Ernie Kroeger, the artist of the new exhibition in the TRU Art Gallery, has recently retired from TRU as an associate professor in the Visual Arts program. He has had 40 years’ worth of exhibitions in his lifetime and has brought his passion for walking with his passion for art together in this new exhibition titled ‘Selected Walks’.
Kroeger said, “I kind of reflected on what I had done during my career and quite a bit of it in the last 30 years was somehow connected to walking. And I didn’t really realize it.”
This new exhibition reflects all of the different exhibitions Kroeger has done in the past and links them all with one common theme: walking.
“I was doing all this work; meeting artists, different projects, all these sorts of things and so, when they asked me to do this show, I kind of had to think back about what I had done. I had done quite a few exhibitions in my life, like solo exhibitions and group shows but I had never done one on walking myself.” Kroeger said.
The exhibition touches on many different aspects of walking, from the physicality of it, such as paths and shoes, to the political stances of why drive thru’s exist.
Kroeger said, “I really dislike drive-thrus. Can’t people get out of their cars? So I call it a ‘proposal for intervention’, the idea that I could go around with a stencil and spray paint ‘walk’ on all the drive-thrus. So this is maybe social, political, critical.”
Kroeger had found many images related to walking from his past career, and compiled all the ones related to walking together to create this exhibition. Some are more recent photos, whereas others come from the 1990s.
“Most of them are from overtime. I have my studios full of artwork, I have a locker with crates of artwork, files, and I went through it and picked my favourites. Then I also printed some new stuff for the exhibition to kind of just give a broader perspective of what I had done. It’s really to give a kind of sampling of the different things I’ve done over my life. But they’re all sort of connected to walking.”
When asked about his favourite piece, Kroeger said that he most enjoyed the one titled “Shuswap Walk”, a cryogenic image of the word WALK painted on a curb on the side of the highway from 2009.
“As a photographer, I’m interested in composition and I found this driving the Shuswap and it was kind of ironic; the word walk stencilled on the highway. This is no place to walk. It’s dangerous, and there’s the lake, there’s no place to walk there. You’d have to swim across, so there was a kind of irony to me here but I also kind of liked the composition graphically of bands. And also it’s like a found object, like a lucky find.” Kroeger said.
Kroeger hopes that people will be able to take something from his exhibition, whether that be time or celebrating the activity that is walking.
“I think if people take a bit of time to look at these, the whole exhibition, they’ll see different aspects of walking. There’s a celebration of walking, there’s kind of the idea of being observant when you’re walking.” Kroeger said. “I have this idea that when the body is moving, it’s thinking in a different way.”
‘Selected Walks’ is open in the TRU Art Gallery from Nov.4 until Nov. 22, and is free for viewing.