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Michael Schreier and Rosalie Favell at The Ottawa Art Gallery

September 10 to November 15, 2009
Opening Reception Thursday, September 10, 5:30 – 8:30 pm




Michael Schreier, Untitled, from the series Disappearing Numbers ..., 2007-2009,
Ultrachrome ink-jet print on Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art Paper, courtesy of the artist and Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa.



Storyteller/Waiting for Words
Curated by Emily Falvey.
Artist: Michael Schreier   


Ottawa-based photographer Michael Schreier is known for his poignant exploration of the limits of words and images. Focusing on transitional spaces, momentary encounters, and the poetics of loss and abandonment, his photographs invite viewers into a spiritual communion with the mundane. Somewhere between monuments and anti-monuments, these luminous, carefully composed images address fleeting, marginal subjects—the architectural details of modern exhibition spaces or the faces of strangers met randomly on the street—investing them with a quiet majesty. Schreier’s solo exhibition Storyteller/Waiting for Words represents the culmination of several years spent exploring the æsthetics of witness, with particular reference to his birthplace, Vienna. Made up of two distinct, yet interconnected bodies of work—interiors and street portraits—the exhibition is anchored by Or-Sarua (2009), a powerful new photographic installation named after a Viennese synagogue that was destroyed in a 1420 pogrom of Austrian Jews. Partly inspired by Barnett Newman’s The Stations of the Cross: Lema Sabachthani (1966), this complex work focuses on a staircase that links the remains of the synagogue to Vienna’s Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, the Nameless Library (2000) designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread.

As with so much of Schreier’s work, the quiet elegance of Or-Sarua belies a storm of complex and provocative associations, including the relationship between Holocaust representation and American abstraction; the seven candles of the temple menorah and the Passion of Christ; the entire history of Jewish persecution obscured by the horror of Auschwitz; and the suffering of Jesus as a Jew prefigured by Job. Despite this challenging complexity, the goal of Or-Sarua is relatively simple. Like Newman’s The Stations of the Cross, it seeks to visualize what French philosopher Maurice Blanchot once simply called “the disaster”1— a moment of extreme exteriority that begs an ancient and unanswerable question: lema sabachthani, “Why have you forsaken me?”

— Emily Falvey, Exhibition Curator

1 Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster, trans. Ann Smock (London: University of Nebraska
Press, 1986).

Events:

Opening:  Thursday 10 September at 5:30 pm
Talk:          Thursday 1 October at 3:30 pm with artist Michael Schreier



Reveal
Curated by Andrea Fatona.
Artist: Rosalie Favell


Reveal
brings together two bodies of work by Métis artist Rosalie Favell: Portraits in Blood (1980s) and Facing the Camera (2008–present).Together they are part of an ongoing exploration of documentary photography rooted in the artist’s desire to picture, as well as imagine, her community. In Portraits in Blood, Favell investigates her Aboriginal heritage by photographing Native women in the Winnipeg community. The project began in her early twenties, when she decided to investigate her Native heritage by making portraits of Native women. “I asked these women if I could be a Native woman too. In the process I developed a community of friends and elders where I could talk about my skin colour and all of those things that came along with being Aboriginal. I called the portraits Portraits in Blood because I was looking at my bloodlines.”1 In 2008, after a body of work exploring pop-cultural warrior motifs, Favell returned to documentary photography when she began photographing Indigenous artists and cultural workers during a residency at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Facing the Camera was inspired by the realization that there was no collective document of the individuals who make up the contemporary Aboriginal art community. Serving as souvenirs of times spent with individuals, as well as social documents, these two bodies of work represent a search for community based on personal need and conviction.

Rosalie Favell is a photo-based artist born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Drawing inspiration from her family history and Métis (Cree/English) heritage, she uses a variety of sources, ranging from pop culture to family albums, to present a complex self-portrait of her experiences as a contemporary Aboriginal woman. Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions in national and international venues. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Favell holds an MFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and has studied and taught extensively at the post-graduate level. She currently lives and works in Ottawa.

— Andrea Fatona, Exhibition Curator

1 Rosalie Favell, Artist Statement, 2009

Events:

Opening:                 Thursday 10 September at 5:30 pm
In Conversation:     Friday 25 September at 12:30 pm with artist Rosalie Favell and curator Andrea Fatona





Media Contact:
Line Dezainde, 613-233-8699 ext 225 or communications@ottawaartgallery.ca
 

LA GALERIE D’ART D’OTTAWA
THE OTTAWA ART GALLERY
2 rue Daly Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6E2
www.ottawaartgallery.ca

 

 

 

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