Harbour Ghosts, HFX, 1999
Dye based ink jet print on photo paper
Three panels, each panel 122.0 x 151.8 cm
Purchased with funds provided by the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program and the AGNS Gallery Shop, 1999
"Askevold keeps telling ghost stories. Of course, ghost stories have a certain fascination." -- Ray Cronin
David Askevold was a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. In 1968 he moved to Halifax to teach at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His famous AProjects Class" in the early 1970s helped focus international critical attention on Halifax and NSCAD, bringing artists such as Sol Lewitt, Vito Acconci, John Baldessari and Lawrence Weiner to Halifax to work on projects with Askevold=s students. Askevold also taught at the California Institute of Art, the University of California, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, York University, and the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Askevold's work is held in major collections around the world, including: The Van Abbe Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. His work was included in the seminal exhibition Information at New York=s Museum of Modern Art in 1970 that cemented Conceptualism as a genre. Throughout his forty year career he was at the vanguard of contemporary art. In 1977 he was included in the prestigious Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany, and he has been the subject of a career survey at the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He has had solo exhibitions in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Milan, as well as numerous exhibitions in Canada, including a retrospective opening at the National Gallery and organized by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Ray Cronin, writing about Harbour Ghosts, HFX in Canadian Art, states "Works such as the large triptych Harbour Ghosts, HFX seem to be the result of some sort of journey. In the case of Harbour Ghosts, the trip was to the depths of Halifax Harbour. Sonar-resonance images of the harbour floor are combined with images drawn from historical and popular culture sources, creating surreal vistas of what lies beneath the surface. In reality, Halifax Harbour is filthy, an open sewer polluted with fecal matter and chemicals. In Askevold's work that pollution is turned into a kind of informational effluvia, a pollution of images. Anchor chains, flags and ad-image fragments: the ghosts of this harbour have a distinctly martial air, as if the years of use as a naval base have left a shadow behind. Still waters run deep, the saying goes, and we often prefer to leave them still."