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October 1 - December 31, 2011
An artist wields a lot of control in how the viewer perceives a portrait. A portrait can be insightful, sometimes flattering and sometimes not. Whether it is a photograph, a drawing or a painting the artist has the ability to frame or construct the image to portray that person in a particular light.
This exhibition presents the work of eight artists who have created portraits for different reasons. The intent could be to capture the person at a moment in time or to create a narrative about who that person is. The artist could have created the portrait to be as truthful a likeness as possible or it could be a made up from the artist’s imagination. This exhibition attempts to show eight very particular perspectives of what a portrait can be.
– Patrick Macaulay, Head, Visual Arts
This body of work represents a cross-section of the people arrested and charged in Canada’s largest mass arrest at the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto. These photographs were taken outside of the first court appearance for all the individuals charged during the summit. These portraits and stories are a record of the aftermath of the summit.
The well-documented police brutality, violence, civil disorder and the state’s response challenged all the democratic freedoms that Canadians have traditionally been known for. Over the course of two days, Toronto descended into a police state.
This is a portrait series chronicling the individuals that were part of Canada’s largest mass arrest at the Summit. Ironically resembling police arrest photos, the portraits are mixed with written accounts of the subject’s experiences. Giving a different voice to the series, the handwriting becomes portraits on their own. The statements tell a story different from the official police record largely reported by Toronto’s media.
Brett Gundlock is a professional photographer based in Toronto, Ontario where he works as a photojournalist and pursues his own artistic photographic projects.
Gundlock previously worked as a staff photographer for one of Canada’s national newspapers, the National Post, for three years, before leaving to pursue his own personal and photographic interests.
Gundlock’s personal work revolves around exploring subcultures and marginalized groups that exist in our larger society. He continues to investigate the relationship of both his journalistic and conceptual artistic work, and hopes to push the boundaries that he has encountered between these photographic styles.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of Boreal Collective.
The Way I See It
The Way I See it is a series of portraits which ask the viewer to see the world in a new way. Perspective is the key to the work. The viewer is asked to wear heavy prescription lenses, hold the work one to two inches from his or her face and slowly move away from the portrait. This unusual way of viewing the work captures the tunnel-vision that the artist has, as well as the shifting floaters and distortion caused by the treatments which were performed to save his remaining vision.
Bruce Horak lost over 90% of his vision to Retinoblastoma when he was a baby. He is a professional actor/musician/writer and artist. He began painting portraits of his friends and family in an attempt to show how he sees the world. He created 100 portraits in 100 days.
Figure with Wooden Mask
Figure with Wooden Mask is derived from a body of visual narrative work. The focus of this work is to present images through fragmented storytelling, where the viewer is invited to analyze the given images and actively piece together their own understanding of the story. The knowledge formulated will depend on the viewer’s level of interpretation. This particular image depicts a character wearing a wooden mask that serves as a barrier between the viewer and the figure. The accompanying three-dimensional drawings present elements related to the figure and a larger overarching narrative. Ideally these elements will form a bridge between the two-dimensional space of the drawn figure and the object realm of the viewer.
Catherine Lane is a Toronto-based artist who currently focuses on drawing-based installation work. She received an MFA from York University in 2010. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Untitled (From the series The Voice Reached Us Through the Floor, but the Words Themselves Were Lost)
My series, The Voice Reached Us Through the Floor, but the Words Themselves Were Lost, connects two places, two individuals, in two countries within a single work. Like the selectiveness of memory itself, each picture may be understood independently or alongside others. In this way my images tell their own stories. Multiple, overlapping stories based on personal memories distanced from each other in either time or place, form patterns among the larger memory fragments or passages from my life. Memories from home during the time of revolution are reflected in surroundings far away.
My photographs translate emotions into pictures. But how can photographs speak at all if not at first through silence? By re-imagining moments from my past and placing them within the present, I filter experiences, memories and reveries through an embodied process of recollection. This work takes place at the intersection between the real and the imaginary, between truth and fiction, between the unwritten histories connecting me to my past, to my family and to the broader relations of my community.
– Petra Malá Miller
Petra Malá Miller was born in Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, and grew up in a small, southern Moravian village. She received her MFA in Photography from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.
Her photographic work explores the poetics of childhood, of innocence, memory and loss and raises questions surrounding personal, family and cultural identity.
Her photographs have been featured in recent solo and group exhibitions in Europe, U.S., Canada and in publications addressing contemporary photography in the Czech Republic. She is the recipient of the ESSL Museum Award for Contemporary Art. She is represented by Jiri Svestka Gallery, Prague.
Five Poems by Bernadette Greuel
This work is part of a larger project, Three Women, which centres on the creative lives of Susanna Bauer, Bernadette Greuel and Sister Maureen Maier. I came to know these three women while living in the tiny farming community of Bruno, Saskatchewan (population 600). When I first met Bernadette Greuel on the streets of Bruno, she was quick to give me her business card. “Farm Poet” it read. I was immediately intrigued. Bernadette writes and recites poetry inspired by her role as a mother and farmer’s wife. Her poetry is clever and very funny; to witness her reading it aloud is funnier still. She’s an entertainer at heart. She clearly enjoys the spotlight. And it is no wonder, having spent 35 years in relative isolation, toiling away on her husband’s farm while mothering six children. Now her children have grown and it’s her time to share her story and to do so visibly; to put on her favourite poetess garb and travel the Prairies with her work. She claims to have done poetry readings in 40 towns across Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
– Serena McCarroll
Serena McCarroll received her BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art in 2002. In 2006, she co-founded All Citizens, a tiny art-shop/music venue in Saskatchewan (alongside artist Tyler Brett). The project was featured on CBC Radio One’s As It Happens and Radio Three’s Grant Lawrence Live, as well as Broken Pencil magazine. In 2008, McCarroll moved to Toronto to complete her MFA at Ryerson University. Her work has been shown in galleries across Canada. Recently her project, Three Women, was selected as a featured exhibition in the 2011 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.
This photograph is part of a series called Garmsir Marines. These US Marines operated in Garmsir, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where some of the most intense fighting of the year took place in 2008. This area is also known as the “Snakes Head”, due to the shape that the land and bases make in this region when seen from the air. This unit was supposed to be a one-time, short-term special deployment of troops ordered to Afghanistan, by President George W. Bush in 2007, but became the beginning of an escalation of U.S. troops being deployed to the war in 2008. Now we are seeing that this was the beginning of what is now a surge under the new US administration of thousands of more troops being deployed to the war. These photographs were taken in the final weeks of this unit’s operation and time in Afghanistan.
– Louie Palu
Louie Palu is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, festivals and exhibitions internationally.
He is a fellow of the New America Foundation and has been awarded numerous accolades including awards from the White House News Photographers Association, Society of Newspaper Design, Hearst Photography Biennial, Hasselblad Master Award, the prestigious Alexia Foundation and Aftermath Photography Grants for work with combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Palu’s work has been featured in the New Yorker, The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, The Atlantic, BBC, the Washington Post, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Sunday Times magazine. He has worked on assignments internationally, focusing on the war in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay over the course of the last five years.
His work has been selected for exhibitions in the New York Photo Festival, Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, Internationale Fototage in Mannheim/Ludwigshafen Germany, Baltimore Museum of Art, Ping Yao Festival in China, Fotografia International Festival of Rome, Centrum for Fotografi in Stockholm Sweden and Noorderlicht including many others.
His work is held in numerous collections including George Eastman House International Museum of Film and Photography, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Portland Art Museum. Palu is represented by Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto.
In The Hood
With In The Hood, Winnie Truong continues to examine hair as an extension of character through portraiture. Her work is created by suspending anonymous characters on a vacant surface to explore narratives of stasis, awkwardness, anxiety, ambivalence, ambiguity, discomfort and aimlessness. The subjects of her portraits are loosely drawn from popular fashion and hair magazine which are transformed to exist at the fringe of beauty, fashion and biological possibility. Drawn with pencil crayon and chalk pastel on paper, Winnie Truong’s portraits of tender young outcasts continue to explore the liminal space between the beautiful, the grotesque, the discomforting and the familiar.
Winnie Truong is an artist based in Toronto, whose practice examines today’s ideas of the beautiful and the grotesque. Truong’s work finds great inspiration from the sci-fi tales of John Wyndham, H.G. Wells, as well as the monster of the week plot-lines of the X-files. Truong is the recipient of numerous awards including the 401 Richmond Career Launcher Prize and the BMO1st! Art Award for Ontario, and has exhibited her work art fairs and solo shows in both New York and Toronto.
Untitled (Light-eyed Boy)
When I first started painting children, four or five years ago, I challenged myself to paint like the masters, just to see if I could do it. I wanted to create something to rival Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. I still do. This painting, Untitled (Light-eyed Boy), like all my paintings, may evoke past masters, but the project is evolving. In keeping with tradition, I’ve tried to make the portrait look like the sitter, and to capture something of his character. This painting of a boy from my neighbourhood, on the cusp of his teenage years, tries to portray that he is in a state of transition, as all children are. The painting is sketchy but resolved, translucent but solid, giving the sense that with a shift in the light or a turn of the head he would look completely different. This painting embodies the guiding principle of my portraits of children. I depict children the way I see them, as creatures of light and colour.
Ben Walmsley is a Toronto-based painter. Since his graduation from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College Art and Art History Programme in 1983, he has been involved in the founding of the artist collective REPUBLIC and served on the board of the artist-run centre Mercer Union. During the same time he has been represented by some of Toronto’s most respected commercial galleries, and has exhibited in museums and art centres across Canada. His work is in a number of public and private collections in Canada and overseas.
Ben Walmsley is represented in Toronto by Birch-Libralato Gallery.