During the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, I attended the exhibitions by the talented artists Edith Maybin and Renée Munn. In their photographic series, Maybin and Munn investigate the experiences of feminine identity.
At 131 Ossington Ave, O’Born Contemporary is showcasing The Girl Document, by Edith Maybin. The Girl Document is a featured exhibition in the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, selected among the approximate 1,000 artists that are exhibiting their works in Toronto.
Maybin, a Canadian artist and professor at Sheridan college, investigates the different femininities of mother and daughter in this captivating photographic series.
The Girl Document is Maybin’s first series that she does not engage in post-production processes. Instead of manipulating a photograph through digital processes, Maybin contorts the image by wrapping mylar around the lens. The result of this process is a clear depiction of elements that gradually becomes contorted.
Maybin depicts the dichotomy between the femininities of girl/woman and daughter/mother by creating a part-lucid and part-dreamlike depiction of elements that symbolize the innocent and the sexual.
The Girl Document speaks to the relationship between mother and daughter during the time of a daughter’s puberty and maturation. Maybin’s surrealist images of elements such as cake and fur emphasize the innocence of a girl and the sexuality of a woman. The twisted juxtaposition of elements of childhood and adulthood epitomize the fears that both daughters and mothers face when a child enters adolescence.￼
The young daughter depicted in Maybin’s earlier series, The Tenby Document, The Conversion Document, and The Garden Document, is lost within the contortion of symbolic elements of daughter and mother in this series. The Girl Document is characterized by Maybin’s acceptance of the loss of her young daughter to the inevitable fate of time, and embrace of her daughter’s growing independence from her mother during the beginnings of her adulthood.
East of O’Born Contemporary, at Akasha Art Projects on 511 Church St, Renée Munn’s photographic series The Looking-Glass Self is being exhibited. This is Munn’s first solo show, debuting for the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.
Munn is a Canadian artist and recent graduate of Ryerson University. In this photographic series, she investigates her own feminine identity in multi-layered photographs that challenge traditional modes of female representation in art. In Reclining Nude, Munn makes this most obvious by overtly making homage to the motif of the reclining, female nude that has been a popular object of depiction within the history of art.
Similar to Edith Maybin, Renée Munn does not use any digital process to edit the pure processes of making photography. Instead, Munn uses techniques of multiple-exposure and physical fragmentation to alter the image. Munn glazes her works with beeswax to emphasize the editing of the image through the physical process of cutting and pasting. The final images exhibited in The Looking-Glass Self are resultantly multi-dimensional.
Munn’s utilization of the technique of doubling emphasizes her process of self-observation. Munn elucidates this in her artist statement “This act of doubling, which is both aesthetic and conceptual, refers to the often conflicted ways that our identities make themselves visible.” Munn places herself as the vulnerable object of a voyeuristic gaze which looks into the private act of female self-examination.
Stay tuned for more CONTACT coverage in the coming weeks, and be sure to check out the amazing talent being featured throughout our city this month!
For more information on the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, please visit http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com