Artists' Statements

Seth Berkowitz
Alan Bibby
Chris Stackhouse




“Images are  inherently fascistic because they overstamp the truth, however dim and blurred, of the real past experience;”

from ‘Daniel Martin’ by John Fowles

Through a Glass Darkly
by Seth Berkowitz

I started this project thinking that it was going to be about windows - a literal reading of the theme.  As I shot and collected the images and pieces, and as they started to come together, I noticed that they were not coming together as a cohesive whole.  

One night, while being insomniac and catching up on my reading of serious literature, I came across the quote above.  I knew immediately that this was to become the focus of the image, though it still took several weeks before I was able to sift the images down to what you see here.

The images that make up this work are all photographs that were shot while in Ottawa this past winter (except for the text of the quote which is included). 


My image “Through a Glass Darkly” is a giclee print on canvas. 

Through a Glass Darkly” is a limited edition of 1, with 2 artist’s proofs.

A  painting that makes up part of this image is called ‘Returning to the Trenches’ by CRW Nevinson’, and can be found at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.



When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.

For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, just as I am known.    1Cor 13

My personal interpretation of the verses from Corinthians comes out of an Anglican background and discussions with a resident Salt Spring philosopher.

It appears that the original Greek text was not translated accurately; as a result, for centuries people have interpreted through a glass, darkly, as if peering through a clouded or dim glass pane. The Greek dia spektrou means “of a mirror” and a primitive one at that, usually polished brass. This puts a different spin on things – instead of looking through distortions of imperfect glass, the writer Paul of Tarsus is referring to the image we see when we look at reversed reflections of ourselves. a child... I see the world around me through a fresh perspective, my consciousness or awareness not clouded by life experiences.

...when I became an adult... I see reality filtered through personal thought processes. My consciousness may be at a heightened level but I do not see myself clearly in this mirrored reflection ... now I know only in part.

It is not till we see ourselves in the mirror of the Creator's eyes that we will understand fully, face to face as we truly are... just as I am known by God.

Bottom line: in the now, we can only see a variable reflection of our true selves; the other part of the story is awaiting us.

A note on the images know in part”
The influence here was from the Buddhist concept of impermanence represented in the Mandala and the “dust to dust” phrase from the bible. The sand overlaying the photographs was added in different layers of transparency, leaving the eyes – windows of the soul – clear. At the end of the session, the sand was swept away.

The images are purely photographic – no Photoshop techniques were used except slight adjustments in colour and saturation.



Chris is best known for his large collection of photographs of wooden grain elevators, big prairie skies and the use of light and shadow on the unique structures. His images are captured on traditional film and then scanned and transferred digitally for printing. He believes that this type of printing helps reduce the use of harmful chemicals and therefore helps preserve our environment. His work is consistent with a focus on detail.

To stay true to the theme of the show, Chris has used images less predictable and more experimental in style.

NATURE'S KALIEDESCOPE is a picture of reflections. The original image is beautiful in it's natural state but with the artistry of digital control, it has become a spectacular tapesty; it is a play on looking through a glass.

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY is a traditional true life shot that has no need to be altered. It is what it is, a picture of peeling paint, a darkened window where the little jar of plastic flowers leaves you wondering.

ONE WHITE LILY takes the spectator on a journey through four separate infrared photographs. The white lily remains nearly white whilest the others around it change in colour and hue.

ANOTHER REALITY (what lies beyond) is Chris tempting the viewer to see beyond the door. The question remains, "What is the reason for the padlock and what was that sign on the door?"


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All photographs © 2008 by the artist