Biography

Born in Calgary, Alberta (1963) Donald Lawrence has a BFA from the University of Victoria (1986) and an MFA from York University (1988). He lives in Kamloops where he teaches in the Visual Arts program at Thompson Rivers University. Through such bodies of artwork as The Beach (1985), Romantic Commodities (1993), The Sled (1995), The Underwater Pinhole Photography Project (ongoing, since 1997), and Torhamvan/Ferryland (2005), Lawrence uses combinations of photography, sculpture, drawing, and installation to relate stories of travel, exploration and mechanical invention to interests in the meeting place of urban and wilderness culture, increasingly around his particular interest in sea kayaking. In addition to paddling on the BC coast he has travelled with folding kayaks to Alaska, Maine, Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, and Tasmania.  There, Lawrence converted one of his kayaks into a floating camera obscura. Together with his Underwater Pinhole Photography Project (since 1997) and the more recent Quidi Vidi Camera Obscura (2014) such works relate Lawrence’s interests in sea kayaking and the ocean environment to a long-standing fascination with early and pre-photographic optical apparatuses. In addition to his studio and teaching practices Lawrence engages in a range of publication and conference activities and has been the recipient of research grants from the BC Arts Council, the Canada Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). He is currently the Principal Investigator of The Camera Obscura Project, a SSHRC-funded program of research that involves artists and scholars from Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.