A&E » Arts

Unearthing Whistler's lesser-known past

Past Participle exhibit illuminate unusual and unnoticed at Whistler Museum



What: Past Participle

When: Thursday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m.

Where: Whistler Museum and Archives

Admission: Free

For the past two months, Rose Bouthillier has pillaged the collections of the Whistler Museum and Archives.

She began by finding a photograph illustrating a snowscape with a red truck parked in the corner, a penny dating back to 1917 and personal letters penned by Whistler’s first lady, Myrtle Philip.

All objects, at first glance, bear no resemblance, no connection. That is exactly what Bouthillier intended, showcasing both the unusual and overlooked in her upcoming exhibit, Past Participle. The opening reception for the exhibit is Thursday, Aug. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the museum.

"It’s a chance for people to see what normally they would never get to," Bouthillier says.

The curator, who is entering her graduating year in the photography program at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver this fall, wanted to expose the lesser-known items of the Whistler Museum collection; the items not baring the fanfare of 2010 tie ins or instrumental items or moments contributing to Whistler’s better-known history.

"I was really interested in the mystery behind the objects," Bouthillier said. "These are objects that aren’t regularly on display because there is a lot of mystery surrounding them; there is not a lot of information inherent in them…. It’s about seeing value in things that aren’t normally considered valuable. These objects have so many stories and real person traces of real people. They may be thought of as historically insignificant, but these are small personal stories, local history. They have a more intimate sense."

Along with an exhibit of rarely exposed items and photographs, the showcase also includes a slideshow of local fauna.

"It’s beautiful and sweet, but no one would see it otherwise," she said of the slide show taken from the Fenner Collection.

Photographs will also play a key role in the main exhibit. Bouthillier is displaying the photos in their original size purposefully presented in no particular order.

"I want people to have the feel of the original object," she said of not blowing up pictures. "I wanted to display them in a way that wasn’t organized by time, place or subject matter. I wanted it more open than that, so people can create their own themes, links – regardless of time and purpose."

As the exhibit’s name suggests, history becomes animated in the discussions surrounding the exhibit, such as thoughts about the construction, aesthetics and value of local history. Participants will also be sent home with copies of Myrtle Philip’s personal letters to open at a later date.

The slide show component of the evening begins at 8:30 p.m. The slide show will also be shown Aug. 17 and 24 at 7 p.m. at the museum.

Past Participle is part of B.C.’s 5 th Annual Cultural Crawl Aug. 4 to 31, a month-long celebration of the province’s arts, culture and heritage.

Visit www.art-bc.com for other related events.

Add a comment