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Exhibition: Friday, October 12, 2012 - Saturday, November 10, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, October 12, 2012 — 7:00pm
Kay Burns’ current exhibition at The New Gallery, like much of her work in all media, involves a somewhat elastic approach to the inclusion of fact and fiction. For several years she has explored ideas related to the creation of and enactment of alternative identities. Many of her performance art projects have been undertaken as an alternative persona, Iris Taylor, ethnographer and historian. Underpinning her performance work as Iris are questions of identity — what constitutes identity, how identity evolves, the malleability and flux of identity, and the interplay between her own identity and that of her fictional ‘other.’
Within each of the two photo-based installations at The New Gallery, different concepts are explored that pertain to outsider and/or marginalized identities. The installations are presented as the collected documentation and materials of an anonymous archivist. The archivist is an ageless, nameless, genderless, timeless, institution-less, individual. Through these installations, broad questions surface regarding the impetus to collect, to archive, to annotate, to scrutinize the lives of others and to make them public in a curious way.
The Shoe Collection of Hortense Muriel Walker is presented as the archivist’s collection of photos representing the de-accessioned collection of shoes with curious histories that was assembled by Hortense Walker (thus a collection of a collection).
The Other is a project that explores the notion of identities nested within identities. History offers evidence of women who lived convincingly as men for decades. In a series of performative photographic tableaux Burns ‘performed’ several identities of women-performing-as-men, recorded through B&W photography. Through darkroom processes she sought to make the photographs look old, augmented through their presentation in antique frames accompanied by the authoritative voice of the archivist within the didactic materials.
Photo credit Monika Sobchak.
Kay Burns (Canada) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Newfoundland. She is involved in the creation of performance art, photography, locative media, audio, video, and installation. Her artwork has been presented at venues internationally including New York, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Belfast and Los Angeles; as well as at numerous galleries and festivals across Canada from Dawson City, Yukon to St. John’s, Newfoundland. She was a curator for five years at the Muttart Public Art Gallery in Calgary, and she taught for 10 years through the University of Calgary Art Department and the Alberta College of Art + Design Media Arts Department prior to her move to Newfoundland.