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Interested in others Forest City Gallery September 16, 2016 to October 20, 2016

Michelle Bunton Lucas Cabral Jamie Campbell Christopher Lacroix & afallenhorse Anna Eyler

Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated) McIntosh Gallery September 22 to October 29, 2016

Stephen Andrews Shuvinai Ashoona Barbara Astman Stephen Best Bob Bozak Greg Curnoe Colin Muir Dorward Evergon Robert Fones Wyn Geleynse Sky Glabush Richard Hamilton Joseph Hubbard Kirtley Jarvis James A. Kost Jason McLean Shelley Niro Dennis Oppenheim Gerard Pas Jamie Q Angie Quick Gillian Saward Tony Scherman Michael Schreier Becky Singleton Michael Snow Jeff Thomas Joanne Tod Gerald Trottier Joyce Wieland


5 Constructs and Transformations: Investigating Other Modes of Self-Representation Katie Oates

13 List of Images

14 Acknowledgments

Cover: Colin Muir Dorward, Grievance Calculator, 2012

Constructs and Transformations: Investigating Other Modes of Self-Representation Katie Oates

The formulation of selfhood has always been

complexities of capturing a self-portrait and

a transformative process; one that is not shows identity as a fluctuating enactment. immediately perceptible, yet lending fluidity Emerging Canadian artists unravel the genre to modes of representation that speak to through a new-media investigation of its current day art practices. The external forces multidimensionality. This impetus becomes that we encounter contribute to the formation particularly challenging when considering the of our identities, imparting their effects upon role that social media plays on formulations, us while navigating the complexities of or embellishments, of the self. The selfeveryday life. These subjective experiences, portrait simultaneously veils and unveils: not combined with social ideologies, become necessarily akin to one’s likeness, and more mapped onto us through our exposure to, and representative of an immutable construct that internalization of, them. Identity can then be undergoes processes of censorship, editing, understood as construction of these forces.

and refinement before subjected to its viewer’s gaze. Similarly, McIntosh Gallery’s

Never static or complete, neither whole Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated) or comprehensive, the portrait belongs to interrogates the genre with over twenty a particular moment—not representative contemporary Canadian and international of an entire person’s identity, but rather a artists working in a range of mediums, from fragment, a piece of someone. Correlative painting and photography, to video and to the ways in which the limitations of embroidery. Questioning the relationship traditional portraiture have come unbound between identity and representation, the since its earliest days of practice, Forest City artists explore the ubiquity of the portrait with Gallery’s Interested in others tackles the regard to digital platforms and individual


virtual presence.

in relation to issues of racial, sexual, and cultural identification. The cyclical video

The exhibitions are revelatory of the tenuous immerses visitors in the artist’s regenerative relationship between the human psyche and experience while simultaneously facilitating the physical body. Challenging traditional an interconnectivity amongst the artists. notions of portraiture, the artists illustrate the Lacroix’s strategic process of recreation and multifaceted layers of selfhood, expanding rehearsal is analogous to the revision—or the genre’s definition beyond purely visual manipulation—exerted in the production representation. Such reconfiguration can of the digital portrait. Similarly, the artist’s quite literally be heard throughout Forest meticulous video editing process parallels City Gallery. Christopher Lacroix’s voice the constructed nature of the genre, resituated emanates beyond its installation space in in a contemporary context. a performative act that is “both genuine and



perceptible Exploring concepts of time, Michelle

before it is visually perceptible, it reaches Bunton and Jamie Campbell engage in the all corners of the gallery, speaking to the transmutable state of the physical body ways in which individuals are perceived

while straddling tensions between interior


and exterior, consciousness and semblances. inorganic and organic binaries, Eyler’s Both artists address questions of reality portraiture becomes sutured to Lucas while juxtaposing the physical with the Cabral’s. Enmeshed within concepts of the intellectual: Bunton through the use of the body, Cabrel uses these polarities to explore archive as a technological medium, and the body as both a site of necessary, physical Campbell through an “open-ended collection processes and a site of pleasure. of images.” Searching for a truth value in visual representation, their works join with Incorporating video and photography, Forest Anna Eyler, whose practice is an inquiry into City Gallery’s new-media exhibition explores stable identities that, in the artist’s words, identity through a framework of tenuous, “straddle the line between reality and fiction, antagonistic




humour and tragedy, beauty and sublimity.” are emphasized to reflect social media’s Concerned with the effects imparted onto influence over the surge of portraits pervading subjecthood by the technological world, technological platforms, images that are her work endeavours to unite the real and strategically formulated and constructed. the virtual, while embracing the residual If we are indeed, as John Tagg writes, in fissures amid this gap. Entwined between an “era of throwaway images,” then the


malleability of visual representation further invigorating dialogue that is vested in the dismantles the authenticity of portraiture and complicated nature of self-representation. its ability to represent us as a whole. Used and disposed, only to be soon forgotten,

The correlative exhibitions illuminate the

these images render that which the artist, ways in which portraiture has been reworked or sitter, chooses to present to the world— across new platforms. Multidisciplinary often mere fragments of our identities, or artists, from all stages of their careers, are only briefly symbolic of particular moments presented in McIntosh Gallery to illustrate in time. Interested in others confronts these the porousness of identity; that it is never convolutions, with each artist presenting to static, but always in flux. External forces us a piece of evidence, a site, a record, a impeding and playing upon the body create performance, a fissure. Combined with the continually evolving identities at the juncture impetus for Portraits, self and others (it’s of subjective experience and social ideology. complicated), the exhibitions generate an

Such forces rupture traditional modes of


self-representation to show the internal shaped by an individual’s internal struggles, formulations of identity. The expansive

evoked through handwriting. Similarly,

range of artists flexing both conventional Angie Quick plays with modes of selfand unconventional mediums are united representation by portraying a moment in in the imperative to elucidate the internal time. Impassioned by an intimate dialogue, narratives underpinning formulations of self- her large-scale painting is evocative of the portraiture.

artist’s process; the fruition of the cyclical nature joining the body to its emotions. Colin

Embroidery is joined with audio in Kirtley Muir Dorward also uses large-scale paintings Jarvis’s

self-portrait, not so

much a to create pictures that are revelatory of

representation of the artist as it is a record subjective encounters. He presents his work of an impression left behind by a stranger. under the advice given by fiction authors to Taken from a found note, this piece represents “write what you know.” Not conceived as a a particular moment in time that has been self-portrait, but rather a product of personal


experiences, his large-scale oil paintings only matters of formality, of sophistication illustrate the fluidity of self-representation. and complication.” Their meaning and He addresses the multiple ways in which purpose has evolved with technological viewers engage with, and interpret, a work of advancements, social ideologies, and the art. These artists demonstrate the effects and

numerous ways that each of us envision the

encounters that everyday life has on oneself genre, for “everyone creates his or her own and the complexities entailed in attempting experience.” Taking shape in new-media and to put visual representation to subjective traditional forms, contemporary portraiture experience.

speaks to the futility of representing identity through static figuration. The artists of

The ability to edit and embellish the Interested in others and Portraits, self and images that we put forth has altered others (it’s complicated) exemplify the traditional concepts of portraiture. As

transformation that the genre has undergone.

stated by Thomas Ruff, “the changes are

Expressing their unique characteristics,


encounters, and perplexities through self- specifically, the burgeoning art community portraiture, they show us their individuality that connects both emerging and wellbut also, that when considered as a whole, established artists in London, Ontario. create a portrait of a community. More

Bibliography Blank, Gil. “Does a Portrait Without Identity Still Have Value To Us As People?” Influence no. 02 (2004): 48-59. Tagg, John. “A Democracy of the Image: Photographic Portraiture and Commodity Production” The Burden of Representation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 1993), 34-59.



6 Christopher Lacroix & afallenhorse, If the Rehearsal is Genuine, 2014 7 Anna Eyler, How to Explain Love to a Tape Measure, 2016 8 Top: Jamie Campbell, Fever Coat, (ongoing) Bottom: Installation image of Interested in others, 2016 9 Installation image of Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated), 2016

10 Installation image of Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated), 2016

11 Installation image of Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated), 2016

12 Installation image of Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated), 2016



This publication documents and expands upon two complementary exhibitions that were organized collaboratively: Interested in Others, presented at Forest City Gallery from September 16 to October 20, and Portraits, Self and Others (it’s complicated) presented at McIntosh Gallery, Western University, from September 22 to October 29, 2016. Forest City Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operational support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the London Arts Council and the City of London. FCG also acknowledges the support of its members, volunteers, patrons and the Gallery’s Board of Directors: Ruth Skinner, Abby Vincent, Nicole Rutberg, Liza Eurich, Kim Neudorf, Heather Carey, Tegan Moore, Savanah Sewell, Deanne Kondrat, Lynette de Montreuil, Lucas Stenning, and Jamie Faye Ryan. McIntosh Gallery acknowledges with gratitude funding provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Western University. We thank the exhibiting artists, publication designer Liza Eurich, and author Katie Oates for her insightful catalogue essay that deftly aligns and articulates the relationship between the two exhibitions. Jenna Faye Powell Director, Forest City Gallery James Patten Director and Chief Curator, McIntosh Gallery Catalogue design: Liza Eurich, Programming Chair, Forest City Gallery Photo Credit (McIntosh Images): Mark Kasumovic Images © Forest City Gallery and McIntosh Gallery Text © Katie Oates This publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Sharealike License.

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Constructs and Transformations: Investigating Other Modes of Self-Representation  

Forest City Gallery and McIntosh Gallery are proud to share 'Constructs and Transformations: Investigating Other Modes of Self-Representatio...

Constructs and Transformations: Investigating Other Modes of Self-Representation  

Forest City Gallery and McIntosh Gallery are proud to share 'Constructs and Transformations: Investigating Other Modes of Self-Representatio...