A Bicycle Trip Built for Two

Les Flâneurs en Plein Air Captures Canadian Landscape

It took five weeks for Evan Prosofsky and Mark Stroemich to get from Montreal to Halifax. The convenience of modern airplane travel has reduced the trip to about an hour and a half, but travelling by bike, with a camera and painting tools, takes a little longer.

“We wanted to see Canada,” Prosofsky said. “And we figured that travelling by bicycle would be the easiest way.”

Aiming to explore the Canadian countryside, Les Flâneurs en Plein Air, an art show debuting at the Red Bird Gallery on Saturday, presents the diverse landscapes Prosofsky and Stroemich saw on their journey.

The artists based their work around the French concept of the flâneur, which refers to someone who strolls through a city in order to truly experience it.

Prosofsky captured the panorama they passed through with a 1931 wooden camera, which he kept as part of the exposition in order to emphasize the vintage inspiration. Influenced by artists such as John Singer Sargent and Tom Thomson, Stroemich recorded the trip through paintings.

They worked on location, taking from thirty minutes to an hour to take down their surroundings, and the paintings remain unmodified to preserve their realism.

The two didn’t see their dual representations as in competition with each other to more accurately depict the landscape, though.
“It is not a competition, but a comparison of landscapes in both photography and painting,” Prosofsky said. “Perhaps they will reflect different views on the places, but in the end it will be the exact same place.”

Both artists want to tell a story through each image, and more importantly they want the viewers to see landscapes not only as a background, but also as a source of artistry.

“Artists are usually conceptually driven. We wanted to leave that aside and experience the sight through a more natural point of view,” said Prosofsky.

Les Flâneurs en Plein Air / Nov. 19 to Nov. 30 / Red Bird Gallery (135 Van Horne Ave. W.)