PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY presents ANATOMY: IN RUINS AND REMADE, an exhibition of new works by CINDY STELMACKOWICH and CHANTAL GERVAIS
FEBRUARY 4 TO MARCH 2, 2009
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2009
5:30 P.M. TO 9 P.M.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2009
PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY is pleased to present ANATOMY: IN RUINS AND REMADE, an exhibition featuring new works by CINDY STELMACKOWICH and CHANTAL GERVAIS. Both of these important Ottawa-based artists have established a continuing interest in the historical and cultural connections between representation and the medical sciences.
Just as architectural ruins are often understood as outstanding examples of history, human cultures, and past ideas of modernity, Stelmackowich and Gervais extend this analysis onto the subject of anatomy and the visual histories within medicine. In each of their distinct artistic practices, the artists have manipulated historical and contemporary medical imagery through a process of digital collage. The established technologies and visual imagery of medical science (19th-century anatomical atlas illustrations, MRI scans, and modern anatomical models) are thereby de-coded and medical subjects are re-made in order to bring to light the depth of culture within science. Iconic works within Western medicine are re-interpreted to emotional and even humorous effect, such as; Leonardo da Vinci’s "Vitruvian Man," Bougery’s 1850s lithographs of dissected cadavers, (a colleague of the infamous dissector Dr. Henry Gray), and the 1980s popular anatomical plastic model known as "The Visible Man." As a result, “Anatomy: In Ruins and Remade” destabilizes and reworks the observational and representational tools used by science, art, and society at large.
Stelmackowich will be exhibiting her complete 2007-2008 “Disaster Series,” a series of 12 digital prints that merges 19th-century disaster images (shipwrecks, fires, cyclones, Napoleonic battle scenes) into anatomical illustrations of cadavers’ body cavities published in rare 19th-century anatomical atlases. Works from this series were recently purchased for the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank and the City of Ottawa. Stelmackowich will also be exhibiting two 2008 works from her “The Visible Man” series that utilize duratransparencies backlit through lightboxes.
Gervais is presenting four large photographs from her most recent 2008 series of work entitled “Les maux non dits”. Both as an examiner and examinee, Gervais has created a series of self portraits composed of MRI scans made of her own body. Three of these life-sized digital prints will be exhibited. Another photographic work, a large digital composite called “Vitruvian Me,” is made of several individual 4 x 4 inch flat-bed scans of her body.
Cindy Stelmackowich is an Ottawa-based artist, curator, and teacher. She has a BA and BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Arts from Carleton University. While completing a Ph.D. in the History and Theory of Art at Binghamton University and teaching at Carleton University her artwork and academic research has focused on themes related to medical science. In her work, she has questioned the methods and meanings of science; how science is performed on the body; and how the languages of medical science operate. Stelmackowich has exhibited across Canada and the United States in solo and group exhibitions including the Ottawa Art Gallery, Gallery 101, Kristi Engle Gallery in Los Angeles, the 2008 Toronto International Art Fair, Galerie de l’UQAM, Toronto’s A Space Gallery, and has upcoming exhibitions at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa and Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery. Her work can be found in numerous collections including the Canada Council Art Bank, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Art Gallery, and York University - School of Arts & Letters, Culture and Expression.
Chantal Gervais is an Ottawa-based artist with an artistic practice in photography and video frequently presented as installation. Mortality and the body as the site of lived experience are central to her work. Her large, colour photographs and photographic and video installations teeter on the edge of seduction and revel in the body’s corporeality, its vulnerability, and strength. Inherently theatrical, yet sensitive, her works explore the affects on the body of aging, accident, disease, and life itself, and how our perception and understanding of the body is influenced and altered by popular culture, art, science and medicine.
Gervais earned a BFA in photography from the University of Ottawa and an MA in Art and Media Practice from the University of Westminster in London, U.K. In 2002, she was awarded the prestigious Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 1999 and 2004, she was nominated for the Ontario Arts Council’s K.M. Hunter Artists Award. In 2005 she was nominated for the City of Ottawa’s Karsh Award. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Harcourt House Gallery in Edmonton; McClure Gallery and Vidéographe in Montreal; Galerie Séquence in Chicoutimi, Quebec; Centre d’exposition Art-Image in Gatineau, Québec; and Carleton University Art Gallery and Gallery 101 in Ottawa. Since 2007, she has been on the Board of Directors of Gatineau’s le centre production Daïmon. Gervais is a part-time professor in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Ottawa where she teaches photography and intermedia.
Cindy Stelmackowich and Chantal Gervais gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa.