Monday, May 11, 2009

Random thoughts

Hearing vowels. Hardening consonants. Laying about in post card settings. "Sometimes I feel the world desperate; then walk among the downs," (Woolf August 15, 1931).

Why are Rodney Graham's trees upside down?
The Vancouver School...
Over the past two decades Vancouver has become internationally renowned for contemporary photo-based work, particularly the "Vancouver School" of photoconceptualism that includes artists Roy Arden, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and others.
...still has no women. They are in the periphery, making sandwiches, posing, writing critically about the men. I am being cheeky, I know. Really they make up the dots in the composition, the many strokes of the trees and ground, the foundation of thought.

I am claiming Robert Smithson as a woman.

Photoconceptualism makes sense in a city like Vancouver. What doesn't make sense is the lack of women. Justine Kurland I discover over at Monte Clark. I like "Raft Expedition" very much. Why do we not hear of her? What about Allyson Clay? Where is the net of women referencing each other compositionaly and textually and otherwise.

Not that any of this makes me love Arden, Douglas, Graham, or Wall any less than I already do. I just wish the space would open a little more.


Brenda Schmidt said...

That top pic is wonderful!

Shawna Lemay said...

Yes, great photo! And thanks for the links - I esp. liked the Clay photos.

Chien B√Ętard said...

Thanks Shawna, Brenda. And yes to Clay! There has to be more women photographers we should be talking/thinking about. Canadian ones in particular.

Peregrine said...

I completely, 100%, hand-on-my-heart agree. I'm a female Emily Carr grad (I know Karin Bubas slightly, and fyi she plays--or played--in Rodney Graham's band for a while)...and man (no pun intended), but I was sick of hearing about the Vancouver School by the time I graduated. It's also by turns enraging and demoralizing to see how much work of Graham, Stan Douglas, Jeff Wall et al. is hung in the VAG, promoted, reproduced etc. There HAVE to be more Cdn. women photographers! And I can't think of a single one offhand.

She isn't Canadian at all, but if you don't know Ann Hamilton, an installation/media artist from the States who represented the US at the Venice Biennale a few years ago, you might be interested in checking her out. She's of the same generation as the Vancouver School, incidentally. All of her work is incredible--thoughtful, poetic, impeccably presented--but the works in particular I'm thinking of are ones in which she works with text and is called 'face to face' and consists of a series of pinhole photographs made with a film placed inside her mouth, so that her open mouth becomes the shutter until she closes it and removes the exposed film. There's another amazing one called 'Lineament' that uses text cut from a book line by line, then wound into balls about the size of a fist...pbs included her in a documentary a few years ago, one of the Art 21 series. And I think Phaidon has a monograph of her.

Great blog, Lemonhound. Admired and appreciated on a regular basis. Thanks.

Lemon Hound said...

Thanks Peregrine,
Part of what women need to do is talk about each other's work this way--instead of being such promoters of their male counterparts.

I look forward to discovering Ann Hamilton.

And you.