Stephen Bulger Gallery

JOHN LUCAS: Tram Portraits

JOHN LUCAS: Tram Portraits

untitled #5 riga by john lucas

John Lucas

Untitled #5 Riga, 2011

Saturday, September 21, 2013Saturday, October 19, 2013


Toronto, ON Canada

Exhibition Dates: September 21 - October 19
Reception for the Artist: Saturday, September 21, 2-5 pm

The gallery is pleased to present its first exhibition of work by John Lucas, featuring his series entitled “Tram Portraits” in Gallery Two.

Made during his time in Riga, Latvia and Milan, Italy, “Tram Portraits” is a series of photographs that capture riders on public transit networks. Taken through the windows of streetcars, the images show passengers during their daily commute.

During the 1970s, Lucas withdrew from a serious commitment to photography, finding it incompatible with the demands of a scientific career. In 1981, a journey to Russia inspired him to produce a series based on Polaroid and colour transparency _lm. However, it took until 2007 to bring this nascent project to life. Lucas’ Russian series was instrumental in shifting his interest towards a more painterly, formal, emotive, and sometimes abstract approach. Most importantly, it reenergized his lifelong interest in photography and became the catalyst for these tram portraits.

In regards to this series, Lucas said: My tram project began accidentally in 2009, with several cold and damp days in Riga. Faces behind glass, journeying – perhaps between work and home – and drifting in thought, half conscious of surroundings. In Milan, chosen for its extensive tram network, commuters were different, yet behind windows, they carried a similar sense of time suspended. Returning two years later to Riga and my strategic spot, I waited and watched to the echoes of nighttime trams clanking and grinding towards the Central Market.

Born in London, England in 1942, Lucas studied physics at the University of Bristol and the University of Sussex. He subsequently received a doctorate in materials science, and in 1970 left for Canada where he became a scientist and inventor for the telecommunications and resource industries. Lucas’ work has been seen in several solo and group exhibitions. His photography has taken him from factories in his home city of Montreal, to snooker halls in Asia.

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