Text by Joanna Tymkiw, visuals by Rachel Gray. In the Making is an interdisciplinary exhibition featuring the work of ten BEING Studio artists. The exhibition is the culmination of a workshop series presented by five local artists sharing skills in printmaking, sculpture, photography, storytelling and ceramics. Joanna is a member of BEING Studio’s Board of Directors and Rachel is the artistic coordinator at the studio.
Click here to learn more about BEING Studio’s In The Making workshop series.
“In my teenage angst I wanted to express myself and I found with a camera in my hand, I could do that.” Armed with the query “Who am I to the world?”, Rosalie searched for answers about her own identity through photographic self-portraiture, but not in the traditional sense.
“In the 90’s, the character of Xena Warrior Princess really spoke to me. She was just… powerful.” Rosalie credits capturing self-portraits as strong female characters, and later manipulating them through collage, for helping her overcome her better reflect on her own life. “When I left my comfort zone to visit this fantasy life, I could then come back, look at what I had and actualize my own inner strength.”
It may seem contradictory to role-play and manipulate a self-portrait in order to better contemplate your own existence, but by doing so the subject can re-contextualize their portrait to control where, and how, they want to appear.
Not only did this process help her to see herself, but also it led to an understanding of how to communicate with others. “It helped me to get that human contact I wanted so badly, but was too shy to do it when I was younger”.
When approaching her workshop with BEING artists, she suggested that the artists come dressed as their very own superheroes – whatever that meant to them.
When approaching her workshop with BEING artists, she suggested that the artists come dressed as their very own superheroes – whatever that meant to them. “We are each heroic in our own lives, so it’s about celebrating who you are. Whether you are a survivor or whatever you cope with in your own life, you are your own hero.”
The artists were first photographed on a green screen background before the files were brought into Photoshop, where the green background was deleted, and then the artists images were printed on an archival paper. The artist then went into the images with pencil crayons and drew directly on the prints. “Colouring their environment around them after the photos were taken gave their work a rawness, a realness. They placed themselves exactly where they wanted to be.”
Colouring their environment around them after the photos were taken gave their work a rawness, a realness. They placed themselves exactly where they wanted to be.—Collaborating Artist Rosalie Favell
Reflecting on the process Rosalie uses, especially with this workshop, curator Rose Ekins says “Creating these drawings narratives around them, it’s really interesting how layered these pieces are: physically, media and conceptually. There’s a lot going on there.” She adds, “There’s no self-consciousness here, you don’t see restraint. There’s something very celebratory in these pieces.”
Rosalie agrees with Rose as she quickly noticed the lack of insecurity that came with what some consider a very self-exposing task. “There was a total lack of fearlessness and I really respect that. I always say, go forward with no fear!”
In The Making’s opening reception is Thursday May 16 from 5:30-8:30pm at the Galerie Annexe, Ottawa Art Gallery. The exhibition runs May 16-26. Ottawa Art Gallery’s drop-off/pick-up address is 10 Daly Avenue. The Daly entrance is between Waller and Nicholas on the south side. The Ottawa Art Gallery is a wheelchair accessible venue.