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April 20–June 16, 2013
Curated by Patrick Macaulay
The genre of portraiture is part of historical continuum steeped in specific visual language which can easily be read and understood, even when containing nuanced and subtle gestures. Portraiture provides an entry point to art and to history. Looking at historical portraiture, we are immediately struck by a portrait’s ability to frame cultural conventions. We learn the idiosyncrasies in dress, hairstyle and even the facial features that may appear emphasized during certain decades or societal contexts. Each portrait encapsulates not just a person, but also a time and place. Portraiture is remarkable in its ability to appear straightforward while actually providing the documentation to examine a whole social order.
The work of photographer Mark Peckmezian expands the visual discourse of portraiture even further. Peckmezian creates portraits that give the impression of the past, but are inherently contemporary. His portraits of friends and acquaintances depict his milieu. What is significant about his work is its contemporary aesthetic with roots in the traditional. He constructs his images with the equivalent exactness of a Renaissance painter. Every aspect of the portrait is considered; model placement, direction of light and architectural surroundings. But it is in his contemporary rearticulating of historical tropes that makes Peckmezian’s portraits fundamentally a part of the visual discourse of the 21st century.
– Patrick Macaulay, Head, Visual Arts, Harbourfront Centre
Portrait is a featured exhibition of CONTACT 2013.
Mark Peckmezian was born in 1985 in Toronto and graduated from Ryerson in 2010, releasing his first book, Photographs & Pictures, the same year. His art and commercial work have been published in numerous publications worldwide, earning him a Best New Creative Talent nomination at the 2011 National Magazine Awards. He has exhibited his art work, in group and solo exhibitions, internationally. Peckmezian is represented by O’Born Contemporary (Toronto), and his commercial work is represented by Lisa Bonnici in Canada and Webber Represents in the United States and Europe.