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New Richmond art exhibit immerses visitors into B.C. forests

Derek Liddington's exhibition titled 'The trees weep, the mountain still, the bodies rust' is an innovative interpretation of the landscape genre.
Derek Liddington, The trees weep, the mountain still, the bodies rust (detail), 2022, Musée d'art de Joliette.

A new exhibition at Richmond Art Gallery (RAG) will allow visitors to experience the uniquely disorienting feeling of walking through a forest.

In The trees weep, the mountain still, the bodies rust, artist Derek Liddington's landscape paintings offer an immersive experience through an innovative take of the landscape genre.

Featuring a series of "dense as the forest" paintings without visual cues that help orient viewers, visitors will be prompted to rethink how they perceive and relate to the natural landscape.

"The end result is an experience that is simultaneously disorienting and fascinating, as the viewer tries to locate themselves spatially and temporally — similar to what happens when one takes a walk in the forest,” said curator Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre.

“This set of works from Derek Liddington challenges how landscape paintings historically tend to capture nature: as a spectacle that unfolds in front of us and apart from us.”

Liddington first became inspired by B.C. forests during his residency at Grey Church in Vancouver in 2019, when he began to experiment with landscape painting. Since then, he has continued to explore ways to translate the vast expanses of space and distance, as well as the immediacy of live movement in forests into his works.

The trees weep was first presented by the Musée d’art de Joliette in Québec. The Richmond iteration will be featuring new works, including a mural that utilizes RAG's unique space.

"As visitors move through the gallery to view the mural, they will alternately see the curves of a giant body and the horizon of low-lying hills," reads the media release.

The trees weep, the mountain still, the bodies rust will be running from Nov. 19, 2022 to Jan. 15, 2023. 

Liddington and St-Jean Aubre will be holding a free drop-in tour of the exhibition and a talk on Saturday, Nov. 19, and a collage party inspired by Liddinton's exhibition is scheduled for January next year. Details for the exhibition are available on RAG's website.

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