The representation of women through popular imagery, without a doubt, fails to reflect the actual experiences of the modern day women. Through its proliferation, these images have nonetheless modified the way we look at ourselves as women, and the importance we place on ourselves as perceived subject. We experience and integrate the weight of these conventions through our own reflection in the mirror. This in turn defines the image to which we as women must conform. Appearance has played a primary social role and has changed through time, transforming itself into a form of communication. How much do we depend on the other’s gaze? And how do we perceive ourselves through it? The Most Beautiful Brides of Baja California is a series of photographs that documents Yvonne Venegas’ immersion in the daily life of her once childhood friends. After having left Tijuana to pursue her studies, she returns to explore their lives and daily reality as women from bourgeois backgrounds. The artist captures what they have become, fifteen years later after her departure. Venegas spontaneously photographs them in everyday environments, such as family gatherings, ceremonies and marriages. Both documentary and familial in nature, these photographs appear as diverse reactions of individuals faced with their own appearance. In this manner, the presence of the camera inevitably alters behaviour and manner. Between the act and the pose, there is a moment where there is a consciousness of the body and of its preservation by the image. The will to seduce the lens consequently translates into a need to acknowledge the individuality and the beauty it beholds. Yet, the camera defies this will. The spontaneous photographic nature of Venegas’ shots expands commonly assumed compositions, and offers non-photogenic images. Conversely, this spontaneity reveals in certain cases the impression of a set-up, which is in fact totally natural. In addition, the appearance of these well-dressed and carefully made-up young women in privilege settings creates a tension between the subject and the moment when the photograph was taken. This reflection, on the appearance and construction of image as a potential expression and mode of interaction, offers a contrast to the banality of the proposed scenes. Text by Marie-Claude Landry, writer Translated by Stéphane Giroux Yvonne Venegas’ exhibition is presented in collaboration with Photomathon, www.photomathon.com. Founded by Stéphane Giroux, Myrabelle Charlebois and Dacha Rouleau-Dumont. Photomathon is an organization dedicated to the promotion of work by young, emerging and culturally diverse photographers. Through networking with art and cultural organizations in Canada and internationally, this Montreal-based organization connects artists and venues on project-to-project basis. Positioning itself as a link between artists and venues, Photomathon is guided by an interest to promote alternative ways of assisting artists to develop their careers, and contribute to the discussion and development of photography as an artistic medium. Gallery 101 acknowledges the generous contribution of the following supporters in the presentation of Yvonne Venegas’ exhibition: The Embassy of Mexico in Canada; EDS Galeria; Laboratorio Mexicano de Imagenes; and Photomathon.
Thursday, May 18, 2006 to Saturday, June 17, 2006Opening
- Thursday, May 18, 2006