Former STU student shows off rural / urban photography at Wilser’s Room

Mike Erb took to rural New Brunswick for his latest exhibition. (Submitted)

Mike Erb has shaggy hair, an unshaven look, and one hell of an eye for photography.

As you walk into Wilser’s Room downtown, you’re greeted with sounds of music and the clinking of glasses, smells of old wood and booze, and the sight of Erb’s latest exhibition titled Rural / Urban.

Known in Fredericton for his urban photography, the former St. Thomas University student took a slightly different approach with his most recent exhibition.

“It’s basically about rural settings with an urban perspective,” Erb said. “I like just walking around cities looking at things that we normally pass by that have something interesting to them and [then] taking pictures of them. I wanted to do that in a rural setting.”

Erb grew up in Sussex, New Brunswick, a small farming town. After spending the last few years in cities, he combines his rural and urban influences in this exhibit.

“I like the creative aspect of just finding normal-looking things and putting a new light on it,” he said. “Just

simple things like an old car in a field. In Sussex, there’s just a lot of really cool things to take pictures of.”

The rural pictures in this exhibit were taken along the River Valley Scenic Drive. Erb drove up and down the highway for inspiration, scanning the country scenes for potential photographs.

Although he’s had several professional exhibitions, Erb said he started taking photos with a simple point-andshoot

camera in high school.

“I always wanted to do something creative but I couldn’t really draw or paint or create anything like that,” he

said. “So photography became my art form.”

He came to Fredericton to study photography and is now self-employed at his local studio Erban Photography.

His latest professional exhibition was last year at the Annex Gallery.

The Rural / Urban exhibition at Wilser’s Room is a little unconventional as opposed to standard gallery exhibitions,

but Erb said he likes the combination of live music and art that the Wilser’s Room offers.

“It’s a really personable way of showing art,” he said. “And it makes sense because in the Maritimes, artists

are always working together because it’s such a small place. Incorporating art and live music in one location is untraditional but it’s becoming more popular.”

During the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, Erb’s exhibition got a lot of attention.

Concerts that were part of the festival were held in Wilser’s Room, drawing in large crowds and giving Erb’s photography a lot of exposure.

“The response has been really good,” he said. “People really seem to be enjoying it which is always good to hear.”

Erb said the feedback he receives from exhibitions is one of the best parts about showing his work.

“It’s really exciting when you hear that someone really likes a photograph or bought a photograph,” he said.

Rural / Urban will continue to be on display at Wilser’s Room until November.