On May 3 I attended the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award Exhibition & Talk at the National Gallery of Canada. This exhibtion and talk showcased the work of emerging artists, aged 30 and under, who create lens-based photographic work in Canada (National Gallery of Canada, 2018). It was great to see three contemporaries working within the same medium but with such vaired approaches. I will be reviewing the work of Meryl McMaster and Deanna Pizzitelli in this post as their work presented within the show focused more on photography.
Deanna Pizzitelli's work Unititled (Nothing, Nothing), to the left in Fig. 2 below, explores the aesthetics of decay and loss, she used degraded decaying photographic prints as a metaphor for human emotion and experience, the prints and subjects are united by loss and decay, Pizzitelli (2018). I found her approach very interesting as she consciously considered the print within the work itself, too often the print is not thought of as an active piece in the creation of a work. The images are, yellowed faded and worn, their loss of detail is a great reinforcer of the loss felt by the people within the images.
Meryl McMaster's work deals with how our sense of self helps shape our identity, and how we construct our sense of self, McMaster (2018). Her work like Cindy Sherman’s is all self-portraits, like Sherman McMaster takes on many personas making it hard to define who she really is through her work.
A sense of place is also very important to her work, she explores her Indigenous heritage in many of her works, the image included in this show, Edge of a Moment, 2017, is a self portrait of the artist at a culturally important ancestral site: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta (National Gallery of Canada, 2018). She explains the outfit in the talk and its multiple layer of visual signifiers representing her heritage. Her work is very multilayered and her process to create her outfits is quite amazing. I also like that she uses her gaze to confront the viewer in almost all of her photographs, the subject's gaze is something I would like to incorporate in my work. The size of the print is also very impressive and stands in good contrast to Pizzitelli’s smaller work.
This artist talk showcased to me the methodology and process that goes into creating photographic works of art of this caliber, it was a real eye opener and got me thinking more about each stage of the photographic process, the research, planning, production and display phases and how they all can be utilized to say something about your work.
On a side note Meryl McMaster, who is from Ottawa, I connected with her after the talk we discussed her work and I asked if she would be interested in speaking to my History of Photography class, she said was interested very exciting!!
Pizzitelli, D. (2018) New Generation Photography Award Talk NGC. 3 May, 2018
McMaster, M. (2018) New Generation Photography Award Talk NGC. 3 May, 2018.
National Gallery Of Canada PhotoLab 4 (2018) PhotoLab 4: New Generation Photography Award Exhibition [Online Image]. Available at https://www.gallery.ca/whats-on/exhibitions-and-galleries/photolab-4-new-generation-photography-award-exhibitio [Accessed: 7 May, 2018].
National Gallery Of Canada (2018) Young Champions: Emerging Artists in Contemporary Photography [Online Image]. Available at: https://www.gallery.ca/magazine/exhibitions/young-champions-emerging-artists-in-contemporary-photography [Accessed: 7 May, 2018].
National Gallery Of Canada (2018) Young Champions: Emerging Artists in Contemporary Photography. Available at: https://www.gallery.ca/magazine/exhibitions/young-champions-emerging-artists-in-contemporary-photography [Accessed: 7 May, 2018].