Cat Schick


CAAF Residency st[art]@Art Central, September – October 2010




Cat Schick graduated from ACAD in 1987 in Photographic Arts. After living and exhibiting in Calgary for a few years, she moved to Zürich, Switzerland in 1990. While there, Schick expanded her practice to include installation, assemblage, artists’ books, and artist trading cards. She had several exhibitions in Switzerland as well as Holland, the Czech Republic, and Canada. Schick returned to Calgary in 2006. Schick’s most recent exhibitions were in an independent space, a +15 space and also TRUCK Gallery, showing photographs and doing photo walking tours.



My photographic practice is a study of urban environments and how humans create and are creative in these spaces. The viewer is presented with images of things seen every day but not taken notice of. By photographing objects of interest, moments of chance and beauty, and how people live I aim to create a visual map of the urban experience.

My practice in the past year has evolved into more involvement in public art and social engagement – taking the work out of the galleries and directly to the public, challenging the viewer to be an active participant in the work rather than a passive viewer. Photo walking tours, postering and websites are the methods I’ve used to do this. The public was also invited to display their photographs alongside mine in my last exhibition.


What do people think of when they hear the words “downtown Calgary”? Is it “work”, “dangerous”, “boring”, “lively”? This project is meant to challenge the viewer into questioning their own preconceptions about the inner city, examining their fears, and challenging the view of their own (inner) city and cities in general.

The Art Central space is an ideal location to pursue this project in. The residency would allow me to focus time and energy on this locale: exploring and documenting over a period of time would be an opportunity to show the public different views of a location fraught with connotations. The space will be used as a “home base” for my photographic excursions into the downtown core – I will shoot on a regular basis and display the results of my journeys.

The residency will also bring attention to another aspect of my practice: public participation in a dialogue about urban landscape photography. I will set up scheduled times to be at the space for people to drop in and talk about photography and urban issues. The public will also have the opportunity to join me on photo walking tours, already scheduled at EMMedia (September 15th and 18th) and The Art Gallery of Calgary (October 2nd).

As another part of the project I will leave photographs in various places for the public to discover, tagged with information about the residency. This is taking art out of the gallery setting and making it more accessible to the public. It is meant to surprise the viewer by finding images in unexpected places. Street art in all its forms interests me, and I like the idea of doing “guerilla art”actions. When people find the photos, it will lead them to the CAAF space in Art Central and possibly to a website.