Regular posts about my painting practice present and past.
| 13 January, 2012 13:26
The KP is the richest open-competition prize in Canada. I
entered it this year for the first time, thinking how handy a spare $25,000 would
be. My triple self-portrait in the hinged bathroom mirror didn’t win.
Today I went to see an exhibition of the 30 finalists at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
The gallery is suitably subdued lighting-wise to protect the
works on paper. The first thing you see is a free-standing sign with the image
of a camera and a diagonal red line through it. This, of course, means no
photography allowed in the gallery, which is ironic because the exhibition could not exist without photography.
The exhibition is dedicated to the proposition that portraiture should concern itself first and foremost with getting a photographic likeness, often by the expedience of actually copying a photographic print.
I was primed not to like it-- full disclosure-- but in front
of the 30 portraits from across Canada I had a physical reaction that forced me
to leave the gallery while my companion still wandered around looking for the
first prize portrait
I felt I couldn`t breathe.
Each picture was a copy of a photograph, an endorsement of the superiority of the machine-made over the hand made image.