Greg Girard: Half the Surface of the World

There’s a lot happening in Vancouver, British Columbia right now, if you hadn’t noticed. Of course, I’m talking about art. Currently on view at Monte Clark Gallery is a solo show of new work by Vancouver-born Greg Girard. The exhibition, entitled Half the Surface of the World, presents photographs taken by Girard on his visits to more than twenty US military bases across the massive area of the world known to the Pentagon as “PACOM.” PACOM is the largest of six “territorial constructs that exist solely on the Pentagon’s map of the world,” according to the exhibition’s materials, which go on to explain that “The US military influence in this region is mainly anchored with bases in Japan, Korea and Guam.” Girard, who has been living in Asia since 1983, reveals through his work how reminiscent these bases—which are home to family members as well as soldiers—are to typical Middle-American suburbs. One imagines that if you were drugged and dropped into a few of these scenes, you would be none the wiser that you were half way around the world from the birthplace of hamburgers and milkshakes. While the images are eerie, the sentiment might be the exact opposite for those who live in these locations for any length of time, as they find themselves surrounded by the consolation of “home.” However, void of any human interaction within the shots, they appear distant and industrial as they glow with the deeply saturated colors of street lamps at twilight. I’m reminded of the work of Richard Ross, both aesthetically and thematically. In a certain way they remind me most of his Waiting for the End of the World series of bomb shelters.

Greg Girard has exhibited internationally, including in multiple solo shows at Monte Clark Gallery and in group shows at Amelia Johnson Contemporary in Hong Kong, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA in Helsinki.