Field Guide to the Power Lines of the Pend d’Oreille Valley

chapbook/exhibition catalogue, by Tim van Wijk, radiotelescopus@yahoo.ca

Tim van Wijk had a solo show at the Helen Pitt gallery in Vancouver recently for which he meticulously constructed miniature power-towers and rolling astroturf hills to set them on. He said: “I know the work deals with important issues, I just don’t know what they are.” Field Guide is his lovely self-published catalogue for the show. Without overdoing it, he treats those huge metallic towers like they’re part of the natural aesthetic landscape of the Pend d’Oreille valley, as wildlife or vegetation. The chapbook is saved from being a silly tongue in cheek gesture by the fact that it comes from a genuine, boyish affection for these Voltron-like constructions. He gives us little descriptions (with photos and diagrams) of each of the species of “power lines” (towers) and includes an appendix of the “Noxious and invasive weed species found on transmission line right of ways.” The issues he wasn’t clear about are more closely related to the magic qualities of landscape photography than to model-building; the slightly perverse, but unmistakable warmth of the field guide proves that to me. (Donato Mancini)

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