David McMillan -- Book LaunchFriday May 17 2019 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium
Acclaimed photographer David McMillan launching Growth and Decay: Pripyat and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (Steidel Books).
Presented by Martha Street Studio and featuring the artist in conversation with Border Crossings. There will also be a viewing of his Martha Street Studio Edition Parquet Floor Variations, Prypiat, Ukraine.
David McMillan began his career as a painter, receiving an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973, but gradually became more involved with photography. A concern for the vulnerability of the environment led him to photograph in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the site of what is considered to be the world's worst nuclear accident. Having returned to the site over 20 times since 1994, Growth and Decay serves as a record of McMillan’s lifetime commitment to this monumental project. As McMillan has explained: "When I first ventured to Chernobyl in 1994, the experience was thrilling and totally absorbing. I felt I had found a subject both inexhaustible and consequential. I wanted to make photographs describing something I hadn’t seen before, which had the potential to be simultaneously beautiful and unsettling."
McMillan taught photography at the University of Manitoba for 39 years and has had over thirty solo exhibitions since 1980 and some sixty selected publications, including catalogs for such major surveys as Photography in Canada 1960–2000 (National Gallery of Canada, 2017) and Camera Atomica (Art Gallery of Ontario, 2015). His work has been featured internationally with showings in Hong Kong, Serbia (former Yugoslavia), Iceland, Finland, Israel, Australia, China, Germany, and the USA.
- by David Mcmillan
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Since 1994 Scottish-born Canadian photographer David McMillan (born 1945) has journeyed 21 times to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Inspired by his teenage memories of Nevil Shute's On the Beach (1957), a disturbing vision of the world following nuclear war, McMillan found in Pripyat the embodiment of an irradiated city still standing but void of human life. As one of the first artists to gain access to "The Zone," McMillan initially explored the evacuated areas with few constraints and in solitude, save for an occasional scientist monitoring the effects of radioactivity. Returning year after year enabled him to revisit the sites of earlier photographs--sometimes fortuitously, sometimes by design--bearing witness to the forces of nature as they reclaimed the abandoned communities. Above all, his commitment has been to probe the relentless dichotomy between growth and decay in The Zone.