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harry cow callerLisa Murzin and the Owen Sound Artists' Co-op, Legacy Gallery, present the debut print exhibition of Harry Was a Cow Caller, April 1st to 30th at 942 2nd Avenue East, Owen Sound, Ontario.

Harry Was a Cow caller is an ongoing documentary project that examines small farming in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Murzin's focus is regionally specific: since 2003, she has been visiting the Keady Livestock Market in Tara, Ontario. Originally focused on market activity, Murzin came to know the farmers who frequented Keady and began shooting their portraits on market days. Subsequently, several farmers invited her to visit and photograph their farms, and thus the fusion of this project was born: the overall market narrative provides a larger social and economic context for more personal stories.

A recurring subject in this series, Harry is a cow caller. The past tense of the exhibition title alludes to the rapid disappearance of his way of life and livelihood, the increasingly obsolete skills and traditions he embodies. Cattle calling might soon be a thing of the past as family farms continue to be replaced by cash-crop corporate conglomerates. In light of what seems inevitable, it is crucial to document Harry and his kith now.

The exhibition in the Legacy Gallery at the Owen Sound Artists' Co-op will be comprised of variously sized still images-black and white analogue as well as colour digital prints. It will also include audio of farmer Harry calling his cattle that viewers can activate by scanning a QR-code with their smartphones: no-tech meets high-tech, old school meets in-vogue. Harry's disembodied voice will sound, resound, and reverberate differently depending on the gallery–goer. Visitors are also invited to share their own farm stories and memories in a handmade book that will accompany the exhibition.

Lisa Murzin is a Toronto-based photographer who transitions comfortable between her personal documentary work and her professional commercial practice, between black & white and colour images, and between film and digital technologies. Drawn in the slow time and solitary space of her darkroom, the textures and rhythms of old-school film development nurture Murzin's creativity in an increasingly pixelated world.

source: media release

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