Review: Angela Grauerholz at UTAC.

November 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Angela Grauerholz Privation Logo Book No. 146 (front), 2001 Angela Grauerholz / Courtesy Art 45, Montreal Courtesy of Pamela Bryant and Jack Darville, Toronto © Angela Grauerholz

Angela Grauerholz: The inexhaustible image… épuiser l’image at the University of Toronto Art Centre (UTAC) provides a retrospective of Grauerholz’s photography over past twenty-five years. Curated by Martha Hanna, the show displays a range of works selected from the different stages of the photographer’s career, including portraits and landscapes, books and some key installations.

Hosted on November 3, the Art with Insight Curatorial Tour provided a perceptive understanding Grauerholz’s themes and artistic motivations. Martha Hanna guided the tightly crammed group through the seven rooms of the exhibit. In the first room the viewer encounters the large inkjet prints of Grauerholz’s Privation Series as well as an offset of artists’ books including Aporia, a book of Landscapes. Hanna explained the importance of books to the artist’s work as both a means of conveying ideas and as sources of information. The idea of the book in Grauerholz’s work also explores her interests in collections and archives.

Angela Grauerholz La bibliothèque (The Library), 1992, printed 1993 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa © Angela Grauerholz

Through the next four rooms Hanna took the crowd through the different phases of artist’s work. The curator described Grauerholz’s interests in women’s art through her early portraits and how her status as an immigrant, born in Germany, influenced her stylistic preferences. Her black and white or sepia toned photographs are characteristically blurred or out of focus, which brings a visual intensity to the work and also illustrates her preoccupations with the concept of time.

The tour culminated with Grauerholz’s masterful installation The Reading Room for the Artist. All the pieces in the room are of the artist’s own design with the exception of a reproduction of a print by Alexander Rodchenko, who was an inspiration for the piece. Comprised of both video and stills, the film is by far the most engaging part of the installation; its mesmerizing images touch upon the themes of time and life common to Grauerholz’s work.

The student exhibition The Next Dimension: Holograms from the Institute of Optical Sciences was showing in art lounge and complimented the Angela Grauerholz retrospective nicely. The holographic images of the exhibit were a unique blend of technology and aesthetics. The juxtaposition of these works to Grauerholz’s expressive photography brought new and interesting meanings to both.

Angela Grauerholz: The inexhaustible image… épuiser l’image runs from September 6 – November 26.

– Sophia Farmer

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