Jan Crawford: Re-labelling an Okanagan Identity
Preview Magazine, June 2002

For generations, life in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia has revolved around miles of orchards and the fruit production industry. The recurring themes in B.C. printmaker Jan Crawford's work are from this source: vivid depictions of fruit, views of the Okanagan landscape, and scenes of orchard-related objects. Since 1986, Crawford has used monotype techniques to produce her gorgeous prints at the Malaspina Printmakers Society on Granville Island.

Her new exhibition has four distinct sections that trace today's changing land use. In one section, she utilizes images of objects related to the fruit industry – such as picking pails, boxes, ladders, canning jars or pieces of fruit – as icons to emphasize how they have given the area its branding and definition since the 1920s. In another, Crawford combines monochromatic life-sized prints taken from archival photographs with images of the brightly-coloured fruit labels that were so distinctive of the region in the 1930s and 40s.

In a third approach, she depicts the encroachment of new vineyard industries by integrating her own landscape photographs with recent wine labels. And in a more conceptual bent, glass canning jars containing photographs taken by the artist are positioned to evoke viewer responses to recent changes in land usage. Visitors to the exhibit are encouraged to contribute their comments.


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