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Indepth Arts News:

"Proof 11: Michel Hébert, Melanie Ibadlit, Su-Ying Lee, Nikki Middlemiss, Christine D’Onofrio, Lindsay Page, Alison Skyrme"
2004-07-16 until 2004-08-14
Gallery 44, Centre for Contemporary Photography
Toronto, ON, CA Canada

For the eleventh year running, Gallery 44 presents PROOF, our annual emerging artists’ showcase, selected from a pan-Canadian call for submissions. Chosen on the basis of artistic merit rather than according to any overriding theme, this year’s Proof participants— Michel Hébert (Montreal), Melanie Ibadlit (Toronto), Su-Ying Lee (Mississauga), Nikki Middlemiss (Montreal), Christine D’Onofrio (Vancouver), Lindsay Page (Toronto), Alison Skyrme (Toronto) each developed a particular methodology, with the result that PROOF 11 offers a broad range of approaches and themes of current concern in contemporary Canadian photography.

In Michel Hébert’s series of video self-portraits What do you suggest?, rapidly moving layers of images, appropriated sounds, and film clips form a rich imaginary world of the conscious and unconscious mind.  In their accumulation, these short videos begin to build a portrait encompassing longing, desire, fear and obsession.

Melanie Ibadlit’s large black and white photograph entitled Muster is a reflection on the restrictions of language and communication.  Here the physical and the psychological, which comprise internal and external spaces, are elegantly presented as images of head and shoulders floating within a broad sweep of negative space.

Lindsay Page presenting an installation in the Vitrines, takes ordinary human forms and places them in extraordinary mixed media constructions.  Cutting, piling, dissecting, Page’s constructions, at once humorous, sardonic, and sad, generate emotions ranging from pathos for the human condition to the sweet taste of revenge.  

February 2003, Christine D’Onofrio’s minimalist photographic installation tracing the patterns of human hair (her own) and water droplets remaining on a shower’s tiled surface, offers a space for quiet contemplation.  As in other works where she isolates fragments of feminine adornment (lipstick and panties), these details leave us to consider the absent (but implied) female body beyond cultural constructions.  

Isolating and spot-lighting small gestures from family photographs taken by her father, Su-Ying Lee focuses our attention on the mundane gestures of daily life pointing to unspoken clues contained within the photograph.  Lee’s photos present us with a deeper way of looking, revealing a desire to connect and understand beyond the barriers of time, language, and generational differences.

In a crowded urban environment, the colour photographs of Nikki Middlemiss give us room to breathe and reflect.  Amidst the chaos, she isolates minimal, elegant forms reminding us that at the basis of everything there is some type of geometric order—one the artist’s discerning eye can isolate and bring forth to us for contemplation.  

Alison Skyrme’s photographs point us to a way of re-examining nature.  Abstracted in black and white and shot in total darkness with a flash light, these long exposures capture the richness of texture and miracle of form.  Life, in each of its cycles, unfolds all around us, its mysteries contained and revealed within the darkness and light of each day.

Artist Bios:

Michel Hébert is a Montreal artist, working primarily in video since 1998. In 2003 Hébert received a master’s degree in visual arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Besides pursuing a solo career as a visual artist, he has worked in theater as a scenographer and as a documentary videographer for a Belgian theatre troop on tour in Romania. His next video installation is scheduled for exhibition in November 2004 at Articule in Montreal.

Melanie Ibadlit was born in Toronto in 1979 and recently graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in photography.  Her work has been exhibited in group shows at Propeller Centre for the Arts, Prefix Gallery and OCAD Gallery. Melanie continues to work and reside in Toronto.

Su-Ying Lee studied Art and Art History at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Working primarily in the mediums of photography, video, and textile-based sculptures, a reoccurring theme in her work has been attachment/detachment. Most recently, her site-specific collaboration with artist Christopher Arnoldin, entitled A maze in grace was on exhibit as part of the Wade project in a public wading pool in June of 2004. Su-Ying is one half of the Curatorial collective Self Service.

Nikki Middlemiss received her BFA in Visual Arts from the University of Ottawa in 1999.  She has exhibited in Regina, Ottawa, and Montréal, including solo exhibitions at Gallery 101 (2001) and le Centre des arts actuels Skol (2002).  Nikki presently lives in Montréal.

Born in 1978 in Toronto, Christine D'Onofrio lives and works in Vancouver. D'Onofrio's photographic practice focuses on identity and the body, focusing on constructions and representations of femininity. Her latest works utilize feminine products such as panties and cosmetics. By re-staging these objects in the studio, she tests notions of femininity and explores their influence in informing identity. Having recently completed her MFA at the University of British Columbia, following her BFA at York University in Toronto, D'Onofrio is now actively involved in exhibiting her work. In addition, she teaches foundation studio at the University of British Columbia.

Lindsay Page is a Toronto photo-based artist.  She is a recent graduate of Ryerson University and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Ted Rogers Scholarship (2002) and the Roloff Beny Foundation France Study Abroad Award (2003).  She acted as co-editor of Function (2003), an annual independent publication showcasing the work of emerging artists at the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University.  Her work has been exhibited in Toronto at venues including the Ryerson Gallery, Gallery TPW, The Photo Passage, Luft Gallery and Lee Ka-sing Gallery.  Her work has appeared in Walrus Magazine (Nov. 2003) and Definiti Magazine (Nov. 2003). In September 2004 she will commence an MFA program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Alison Skyrme was born in Burlington, Ontario.  She came to Toronto in 1998 and received her BFA in Photography Studies from Ryerson University in 2002.  She has since been exhibiting in group shows in the Toronto area.   Her work centers around a preoccupation with time and its effects on memory and physical life.

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is a non-profit artist-run centre committed to the advancement of photographic art.  Founded in 1979 to establish a creative, supportive environment in which photography could flourish, today our centre consists of an art gallery, resource centre, and darkroom and production facilities.  We offer education programs, weekend workshops and gallery tours, and serve a rapidly growing membership of artists and photo enthusiasts.  The centre is supported by its members and patrons, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council.

Nikki Middlemiss,

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