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Beyond Likeness

Contemporary works from Library and Archives Canada

September 21, 2012 - September 21, 2012

Curated by Carolyn Cook and Eva Major-Marothy 

The  exhibition  is  organized  and  circulated  by Library and Archives Canada.

Beyond Likeness: Contemporary Works from Library and Archives Canada explores the evolving concept of portraiture from more traditional representations of likeness to works that challenge the conventions of the genre. In examining issues of history, popular culture, autobiography and perception of self, the works demonstrate that identity is complex, constructed and unfixed.

Contemporary portraiture goes beyond the traditional capturing of likeness, immortalizing, or providing a public glimpse of a private life. The portrait has become an articulation of the changing concepts of identity, both individual and collective. Together, the works in the exhibition form a narrative which reveals how human character is shaped by personal biography, engaging the artist, the subject and the viewer in an active construction of meaning.

The  exhibition  includes  works  by  23  contemporary  artists  including  works by  Irene  F.  Whittome,  Jane  Ash  Poitras,  Pascal  Grandmaison,  Lucie  Chan and  Arnaud  Maggs. The subjects of these portraits range from known figures, such as writer Margaret Atwood, Governor General MichaĆ«lle Jean, artist Bill Reid, musician Melissa Auf der Maur, filmmaker Deepa Mehta; and lesser known figures such as the residents of Richmond, British Columbia.

By exploring the various layers of interpretation of contemporary portraiture, the exhibition is meant to inspire and empower visitors to form their own assessments of how they perceive images of others and how they would chose to project their own identity.

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