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PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY presents HIGH VALUE TARGETS, a new multi-media exhibition by artist CHERYL PAGUREK


Artist Reception:
Friday, January 8, 2010
5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Artist Talk
Sunday, January 17, 2010
2 p.m.

PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY is pleased to present HIGH VALUE TARGETS, a new multi-media solo exhibition by Ottawa artist CHERYL PAGUREK. The installation—which features new photo-based works and video—explores ideas of creation and destruction, security and vulnerability, hope and fear, public and private realms, control and surveillance, and opens up a space to contemplate the myriad ways in which we might feel under siege in today’s world.

High Value Targets has been conceived, and unfolds, in two separate but closely related components. Growing Pains is a looping, dual-channel video exploration of simultaneous micro and macro perspectives combining the opposite extremes of Ms. Pagurek’s intimate recordings of a season of gardening, with contemporary military tracking footage from the United States war with Iraq. From the discovery of tender sprouts emerging from the snow, to the taming of wild growth and the handling of the adverse effects of pests, weather and encroaching weeds, cultivating a garden is portrayed as an act of optimism and hope, an attempt to balance chaos and order on a small, domestic scale. Set against this endeavor in the private realm, the aerial and night vision war footage of “engagement” with military targets infiltrates our consciousness with a pervasive sense of dread and threat of large-scale public destruction. An additional layer of dialogue suggests a negotiation between private and public worlds, as we hear a family navigating the children’s increased independence, their ventures away from the safety of home and their increasing exploration of the world at large on their own. “Growing pains” refers to the challenges and struggles of growth at different levels, including the parental attempt to both protect and let go. A shared concern for control and surveillance plays out across all the layers of the work, from the military to the garden to the familial.

The High Value Targets print series further explores the tensions and concerns of the video work within a diptych format that abuts grainy military video stills with high-resolution photographs from the garden. Similar strategies used in the video to both contrast and connect the opposing sources of imagery are again engaged in the prints, including the use of both low and high camera angles, as well as the overlaying of military navigational data, viewfinder target markings, and black censor bars onto the garden, indicating surveillance. Each diptych is subtitled with a short statement or command from the military personnel in the video.

Cheryl Pagurek’s work has been shown extensively across Canada and the United States, including exhibits at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa’s City Hall Art Gallery, the Ottawa Art Gallery, SAW Gallery, Gallery 44, Vu Centre de diffusion et de production de la photographie, Eastern Edge, Floating Gallery, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. In Fall 2009, her light box and video works Reflection and Flow were featured in an exhibition at Maison de la culture du Plateau-Mont-Royal as part of Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal. She was also a featured artist in INVISIBLE CITIES a 2008 Toronto International Art Fair Special Project organized by international curator Micaela Giovannotti. In August 2010, Ms. Pagurek appears in the exhibition Losing It, at Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery.

Her work has recently appeared in projects and reviews in Prefix Photo magazine and CV Photo, and can be found in numerous collections including the Canada Council Art Bank, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Library of the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and the City of Ottawa. In 2005, she was a finalist for the Karsh Award for photo-based work. Cheryl Pagurek has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Arts Council in the production and presentation of this body of work.

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