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Alberta Culture Days 2013


As part of Medicine Hat’s Culture Days celebrations, Tom Willock will be coming to Medicine Hat Public Library for a reception and artist talk on Sunday, September 29 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Immersed in Waterton will be exhibited at MHPL from September 3 to September 30 through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program. For more information about this travelling exhibition, visit or phone 403-502-8586.

Immersed in Waterton is a solo exhibition by photographer Tom Willock featuring eighteen traditional gelatin silver black-and-white prints from two of his earlier series titled The Elements of Wilderness and Images of Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. Willock captures a sense of place with each photograph and explores our inherent connection to nature. The images are intimate and intuitive records that are infused with our sense of belonging.

Since his childhood Willock has been preoccupied with landscape and place. “Nature is such a part of me. I never really separated it. I was about 5 years old and I lived at the river. It was safe there,” recalls Willock on growing up in Milk River. Later, as a ten year old in Waterton, where, in 1953, his family purchased a cabin, Tom had access to virgin landscape – an experience that has been a part of him ever since.

As an adult, Willock’s curiosity with whole ecosystems and the river led him to write a thesis on the Milk River. “Whole ecosystems are a tough passion to express,” remarks Willock. After receiving his Master’s in Zoology, it wasn’t until Willock stumbled across This is the American Earth by Ansel Adams, that he grasped the potential that large format photography offered to express his passion.

Willock worked with National Museum of Natural Sciences in Ottawa and with a number of organizations in the Milk River area before moving to Medicine Hat in 1978, where he became Director of the Medicine Hat Museum. Throughout his time in Medicine Hat, Willock continually escaped south to visit the land he knew best, Waterton and Milk River. Photographs from these trips offer detailed studies of the shortgrass prairie and the rich flora and rough terrain of Waterton.

Willock retired from MHMAG in 1998, crediting his work with the museum as his introduction to art in a formal way. “Medicine Hat has an incredible arts community with renowned artists like Luke Lindoe, Roloff Beny, Janet Mitchell and H. G. Glyde,” says Willock. “The Library has a remarkable mural by H. G. Gylde, as does St. Patrick’s Church. Both are worth the visit.”

In 1999, Tom and his wife Susan opened the Sax-Willock Gallery in Waterton, commuting between Waterton and Medicine Hat to operate the gallery.  Since then, the gallery has moved to Banff, where they continue to own, operate, curate and create. Visit for more information. 



Sunday, September 29, 2013

from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.



Honor Currie Room, 414 First Street, Medicine Hat, AB



September 3 – 30, 2013