Representations of Desire is a two person show consisting of myself, Christine Clark and Vancouver based artist Sabrina Oveson. You could say that both of us created works of tableaux photography for this show. Tableaux photography being, according to my understanding, a deliberately composed arrangement of elements which together should create a dynamic new symbolism.
In Sabrina’s case she has collected a group of porcelain/ceramic figurines. You know, the kind we all have or our mother’s have or our grandmas. Porcelain ladies in various poses and costumes. Usually quite pretty and romantic. Anyway, Sabrina has taken her collection of ladies and has photographed them, either alone or in concert with other ladies. Behind each portrait or grouping is a colour field, candy coloured sort of colours. These are large scale photographs probably in the range of 3 feet by 2 1/2 feet. Beautifully printed on matte paper, the colours are super saturated and just burn, but softly.
Now, I suppose it sounds sort of kinky, the idea of ladies posing together, but there’s no edge to the images really. The figurines are from a different era, maybe the 30’s or something. They are wearing hats and clothes and in one case a military uniform all with a rather old fashioned, almost washed-out kind of air. And of course there’s the fact that they’re actually porcelain.
There is so much to be said about the collector, I think, rather than the collection. I recognize it, the allure of arranging the inanimate object, of infusing the pretty thing with my own romantic urges. We’ve all done that. I had Barbies when I was little and I remember spending hours dreaming about their inner lives, draping their perfect bodies in scraps of velvet and lace. And never mind dolls and figurines, because really it’s just things, pretty things. Whether new or old, whatever the value or purpose, they mirror back to us, when we have them in our hands, a perfect image of romantic beauty. Hard to resist.
As for me, my contribution to the show, well, I had birds. A couple of years ago I completed an installation of papier mache birds in the Beacon Hill Park aviary. I made my paper birds look as much like real native birds as I could and I wanted people to think about captivity, not just the birds in cages kind of captivity, but the all of us trapped here on this planet kind of captivity.
The thing about the birds, though, is that they didn’t build the cages.
Anyhow, in true artist style, I took a million (almost) photographs of my birds in situ and I noticed that the photos were quite fascinating. There were the birds, shot through the multiple layers of wire enclosing the aviary, and in every case, in spite of the cage, they looked elusive, fugitive and strangely real. They looked like real birds, alive, regardless of any silly ideas of mine about captivity or art. Also somewhat hard to resist, that rogue insistence on living, on being alive.
So, there you are, a rudimentary description of the show. Of course, anyone in Victoria must go and see and decide for themselves what they think. And when you disagree with me you can leave a disagreeable comment for me. There is a comment button on the bottom of the page, so seriously leave a comment. What’s an art blog without some talk talk.
By the by, opening night for Representations of Desire ( I feel sort of silly writing that…..I should have ditched the birds and taken photos of me and my man in the aviary instead) was on Feb. 6th at 7:30, so you missed it! And I know you missed it because I was there with my boyfriend Steve, my two friends Sherri and Anna, my fellow artiste Sabrina, the guy we met at Logan’s pub before the show, Dan, and two of the classiest acts on the Victoria art scene, Wendy Welch and John Luna. Oh and the cute girl working the drinks table.
Wendy is the founder and director of the Vancouver Island School of Art and is therefore the founder and director (I think) of the Slide Room Gallery which is located in the basement of the school. Mr. John Luna is an instructor at the school, as well, I learned, as being the father of a 13 year old, an art writer and an artist.
Sabrina Oveson is having another show, similarily themed, at the Station House Gallery in Williams Lake, which opens November 6th and runs until November 26th.
Until next time and thanks again for reading!