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Kelly Richardson: Legion Opens to the Public February 16

February 4, 2013

Buffalo, NY – Legion is a major mid-career survey of works by the video artist Kelly Richardson (Canadian, born 1972), featuring twelve video and film installations she has produced over the past fifteen years. The project, initiated by curator Alistair Robinson, launched this past summer at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland, England, and will ultimately travel to five institutions in three countries. Drawing inspiration from nature, science fiction and horror films, and the post-apocalyptic landscape, Richardson’s work allows viewers to lose themselves in another world.  

Organized for the Albright-Knox by Gallery Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes, the installation of Legion in Buffalo will be the largest and most comprehensive presentation of Richardson’s work on the tour.  In addition, Mariner 9, 2012, a large, panoramic, three-channel video installation set two hundred years in the future, will make its United States debut at the Albright-Knox. About the work, Hughes comments, “This shockingly meticulous and seemingly realistically rendered future vision of the Red Planet is unquestionably a triumph for artists working in the digital fine arts.”

Richardson has utilized a wide range of digital and film-based media to create stunning, yet sometimes unsettling landscapes throughout her career. Revisiting the notion of The Sublime, Richardson alters familiar scenes, inserting disquieting details, by subtly playing with sound, color, and imagery. Flaming red stars, or perhaps meteors, crash to Earth in Exiles of the Shattered Star, 2006; a phosphorescent, green stag quietly appears in a misty forest to exchange gazes with the viewer in Twilight Avenger, 2008; and the ominous unknown lurks beneath swampy waters in Leviathan, 2011. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery holds the largest museum collection of Richardson’s works, all of which are included in the exhibition. Legion will be installed in the north galleries of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s 1905 Albright Building, and in the 1962 Knox Building’s Gallery for New Media, which opens to the public today.

About her process and approach, Richardson states, My interest lies in simultaneity, affect, and the use of cinematic language to create part-real, part-imagined sublime landscapes loaded with double meanings. The work questions our place in the world, with allusions to political, cultural, societal, and environmental issues, and points to something greater than ourselves. They are the reimagination of the Apocalyptic Sublime, after landscape.”  

Kelly Richardson was born in Burlington, Ontario, in 1972. She studied fine and media arts, receiving a BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design and MFA degrees from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Newcastle University. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including in the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and 2011, the first Beijing 798 Biennale in 2009, the Busan Biennale in 2008, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal in 2008, and the Gwangju Biennale in 2004. In addition to being represented by three major works in the Albright-Knox’s Collection, Richardson has works in the collections of such major museums as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. The fall 2009 issue of Canadian Art included Richardson as one of “10 Artists Setting the Pace of Contemporary Art” and ElleCanada listed her in its “Hot 100” for 2011. Most recently, in 2012, Richardson was awarded two grants from the Arts Council England and the Canada Council for the Arts, and The Journal Culture Awards has shortlisted her as one of three artists nominated for “Visual Artist of the Year.” Richardson currently lives and works in northeast England. 

Legion debuted at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland, England, on July 5, 2012, coinciding with the premiere of Richardson’s Mariner 9, a major three-channel video installation commissioned by Pixel Palace. The exhibition then toured to the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, England (October 13, 2012–January 5, 2013) and the Towner in Eastbourne, England (January 19–March 31, 2013). After its installation at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (February 15–June 9, 2013), it will move on to the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (late 2013–early 2014). This exhibition in Buffalo is organized by Albright-Knox Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes. A major book co-published by the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and SAAG, with essays by curator Robinson and Hughes, accompanies the exhibition.

This exhibition has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of Arts Council England and Canada Council for the Arts.  The presentation in Buffalo is made possible, in part, by Mark McCain and Caro MacDonald, The Advantage Company, and ArtAV.