Annis, Fiona. Double Moon Crossing, C-print enlargement of wet plate collodion. 2016.

Campbell River Art Gallery exhibit allows you to ponder the mysteries of the cosmos

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing

An astronomy themed photography exhibition at the CRAG will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing.

The Campbell River Art Gallery (CRAG)’s newest exhibition by Montreal artist and photographer Fiona Annis will challenge viewers to think about the nature of knowledge and how we come to know. Seems like a tall order, and it is; Annis has a knack for presenting complex ideas with a poetic hand in extraordinarily dense themes in her work. She explores the links between photography, astronomy and the unknown in her newest body of work, a portion of that which was once everything, on at the CRAG from July 11 to Sept. 4.

“While studying the history of photography I came to realize that the invention of the photographic apparatus is indebted to optical lenses first used by astronomers,” Annis says in an interview about the work with CRAG. “This discovery contributed to my ongoing interest in the links between photography and astronomy… as well as the exploration of that which lies beyond the limits of observation.”

She is fascinated by the idea that what we can see and have come to know in the sky is only visible through special equipment that makes things visible and isolates them at the same time. Astrological bodies are visible to us because light from those objects has traveled thousands, if not millions, of kilometres and has taken days, if not years, to reach us. By this very nature, by the time we see something, that moment is already in the past. The mystery and the magic of this is what Annis explores through her haunting imagery.

“I find instruments aimed at making sense of the vast unknown as fascinating artifacts of a collective desire to apprehend something quite mysterious,” Annis says.

CRAG Executive Director and Chief Curator Vicky Chainey Gagnon has been watching the career of Annis since 2008 and has been looking for the right opportunity to present her work. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Lunar landing when on July 20, 1969, two humans stepped foot on the moon for the first time.

“This occasion is the perfect opportunity to showcase a body of work that explores themes of light, astronomy, and how we navigate that which we don’t know,” says Chainey Gagnon.

A very special one-on-one discussion with the artist and Nanaimo-based astronomer Tony Puerzer is planned for Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. and will look at Annis’s work and its resonance with the science of astronomy. Puerzer will provide an astronomer’s perspective on exploration, discovery and the search for our place in the universe as it applies to the work of Annis. Cost is a $5 donation to the CRAG.

The exhibition will include not only the artwork, but also selected quotations to help contextualize the work and quiet meditative spaces for visitors to ponder the mysteries of the cosmos. The CRAG invites the public to a free opening reception to launch the work on Thursday, July 11 at 7:00 pm in the main gallery. A cash bar will be available and light refreshments served.

For more information, contact the CRAG at 250-287-2261, email or visit