Group exhibition Scenes of Selves – Occasions for Ruses: Surrey Sept 15/12

Pushpamala N and Clare Arni, Cracking the Whip (after 1970s Tamil film still)
C-print 2000-2004, Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum

A Surrey Art Gallery Exhibition and Artist’s Talk
Curated by Jordan Strom

Artist’s Talk – Carol Sawyer: September 15, 6:30pm
Opening Reception – Formal Remarks: 7:45pm, Live music mix by Scott Morgan: September 15, 7:30-9:30pm
Exhibition -Scenes of Selves, Occasions for Ruses: September 15 to December 16, 2012
Artists: Jim Andrews, Eryne Donahue, David Horvitz, Roselina Hung, Suzy Lake, Elizabeth Milton, Pushpamala N and Clare Arni, Carol Sawyer, and Carrie Walker.

Surrey Art Gallery’s new group exhibition Scenes of Selves, Occasions for Ruses features artworks by 10 artists in a wide variety of media – including drawing, painting, photography, and video – that explore the nature of identity, particularly self identity, at the beginning of the 21st century.

In the era of status updates, photo sharing websites, and profile pictures, one’s image and therefore one’s identity presented to the world is more important, changeable, and multi-dimensional than ever before.

Portrayals of oneself have come a long way since Dürer and Rembrandt developed self-portraiture as an artistic genre in the 16th and 17th centuries. Contemporary artists have made self-portraiture – and representation of themselves as stand-ins for ‘the other’ – a vibrant centre of art making today. As new communication tools have led to identity becoming increasingly connected to complex and overlapping social networks, today’s artists are re-examining self-representation at the limits of self-portraiture. How artists see and represent themselves reveals much about how we perceive ourselves and others.

Scenes of Selves, Occasions for Ruses includes Eryne Donahue’s translation of Facebook portraits into astronomical star charts using new biometric facial recognition technologies; Carrie Walker’s graphite drawing of every person named Carrie Walker she could find on the Internet; and Pushpamala N and Clare Arni’s photo-performances of female types from South Asian cinema, 19th century Indian painting, and the photography of westerners who have travelled to the Indian subcontinent.

Surrey Art Gallery is presenting two other exhibitions on the theme of self-representation. Echoes of the Artist: Works from the Permanent Collection explores images in which artists creatively incorporate representations of themselves or aspects of their lives. The artists are Alberta Browne, Diana Burgoyne, Barbara Cole, Janieta Eyre, Marianne Forsythe, George Littlechild, Al McWilliams, David Neel, Al Neil, Joseph Plaskett, Drew Shaffer, Henry Tsang, and Jin-me Yoon. Mirror Mirror is a juried exhibition organized by the Arts Council of Surrey of 30 self-portraits by emerging and established British Columbia-based artists.

Scenes of Selves, Occasions for Ruses exhibiting artist Carol Sawyer will be talking about her project titled Some Documents From the Life of Natalie Brettschneider, an ongoing series of photographs, texts, and music recitals that reconstructs the life and work of a fictional, genre-blurring historical performance artist. Brettschneider is a construction, but her story is laced with references to real people and places. The archive starts with her childhood in British Columbia, continues through her participation in the Parisian avant-garde between the wars, and includes evidence of her eccentric music and art-making practice in rural BC after she returns to Canada in the late 1930’s. Surrey Art Gallery will feature newly discovered photographs of Brettschneider’s time in Surrey, BC. The project forms a feminist critique of art historical narrative conventions: it aims to illuminate what gets left out of these stories, and the ways in which photographs are used to support cultural assumptions about gender, age, authorship, and art-making.

Carol Sawyer is a Vancouver-based visual artist and singer who works with photography, installation, video, and improvised music. Over the past 20 years, Sawyer’s work has investigated the connections between photography and fiction, performance, memory, and history.

Opening Reception
Saturday, September 15, 7:30-9:30pm

Free event; donations gratefully received

Surrey Art Gallery
13750 – 88 Avenue,
Surrey, British Columbia
Canada. 604-501-5566 |

TO SEPT 15: Mon & Fri 9am-5pm | Tues-Thur 9am-9pm | Sat 10am-5pm | Closed Sundays & holidays; FROM SEPT 16: Tues-Thurs 9am-9pm | Fri 9am-5pm | Sat 10am-5pm | Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mondays & holidays