The Depth of Preconception

Central Gallery

The Depth of Preconception

Brent Bukowski

Opening Reception:
August 25th - 6 pm to 9 pm

Artist Talk:
November 10 - 7 pm

Brent Bukowski works primarily with reclaimed materials, reanimating discards into compositions that explore environmental, historical, and cultural themes, particularly their relationship with climate change. The Depth of Preconception presents a series of sculptures that highlight the urgent need to agree on a shared set of facts, accept scientific consensus, and understand the ramifications of our simultaneously interconnected and shattered world. Across the myriad of critical issues facing us today – climate change, public health, systemic racism, and democratic decline, to name just a few – division runs deep and is expanding. It is driven politically, fueled by our social media and news feed algorithms, and custom fit to our browsing history. Through physical

representation of the nebulous and fractured media landscape, Brent encourages us to reflect on the bias of our personal beliefs and values in the age of post-truth.1

Works in the exhibition are based around the lens, both literally and figuratively, through which we view a particular issue. At the centre of each piece, a large lens set at maximum aperture enlarges a small, printed image of a defining topic under conversation – fragments of the Twitter blue check, freedom convoy and Capitol Hill insurrections, COVID-19 virus details, and climate action protest signage all loom large. The physical relationship between lens aperture and depth of field acts as a metaphor for the narrowing of our individual spectrum of preconceptions and confirmation bias.2 The larger the central opening, the narrower the focus; the smaller the opening, the deeper the focus. Each lens is then nestled in and around the layers of a geometric assemblage constructed using thousands of steel pipe sections, inspired by the idea of endlessly repeating fractal geometry and reminiscent of honeycomb – the hive mind.3 The outside of each pipe segment is painted in gloss white, while the inside is left rusted, denoting the conflict of the culture wars. Shadows cast by the sculptures on the wall create an ambiguous visual layer, pointing to what we have been paying attention to in the moment and often forget instantly as we are whisked away into the next big trend. In our world where misinformation and disinformation are rampant, it is increasingly important to make decisions based on a shared set of objective facts, not our individual construction of reality. When one person’s truth can be another person’s lie it is far too easy to circle endlessly in digital echo-chambers. By portraying a physical manifestation of the conceptual complication of confirmation bias, The Depth of Preconception provides a glimmer of hope – if we can recognize the scale of the problem, perhaps we can get on with the work of engaging in concrete actions to build our shared future.

The Depth of Preconception is generously supported by the
Canada Council for the Arts, the Columbia Kootenay Cultural
Alliance, and the Columbia Basin Trust.

1 Post-truth (Oxford Dictionary word of the
year 2016) is defined as ‘relating to or
denoting circumstances in which objective
facts are less influential in shaping public
opinion than appeals to emotion and personal
belief’. “Word of the Year 2016.” Oxford


2 Confirmation Bias is a tendency for people
to favour information that confirms their
preconceptions or hypothesis regardless of
whether the information is true. Cambridge


3 The Hive Mind is a notional entity
consisting of a large number of people who
share their knowledge or opinions with one
another, regarded as producing either
uncritical conformity or collective
intelligence. (Oxford Languages definition).