Orest Semchishen

About the Artist

Orest Semchishen was born in 1932 in Mundare, Alberta. Like other self-taught photographers represented in the permanent  collectionTo collect is to accumulate objects. A collection is an accumulation of objects. A collector is a person who makes a collection. (Artlex.com)  of the Mendel Art Gallery, notably Les Saunders and Stewart Brown, Semchishen makes his living in the sciences. As a radiologist, he is intimately aware of the properties of light and energy, and this familiarity translates into striking imagery.

Despite his highly technological occupation, the primary  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  of Semchishen’s significant  body of workA collection of artwork by a particular artist, either over a lifetime, or as related to one subject, etc.  owes more to his rural origins than to engineering. For many years, Semchishen has been documenting his travels through rural Canada. As he encounters towns, neighbourhoods and individual residents on his journeys, he photographs what he finds, freezing the changing, or disappearing, lives and lifestyles with a medium format film camera. He then processes and prints his images himself, by hand, through photographic chemistry.

Semchishen has exhibited widely, including multiple solo exhibitions at the Edmonton Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Alberta) in Edmonton, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge, and the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. Many institutions have collected Semchishen’s work as well, including the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa, Ontario, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, Quebec.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning