and heritage studies program, and is currently on view in Nickle Galleries. Hynes used the artworks from the Nickle collection to explore a question of “How we capture in a single frame that which surrounds us at all times, that which wholly consumes us.”

“Traditionally, in Canada, when we think of landscape we think of the great north, vast and barren, wild and unspoiled,” says Hynes. “Inevitably, the Group of Seven paintings come to mind, as they represent an idealised Canadian landscape. Their vision, however, was clouded by wildercentric attitudes, as they failed to include inhabitants, signs of modernity, or the relations between human and land.”

Hynes explains her personal story and how she ended up on this path: “I am currently in my fourth year, majoring in art history with a minor in museum and heritage studies. I enrolled in the museum and heritage studies after taking the introductory class, MHST 201. It was the practicum requirement that especially enticed me to enrol in the program.

“The minor program is a great compliment to my major in art history,” Hynes continues. “Through this program I have been able to study modern and contemporary art curation, which aligns with my specific interests. I have also been able to bring a different perspective to art history classes.”

Museum and Heritage Studies

“My experience with the program has exceeded my expectations, as have the opportunities that have been presented to me through the program," says Hynes. "My practicum experience involved working in a contemporary gallery, The Founders’ Gallery at the Military Museums in Calgary, with an international artist, Adad Hannah from Vancouver, and directly observing curatorial practice. It was through this program that I was able to partake in an independent study, which allowed me to conceive an exhibition in Nickle Galleries.” 

Real-world experience

“Breaking Tradition: Landscape (Im)Possibilities is the result of a semester-long independent study at Nickle Galleries with chief curator Christine Sowiak,” explains Hynes. “The theme was inspired by many hours spent flipping through the Nickle's photography collection via the online database (which is an incredible resource for anyone who wishes to research the collection!), after which I decided to explore artistic conventions within the ever-present landscape tradition. I believe this exhibition also speaks to the collection's uniqueness.” 

Plans for the future

“I have just been accepted to the critical and curatorial studies program in the Department of Art History and Visual Art at the University of British Columbia. I plan to study the history of photography and the development of photographic conventions since its invention through to the contemporary period. I would like to study photography display practices, and gain the skills needed to participate in critical discussions regarding photography and photography exhibitions. In this respect, the museum and heritage studies program has been fundamental in my education and the shaping of my academic interests,” says Hynes.

The exhibition is open until May 3, 2019. 

Curator’s Exhibition Tour

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Noon to 1 p.m.
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library

The weekly Nickle at Noon event series features related talks and gallery tours. All events are free and open to the public. Learn more by subscribing to updates from Nickle Galleries.