May 29, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — For a number of years, Patrick Dionne and Miki Gingras have been working on large-scale photographic projects that encourage artistic engagement in society. In 2002, to better fulfil this mission, they founded Diasol, a charitable organization the objective of which is to use art photography as a means of intervention with marginalized people and young people and adults with difficulties with school or family, in psychological distress, or in the process of social reintegration.
May 31, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — In downtown San Francisco, at the corner of Mission and Third streets, is a huge picture window before which passersby can stop to look at a photo-mosaic several metres high inspired by the famous portrait Girl from Tamale (1973) by Chester Higgins Jr., which is also one of the “tiles” in the mosaic.
June 5, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — JR’s photography faces real life. The human faces that engage us in the real environments of the First and Third worlds are an exercise in self-identification within a larger matrix that is a seemingly invisible population of everyday people. Largely unrecognized, these people are off the map when it comes to social, political, or economic rights.
See the oversized faces of a city’s inhabitants emerging on its walls and façades. These people came together to find ways to reappropriate the urban space, and to advertise their presence and identity. Here, photography is a tool for affirmative collaboration. JR The Wrinkles of the City Presentation of Wrinkles of the City, produced for […]
March 21, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — What do we see? Somewhere on the urban periphery, a parallelepiped of concrete topped with an azure tarp sits on a rectangle of asphalt. Elsewhere, the whitewashed wall of a shed rises behind a section of suspended electrical wires. We come upon other indeterminate pieces of land, other uninhabited buildings. The photographs’ titles correspond to the toponymy of industrial sectors that appear more or less abandoned…
March 23, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — “The issue is clear: truth or life; history or art,” writes Nietzsche in the opening pages of his Seconde considération intempestive1. The living, fragile and fleeting, are lost from the objective spectacle of history. This will remain so as long as we make history a succession of factual data rather than a return to an “internal time consciousness.”2 Words engender linearity, whereas the experience of time is formed of simultaneities and twists.
March 27, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — Lynne Cohen has been photographing generic architectural interior spaces for several decades. Photographing rooms is, and has always been, her subject. Some of these rooms are health spas, classrooms, and hotel lobbies, while others are more sinister – laboratories, control rooms, and military sites. In a Cohen photograph, however, even an innocent health and relaxation facility can appear in an unusually “posed” mode.
[Fall 2011] Being attentive to the environments that one passes through. all these passageways, these enigmatic and inhospitable spaces, all those buildings that one sees on urban access roads, sometimes abandoned, that compose a purely functional environment. This, compared to the old city, to sites shaped by time, proximity, a different pace of life … […]
January 10, 2017 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — It is nice to stare – particularly at beautiful people who in part make their living as the object of your gaze, each making a concerted effort to appear as though they might actually exist solely for the purpose of your continuing adoration.
January 12, 2017 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — The pressure placed upon contemporary artists to produce socially critical, politically engaged works of art is both enormous and confusing. On the one hand, galleries and other visual-arts organizations expect artists to mobilize the population via certain “artistic strategies,” such as subverting cherished yet secretly oppressive idols or breaking out of traditional exhibition formats to …
January 17, 2017 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — Vivid colours and rich, symbolic domestic detailing underscore the confident, self-possessed gazes of JJ Levine’s subjects in their series Queer Portraits. An exploration of identity, gender politics, community, public vs. private, radical queer life, and deviant gender presentations, Queer Portraits confronts us with a group of subjects that ultimately reflect a portrait of the artist themselves. An intimate look at Levine’s community, this series plays with …
[Spring/Summer 2011] Queers, media darlings, Aboriginals, female bodybuilders, and crack addicts form a highly heterogeneous portrait gallery that challenges our ideas about identity. These unsettling images reveal unexpected strengths or vulnerabilities, leading us to re-evaluate our perceptions. JJ Levine, Queer Portraits Levine offers a series of intimate, touching portraits of friends and close relations in […]
October 11, 2016 [originally published in Winter 2011] — Michel Campeau, who has been a contemporary-art photographer for four decades, has received the Duke and Duchess of York Prize (2010), the Jean-Paul-Riopelle Career Grant (2009), and the Higashikawa International Photography Prize in Japan (1994). His work, which explores the subjective and narrative dimensions of images, questions the conventions of documentary photography. A retrospective exhibition of his work in 1996 at the Canadian Contemporary Photography Museum covered his production from 1971 to 1996. Campeau is represented by Galerie Simon Blais (Montreal), and lives and works in Montreal.
October 13, 2016 [originally published in Winter 2011] — Chuck Samuels’s photographs have been exhibited, published, and collected extensively in Quebec, Canada, and abroad. His installation and video works have been presented in various venues, including several Canadian film and video festivals, and his photographs are in numerous collections in Canada, France, Belgium and the United States.
October 18, 2016 [originally published in Winter 2011] — Yan Giguère has been a well-known figure in the Quebec contemporary art scene since the mid-1990s. His most recent photographic works were in solo exhibitions at Galerie Optica in 2009, Centre VU in 2008 and 2002, and Galerie B-312 in 2002. His pieces, which are in a number of collections, highlight the poetry of the everyday in series with strong narrative potential arranged on the walls of the exhibition space.
October 20, 2016 [originally published in Winter 2011] — Since 1973, Alain Pratte has produced numerous photographic projects, a number of which have been in exhibitions in Canada and abroad, including France and Venezuela. His work bears witness to passing time, the permanence or fleeting aspect of objects, unpredictable fates, and illusory ambitions.
[Winter 2011] Fragmented narratives, recording of traces, and role playing within the image are some of the ways in which the artists presented in this issue approach the notion of series. Systematic or scattered, the series provides a means to gather multiple images to evoke a personal universe, possible dramas, a disappearing world, or the […]
May 16, 2016 [originally published in Summer 2010] — The impressive piece of public art addresses the very nature of public space. It is named after the two streets that cross at the north corner of the Woodward’s building, on which the artwork is installed. The image inhabits space like a sculpture, grandly overlooking the public and private courtyards of the new complex in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
May 24, 2016 [originally published in Summer 2010] — These two works by Emanuel Licha are based on his interest in urban settings re-created for police or military training camps. The intention is to reveal the fully operational role of fiction in the reality of conflicts and in the composition of our portrayals of the foreign.
May 26, 2016 [originally published in Summer 2010] — In Eleven Blowups, Sophie Ristelhueber uses elements of her own photographs to re-create images of bomb craters produced by the media. In showing the traces of destruction, these images, true and false at once, portray not the specificity of a single story and place but the experience of collapse.
Bombs opening up craters in streets, training camps that look like urban neighbourhoods, media perceptions of the war in Afghanistan, a look back at the riot as background for an urban renewal project… and images that use representation and fiction to try to convey these realities. SOPHIE RISTELHUEBER Eleven Blowups Poetics of Facts Jacinto Lageira […]
[Spring 2010] Here are selections from a remarkable documentary work produced by Hu Yang, a Shanghai photographer who recently moved to Toronto. Shanghai Living comprises some five hundred portraits of Shanghai residents photographed in their own interiors, along with short excerpts from interviews in which each describes his or her way of life, values, and […]
[Spring 2010] A résident of Canada for the last ten years, Olga Chagaoutdinova has remained interested in the evolution of the Russian society, where she experienced the early effects of perestroika. She returned to Russia to take photographs of people and interiors that juxtapose artefacts of traditional Soviet life with heterogeneous aspects of Western consumer […]