ERUPT | October 5 - November 5 2016
The concept of “breaking out or bursting forth suddenly and dramatically” is one inextricably linked with photography. Just as their images materialize into being through their chemical and digital processes, the work of Joyce Crago, Judy Morris Dupont, Geneviève Labbé and Katy Lopez carry insight and depth to the surface.
In the work of Joyce Crago it is unyielding curiosity that emerges. In What does it mean to be male in 2016? Crago explores that which defines masculinity in contemporary Canadian society. Furthermore, Crago’s work asks how contemporary semi-nude male subjects confuse the lens of traditional portraiture whereby men were dressed indicating their importance while women were often left exposed. Discovery through questioning also leads Crago to Flotsam wherein the refuse of arts organizations in Ottawa, Berlin and New York City are carefully documented. A contemporaneous nod to the Arte Povera movement, Crago’s flotsam (defined as “the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on or washed up by the sea”) explores overlooked parts of our surroundings and what they might evoke about their origin and originators.
Judy Morris Dupont’s work delves into the darker side of human emotions. A self-reflexive approach births still-life photographs saturated by a red overtone, caused by both chemical and digital processes. “Anger, frustration, bitterness, remorse” are the words Dupont uses to describe the motivation behind both her red encaustic works and bromoil Deadly Nightshade. Despite her motivations, there is nothing unpleasing about the photographs--while Dupont’s process often requires her to purposefully break the “rules” of the development process, the results are visually powerful.
Continuing with the theme of introspection, Geneviève Labbé presents two projects, Light (a continuation of previous series Prologue) which examines emotional associations with surrounding spaces, and Untitled, a series of portraits exploring mental illness. While going through a period of depression, Labbé found herself reliant on her apartment to function as both workspace and sanctuary. Light documents this space, focusing on the varying projections and reflection of light within it, while the portraits of Untitled consider the notions of solitude and self exile. Labbé’s clean, minimalistic approach is juxtaposed by the inviting profundity of her subject matter.
The subjects in Katy Lopez’s Refugees series emerge and interact with the foreground through a window, offering dimension to portraits of Canadian refugees from areas of conflict. This depth is mirrored in the images of the subjects: while their stories may be similar, each subject’s identity is more than the reduction the word “refugee” often enacts. AfterWar presents Lopez’s photographic series of children affected by the 55-year long civil war in Colombia. The cyclical morphing of images works to mirror the cycle of violence that continues past the supposed “end” of conflict: the “afterwar.” Lopez’s photographs force the viewer to meet faces who have witnessed war and destruction, often those who are dealing with the struggle of integrating, and being accepted, into their new country.
From the depth of their works, Crago, Dupont, Labbé and Lopez’s eruptive photographs burst through colour, dimension, subject matter, and technique.
Curatorial text by Rose Ekins