The Grand Valley State University Art Gallery hosted documentary photographer Jason Reblando on Friday as part of their “On The Wall Artist Talk” series. The event took place in person and on zoom, and featured an in-depth discussion with Reblando about his work.
The lectures focused specifically on his photography exhibitions at GVSU, “Canal By Canal”, exhibited in the gallery at Lake Ontario Hall.
The exhibition features a series of photographs documenting the people and environment of Valencia, the Spanish irrigation community.
While in Spain, Reblando researched the irrigation community and the millennial streams in support of research carried out by Professor Erik Nordman GVSU’s book “Uncommon knowledge of Elinor Ostrom “ (Island press, 2021).
This “On the Wall” conference was coordinated with the help of GVSU Art Gallery User Experience and Learning Manager Amanda Rainey to dive deeper into the Lake Ontario Hall Gallery.
“Last summer Erik contacted the art gallery department to propose the exhibit and we jumped at the chance, ”said Rainey.
Reblando attributed his interest in presenting his photograph at GVSU to his work with Dr. Nordman.
“I was excited to present the work here not only because of Dr Nordman’s affiliation with GVSU, but also because of the many ways GVSU explores and studies the relevance of water to our lives.” , said Reblando. “The images are a meditation on how humans continue to shape the natural landscape, as well as a testament to a millennial communal agricultural practice that has survived wars, dictatorships and the political winds of change.”
Not only was Reblando excited to work with GVSU, but GVSU was also excited about what Reblando’s photography brought to the table.
Rainey said the gallery has been very impressed with Reblando’s past work and loves that his work explores many different areas of study at GVSU.
“In his ‘Canal By Canal’ series, he documents the natural and built environments as well as the people who make up the irrigation community in Valencia,” said Rainey. “In this one series, we can talk about natural resource management, economics, politics, art, etc.
As a documentary photographer, Reblando said he enjoys capturing people, places and events in the real world. Much of his inspiration comes from how humans work together to shape the world around them.
“I am very interested in how humans interact and shape the landscape and the built environment,” said Reblando. “I am interested in creating images that simultaneously document the world around me, but which also evoke an open history. My photos are often rooted in socio-economic facts, but expressed creatively and subjectively. I hope that my working method is akin to creative non-fiction.
Reblando said he hopes the photographs in “Canal By Canal” will appeal to GVSU students, faculty and anyone else in the gallery.
He said his goal is for the project to help advance the ambitions of the GVSU Making Waves Initiative, a community cooperative that explores and studies the many ways water touches our lives.
“We hope that ‘Canal by Canal’ can build on the conversations started by the GVSU Making Waves initiative, and hope that the interdisciplinary topic and approach will support the mission of the gallery and the university,” said Reblando.
GVSU Art Gallery will continue their “On The Wall Artist Talk” series next month with acclaimed photographer Donata Ferraro to discuss her 30-plus-year career photographing victims / survivors of domestic violence and her work as a as an anti-violence activist.
His work will be exhibited in the Kirkhof Center Wall Gallery from October 1.