A Fresh season at the Viseye 

Cote’s ‘snapshots’ capture the surreal

What: Fresh: An exhibit of new works by Dean Cote

Where: BBK’s Pub

When: Opening reception Tuesday, Dec. 16

It’s a brand new season for the Viseye Photography Gallery, so it’s fitting the first exhibit is titled ‘Fresh.’

Solo exhibitor and Whistler local of seven years Dean Cote says he chose the title since the Viseye show will feature all new original material.

Cote has had many past exhibition opportunities in Whistler, the most recent of which were The World As Our Teacher exhibit at MY (Millennium) Place last month and the Whistler Film Festival’s mountain culture exhibit on the walls of Rainbow Theatre last week. He is also a perennial fixture at the Whistler Farmers’ Market in the summer.

Known for shots of familiar landmarks with a slightly surreal twist, Cote says Fresh will include nature, action, lifestyle and abstract images courtesy of his simple Canon Elan 2 set-up, which he describes as "light as it gets."

"My philosophy is ‘carry a camera’ and my images are point and shoot," says Cote. "I don’t use choppers, I don’t use snowmobiles, it’s all driven from within. I don’t do any tricks. It’s just snapshots, but hopefully my snapshots are a little more surreal and unique than your average postcard."

While inspired by the works of local mother and son photographers Ruth and David Buzzard, along with Bruce Rowles, Cote’s got a fierce individualism that defines his work. He says he involves himself in every shot, choosing to become a part of the image rather than hide behind the lens. When enlisted to capture a recreation of the classic Toad Hall Studio’s nude ski-bum group cartoon drawing with live subjects in front of the Southside Deli, he saw fit to be naked himself.

"I wasn’t in the picture, but as far as the mentality and the integrity of the concept I felt that it was appropriate for me to get naked as well. That’s part of the image," Cote explained. "It always comes down to a moment in time. The energy and the passion and the motivation to get into that setting is as big a part of the battle as anything."

Gallery curator and original exhibitor Ellen Atkin said the Viseye chose Cote for his "talent, persistence and desire." Characterized in the past by trios of photographers, Cote’s solo show marks a new direction for the gallery which appropriates space on the warm walls of the cozy BBK’s pub in the heart of the Upper Village, courtesy of owners Chef Bernard and Bonnie Cassavant.

Cote is one of many photographers who have had the opportunity to display on the walls of BBK’s and he is following suit by expressing his appreciation.

"I think it’s crucial for local artists to have the opportunity to express themselves and showcase their work to get the feedback," said Cote. "It’s good to have people pushing on that front, give us the wall space to show our stuff."

The Viseye Photo Gallery will be hosting an artist’s reception for Fresh on Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring acoustic tunes by local musician Leanne Lamour. For more information check out the gallery Web site at www.viseyephotogallery.com.


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