Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Cheryl Sourkes offers you a parallel universe… Just a mouse-click away

Ottawa - April 19, 2007

The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography presents the exhibition Cheryl Sourkes: Public Camera, from 20 April to 21 October 2007. Sourkes plunges into the Internet universe to fish out hybrid images from Web cams that are both public and private, and presents her work under the theme of “public camera.” Due to construction at the CMCP site, this exhibition is on show at the National Gallery of Canada.

“It is with pleasure that we open our doors to these inventive images, to creation, and to new aesthetic experiments,” says Martha Hanna, Director of Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. “Contemporary art often raises questions linked to social dimensions and relationships with others, and this is the work offered by Cheryl Sourkes for the exhibition.”

This exhibition presents an ambiguous idea of art making. On one hand, Sourkes challenges traditional concepts of artists and originality by using imagery produced by others. On the other hand, her framing and presentation fulfill a more conventional artistic role.

For the last six years, Toronto artist Cheryl Sourkes has been surfing the Internet and grabbing Web cam imagery, which she transforms into new pieces of work. She gathers some images into grids, while others are presented individually or combined into a composite or video presentation. The artist also enlarges some works to the point where pixels blur and blend, the results appearing more pictorial than digital.

Sourkes’ work broadens the conventional notion of photographs. As in regular photography, her images represent an instantaneous moment frozen in time. However, the capturing device used in her work, the Web cam, generates virtual images that appear only to disappear a few seconds later. The shutter’s “click” is replaced by the mouse’s capture of the image.

With this exhibition, Cheryl Sourkes offers a reflection on the use of Web cams and other surveillance devices. By doing so, she leads viewers to consider the way this technology influences their social realm, as well as their relationship with the people in it. These works raise questions on what are now considered to be public or private boundaries, and redefine what should be shown and what should stay hidden.  

Friday 20 April at 12:15 p.m., visit the Cheryl Sourkes: Public Camera exhibition with the artist. Included with Gallery admission.

Credits and publications
A catalogue, produced by the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, accompanies the exhibition and is on sale at the NGC Bookstore.

Cheryl Sourkes: Public Camera is organized and presented by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, at the National Gallery of Canada.

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