Identity is an umbrella term that dictates value through behavioural scripts, tailored communication and cues. Our social identity can feel like a worked-in jacket or a brand new pair of socks depending on how we internalize and what we select to externalize.
The process of self-actualization can be assessed in front and behind the camera; in Quixotic two artists explore this very notion, using mannequins as visual landmarks.
“I’ve always had a fascination with the day spa as a social space for spiritual self indulgence and this is the theme that inspired my contribution for Quixotic,” explains Evan Tyler, whose series ‘At the Spa’ is one of the featured works.
In Tyler’s series the focus is channeled through the romanticized life-like mannequins, exploring the context of social conformity as it relates to day spa practices and rituals. We are introduced to Natalia and Amber—two mannequins undergoing treatments including pedicures, manicures, steam treatments and massages. These representations are softened and somewhat sexualized to show the fascination with beauty and the aesthetic that ripens through experiential absorption.
Susan Bozic’s ‘The Dating Portfolio’ also introduces a mannequin, this time named Carl. Bozic is also seen in the photographic series, alongside Carl. The camera follows the two in various settings and scenes, highlighting the paradox between an ideal romance and wanted truths.
“I am focusing on the difficulties that I believe exist in establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships in a world where direct contact becomes increasingly elusive,” furthers Bozic.
Both photographic series are meant to have a sort of shock value, but there is an element of humour and humility, there is an uncomfortable pleasure taken through the contrasting dyadic of mimicking and defining one’s self.
Susan Bozic expands, “Idealized dating practices are the basis for these images. The work is presented in a narrative form to strengthen the story of the ‘characters’ and to entice the viewers’ curiosity to witness how their relationship unfolds. This series documents the progression of a couple ‘in love’.”
“Quixotic for me was a chance to exhibit my work with an artist whom I’d admired for some years now, as well as to bring an element of humour to the CONTACT Photography Festival. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of laughter that has activated the audience,” furthers Tyler.
Quixotic runs as part of the CONTACT Photography Festival until May 30th, 2012, at gallerywest, 1172 Queen St. W, Toronto.