William Eakin’s Time deserves a bit of yours

Winnipeg-based artist evokes reflection with his latest photography installation at the Actual Gallery

Photo taken by Alana Trachenko

The Actual Gallery is one of those hidden gems of the city that you have most likely passed in the Exchange without thinking twice about it.

Winnipeg is full of places you have to hunt for, and that’s fine with me. I was happy to have William Eakin’s photography exhibit to myself because it meant I could absorb both the grand and subtle gestures Eakin presents in his photos.

Eakin attended the Vancouver School of Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and has taught at several schools, including the University of Manitoba. His experience with fine arts is evident in his boldly executed and focused pieces that have the ability to make you look for an extra minute, coincidentally.

The entire collection is a series of clocks – some textured and some showing images. Space and galactic textures underlie most of the pieces, giving a sense of perspective beginning forcefully with the sun and moon clocks at the front.

The numbers on the clocks either dominate the photograph or hide in the background, but Eakin never wants you to forget what you are looking at.

There is a tension throughout between big and small – between global and local, generalized and specific. There is a relationship, Eakin shows, between our universe, and the day-to-day living that we do; he juxtaposes grand concepts of galaxy and space with the finer gestures of certain time periods.

The collection seems to suggest that we all measure time in our own way – the camping boy scout measures his by passing rather lonely hours by the campfire, while others may pass time by collecting baseball cards, or waiting for the Soviet regime to end. If nothing else, there are the basic timekeepers – the sky, moon, and sun.

The front pieces are playful and full of cool colour, while the piece at the back is mammoth and energetic. Eakin has prepared a series of textured clocks whose texture resembles the sun at the front and divided them into rows. The end result is consuming – every clock is done differently, each demanding a look.

I recommend going to Eakin’s exhibit. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I left. It’s rare that we get a chance to stop and think about what time means to us, and Eakin’s photographs make it an impossible topic to ignore.

How are you spending your time? What does the passing of time really mean? We forget that we have the ability to mould these seemingly concrete concepts in our hands, minds, and, in Eakin’s case, through a lens.

Time will be displayed at the Actual Gallery, 300 Ross Avenue, from Oct. 9 through Nov. 8, open 12:00pm to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.