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Janieta Eyre

March 29, 2012

Janieta Eyre is a photo-based artist who has been working for more than fifteen years. Her many different series explore the female imagination and frequently the theme of the double. Her latest series The Mute Book was recently part of Grafik Apparel at londonprintstudio in England and is currently on view in Montreal at Gallery Samuel Lallouz. She was included in Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography by Susan Bright, former Assistant Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery. One of her images is the cover of Amorino, the latest novel by Italian writer Isabella Santacroce. If you are interested in taking a class with her, Experimenting with Photography at the AGO starts this Thursday and there are still a couple spots left.

1. My vacuum cleaner

I’ve always had intimacy issues. Until extremely recently I agreed with Sartre who said famously, “Hell is other people.” But now that I’m middle aged, other people don’t seem so bad any more. Except of course when they fail to take off their shoes or spray crumbs everywhere. Which brings me to my vacuum cleaner. I’m not a particularly materialistic person and am happy to lend most of what I have. But the other day someone really tested me by asking to borrow my vacuum cleaner. I was in a terrible position, because I was leaving to Montreal for the weekend and was borrowing his laptop for my trip. I couldn’t say no. All I could do was try to disguise my distress and give him instructions as to how to handle the vacuum cleaner, which he responded to with something very similar to disgust. I once read a writer say somewhere that housecleaning was the death of creativity. This seems to me not at all true. My vacuum cleaner provides a sacred groundwork for my creativity. I love the fact I can’t hear the telephone when I’m using it and I love the sense of cheap accomplishment. In almost no time at all, I feel entirely justified to return to the couch with another cup of tea.

2. Garbage day

My favourite day of the week is garbage day. The garbage men know me, they nod when they see me, they’ve accepted it’s their karmic lot my house is on their pick-up route. It’s my bad luck that the driver is a rule-loving sadist who would have got on well with the principal of my old high school. This man rejects things that are not correctly tied, correctly flattened, or deemed as construction rather than household garbage. He makes sport of those of us who have not spent two hours studying the recycling calendar. However, he knows by experience that I will shamelessly chase his truck down the street in my pajamas like an Olympic sprinter if he doesn’t take what’s there. And recently I’ve seen a kind of respect cross his face when he waves to me.

3. Mark Coleman

I met Mark a number of years ago on a retreat where he was one of the teachers. He speaks in a very relaxed, warm way and is full of a self-acceptance that is quite infectious. He is also a big reader, which I love: he fills his talks with innumerable literary references.

4. Mark Rothko

Bet you didn’t know that after a youth spent delivering conceptual treatises, Mark Rothko resisted explaining his work mid career. “Silence is so accurate,” he said. I think so too.

5. Charlie and Lola

I am a fan of Lauren Child and her children’s series Charlie and Lola (both as books and on TV). Not only do I love her collage of photography and drawing, but I love the stories about Lola and her kind brother Charlie. I especially like Lola’s imaginary friend, Soren Lorenson, who is fittingly translucent.



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