John van der Woude

Kelowna, BC

John van der Woude is an award-winning artist who initially studied art and design at Camosun College in Victoria, BC and later received his BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, NS in 2007. He has shown his work across the country and is included in numerous private collections. He currently lives in Kelowna, BC.


Typologies are a common practice in contemporary photography. Championed by photographers like Bernd and Hilla Becher, typologies give unique insight into the chosen subject matter by contrasting and comparing many examples of the same thing. While traditional typologies generally rely on physical characteristics to provide a cohesive grouping, I am, with this project, exploring something more abstract - a sociological typology.

On the surface, these images are simply documentation of the benches in various subway stations, specifically those within the city of Montreal. While there is no human presence being shown, there is still evidence that these benches are used on a regular basis, be it through graffiti, the oil stains from people's hair or by the general uncleanliness of the surroundings. But subways are an important part of today’s urban social landscape. When used in urban development, subways ensure a more vibrant, accessible and convenient city for its population, and the benches within the stations symbolize a continuous flow of transit-users, where thousands of people from a vast array of different demographics will sit every day. From a societal aspect, it is one of the few places where this takes place, creating a congregation of different income levels, ethnicities, religious beliefs and ages silently interacting every day.

On an aesthetic level, Montreal, with the varied architectural designs for each subway station, creates an interesting juxtaposition between modern design influences from various eras, from the 1960s to the 1990s. In the future, this project will extend to different cities to better compare the different architectural and social vernaculars nationally and internationally.


Bachelor of Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Major, NSCAD University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Visual Arts Diploma, Camosun College, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Selected Exhibitions

Google Earth, Gallery 44, Toronto, ON, Canada (Group)

Flash Foward 2008, Lennox Contemporary Gallery, Toronto, ON, Canada (Group)
Reshelving Initiative: 3, eyelevel Gallery, Halifax, NS, Canada (Group)

jen’yoo-in, Whippersnapper Gallery, Toronto, ON, Canada (Group)
BMO Financial Group’s 1st Art! Competition Exhibition 2007, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, ON, Canada (Group)
Make Do: Y Level Exhibition, eyelevel Gallery, Halifax, NS, Canada (Group)

Power Houses: Canada’s First Ministers, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, NS, Canada (Solo)
Power Houses: Halifax Regional Municipality’s City Council, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, NS, Canada (Solo)

Final Straws, Fifty-fifty Arts Collective, Victoria, BC, Canada (Group)

Dear Father, Pandora Street Art Space, Victoria, BC, Canada (Group)
Transitions: Camosun College Graduation Show 2002, EC4 Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada (Group)


BMO Financial Group’s Corporate Collection, Toronto, ON
Starfish Properties Corporate Collection, Halifax, NS
Various private collections


Globe and Mail, Dault, G. M., “Google airport photos attractive and troubling”, 7 November 2009, pR10
Torontoist, Gould, A. “An Aerial Earth”, 3 November 2009.
Now Toronto Magazine, Sandals, L., “Down to Google Earth”, 18–25 November 2009.
Black Flash Magazine, “Politician in Residence”, Spring/Summer 2009, p6

CNW Group, “BMO Names Best Student Artists in Canada”, 14 August 2007. Online.
Halifax Daily News, Lisk, D., “Artist takes ‘Where’s Waldo’ look at airports,” 9 May 2007, p26.
CBC Radio’s Q, 1 May 2007, radio interview. L’Actualité Magazine, “Premiers Ministres en la Demeure”, 1 April 2007, p19. 2006
Maclean’s Magazine, “The Man Behind the House”, 18 December 2006, p70. Arts Online, “Photo collection of premiers’ homes ‘great Canadiana’”, 18 December 2006. Online.
CBC Newsworld’s Morning News, 18 December 2006, television interview.
The Coast Magazine, “Political Platforms”, 17-23 December 2006, p40.
CBC Nova Scotia’s Evening News, 15 December 2006, television interview.
Halifax Chronicle Herald, “Power houses blend in with surroundings.” 10 August 2006, pF6.

Awards & Grants

Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2008 Award Winner (Canad

BMO Financial Group’s 1st Art! Invitational Art Competition Winner—Nova Scoti

British Columbia Arts Council Senior Scholarship.
NSCAD University’s Roloff Beny Photography Scholarship.
NSCAD University’s Homer Lord Memorial Fund Scholarshi

Camosun College’s Jessie Allen Forsyth Memorial — Visual Arts Award of Merit.


Gallery 44’s Google Earth Exhibition Catalogue, essay by Marco Avoli

Magneta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2008 Catalogue

BMO Financial Group: 1st Art! Invitational Art Competition Catalogue, 2003-07

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