December 3 – March 3, 2019
Gaspé Peninsula, an isolated and remote piece of land in Quebec, Canada, is a striking, poetic landscape, with luminous skies and an undisturbed silence, particularly in the winter. Gaspé is a Micmac word for « land’s end ». This peninsula is the outermost advance into the sea of Quebec’s mainland territory; it is what Brittany’s Finistère —« finis terrae »— is to France, what Cornwall —with its own Land’s End—is to Britain, or Spain’s Cape Finisterre is to the European continent. The Gaspé is thus the New World’s End, mirroring the Old World’s End.
At this end of the world, a precarious way of life was fashioned, dependent on the sea. These photographs dwell on the traces of that life to be found in the dead of winter, when the land seems to hibernate. I made seven trips over three winters, and photographed the objects that are a representation of the essential links created between the people of the Gaspé and their land. The Edge of Time is a metaphor, a remote truth in a larger landscape that draws me to the transformative quality of snow on this rugged coastline and to the preciousness of a place that is isolated, therefore relatively untouched my the footprints of tourism. Here, where the cornerstones of Gaspé culture reveal themselves through the lens of my camera, my work becomes a reflection of the elemental, autonomous and unpredictable nature of history. – LR
Linda Rutenberg has worked as a fine art photographer for over 30 years. She has a BFA in film and music and an MFA in Photography from Concordia University in Montreal Quebec. She teaches, lectures and creates photographic series which evolve into books and exhibitions. She has published over fifteen publications.
In addition to her artistic work, she has owned and run a darkroom rental facility and a photography gallery. Currently Linda teaches and lectures young artists mentoring them to bridge the gap between art and business.
Her fine art work has been exhibited internationally. Her series Urban Visions, One Island – Many Cities, Mont Royal, The Spiritual Landscape and The Garden at Night, After Midnight and The English Garden at Night and her latest work The Gaspé Peninsula are all explorations of the relationship between the environment and its people. She is currently immersed in her new work The Negev Chronicles.
The Artist: Linda Rutenberg
For the last thirty years, my life and my career have been intimately connected because of photography. I began as an amateur, but realized very quickly that using a camera to explore the world was a wonderful way to express myself. I had my first camera at thirteen and over the next decades, completed a BA and Master’s degree in photography. I opened a photographic darkroom rental facility and then a fine art photography gallery. In addition, I lectured and taught workshops. Each of these experiences gave me new tools and perspectives on photography as both a career and as an art.
I have always been project-oriented. I generally spent three to four years photographing and refining a topic before moving on to the next. This rhythm began in 1998 with a yearlong study of Mount-Royal Park. Every week, I would leave my studio, which was close to the mountain, and photographed Montreal’s oasis in the center of the city. Subsequently I was introduced to Les Amis de la montagne in order to propose the idea of my first book and exhibition, which was published in 2000.
Then I changed direction with the purchase of my first digital camera in 2005, which I used specifically to explore the city at night, a topic that had always interested me. Until then, I had always worked in black and white, instead I decided to try color and investigate the night which was quickly disappearing from most cities, due to over-lighting.
A call from the magazine Landscape Architect sent me up to The Reford Gardens, which are located at the entrance to the Gaspé Peninsula north west of Montreal and Quebec City. Each summer they have an important garden festival. The director, Alexander Reford, suggested that I photograph early in the morning and offered me the key to the front gate. Instead, I proposed to him that my husband and I park our Westfalia camper inside the parking lot of the locked garden. He agreed and I suddenly realized that I was going to be spending the night in the garden and that it was a different quality of night from the city. My husband and I had a great time photographing with flashlights and we were unaware that this special evening would lead to a five-year project working after midnight in major public botanical gardens all over the US, Canada and England.
After my first visit to Metis, we returned many times to the region and visited in spring, summer and fall. I fell in love with the Gaspé Peninsula and became curious about what the winter was like. Everyone discouraged me from coming. They said it was cold and windy and that there was nothing to do. Yet, each protest made me more interested. It was after only one visit to Kamouraska in the winter where I witnessed the complete melting of the river overnight that I became completely transfixed by the possibilities of what winter held.
It took me one more year to find the time to come up to the Gaspé peninsula for an extended period of time to photograph. But after that first visit I was hooked. Each time I have returned, I have found it more compelling, filled with luminous light, wonderful welcoming people whose fascinating history has created a uniquely preserved culture.
This is the basis of my excitement and passion for this project, to reveal the special qualities of a place at a time when few have visited. – LR