David Scott Gallery, Toronto
Three Part Bodyseries
Linda Dawn Hammond photographs those on the edge of society. In the tradition of Diane Arbus, Hammond seeks to reveal the spirit beyond the tattoos, chain mail, exotic pets and work boots that characterize her subjects. Each portrait is comprised of three photographs, one of the head, torso and feet, and it is through this process of fracturing that Hammond is able to reveal the countless aspects of each personality. The three photographs combine to not only capture one but many moments in time, allowing those photographed to reveal themselves gradually, even selectively and often through contradiction.
Linda Dawn Hammond photographs those on the edge. Hammond seeks to reveal the spirit beyond the tattoos, chain mail, exotic pets and work boots that characterize her subjects. Each portrait is comprised of three photographs, one of the head, torso and feet, and it is through this process of fracturing that Hammond is able to reveal the countless aspects of each personality. The three photographs combine to not only capture one but many moments in time, allowing those photographed to reveal themselves gradually, even selectively and often through contradiction. Her subjects were chosen from a wide group of friends and that personal connection becomes apparent in these haunting portraits. And it is precisely through this collaborative action between artist and subject, that Hammond is able to transcend the limitations of traditional portraiture, presenting a cross-section of society, questioning taboos and the nature of identity.
Mia Nielsen, Curator
David Scott Gallery
A body of work does not emerge from a single isolated idea. Complementary and sometimes seemingly disparate influences merge to form the whole - much like the portraits themselves.
Western ideologies tend to think of the head as the center point of the individual; hence, our portraits concentrate on the face as the sole repository of personality. Eastern religions rather see the mid-torso as one's center, and although I make no claims as to Eastern art personalizing the belly over the face, when one thinks of Buddha ... Little children are often obsessed with their bellybuttons - my son was no exception. This is also interesting, as it symbolizes the cord which nourished and sustained it within the womb - the first and foremost tie to another human being, the mother, and when severed, marks the initial step towards autonomy as an individual. I watched my child's fascination and thought - why not embark on a portrait series which investigates other sections of the body, hitherto ignored in traditional portraiture, with equal stature as signifiers of individuality.
I decided to also include the feet, as their lowly stature not only renders them decidedly overlooked, but also ignores the fact that it is they who ground us on this planet. Their condition often reflects the kind of life they have lead...look at the toes of a dancer, for example, or the bunion of a woman who has indulged in fancy shoes all of her life.
The first portrait I made was of my son, Mishka. At that point I was calling the intended work, The Bellybutton Series. Quickly, however, Style reared its self-conscious head. None of my oh-so-cool friends wanted to participate in anything under such an embarrassingly gauche title. If I wanted to attract them to my studio to be scrutinized by my camera, I had to come up with something more appealing, hence the Three Part Bodyseries was born.
The second session was with Tomas. Immediately, issues of gender and sexuality came into play, and the direction thework to go was established. They were not issues foreign to me. As a participant/ observer, I hadbeen documenting the punk and gay subculture within the club scene since I began photographyback in 1977. I belonged to a milieu which was fascinating in its diversity and dedication to the breaking down of societal restraints. Most of my subjects are well known to each other - they are lovers, friends and bar acquaintances. They reflect a period of my youth, transitions which were made, and now as we become scattered, the nostalgic past. It was hard to print some of these photographs, as certain among us are lost to us. The ravages of life - murder, addiction, viruses, cancer and even traffic has muted them. They emerged like ghosts in my trays of chemicals, to solidify and stare out at me with such intensity, I was plunged into melancholic reflection, and I wondered what I would say about them in this statement. Perhaps only, that to me, they were and are my friends, whom I love and admire and even hate at times. But they are not "Other", as on occasion in the past they have been described by those belonging to a more conservative world. We stand together.
On a last note- you may ask, What is Steve Buscemi
doing in this series? Well, he would probably ask the same question.
The answer- I am also a photo-journalist, and coaxed him into my
studio during a Montreal Film Festival. On a whim, I mentioned that I
had just begun this series and asked if he would participate - so
here he is!
Linda Dawn Hammond
January 6, 1999, Toronto
(Parkdale) Striking 3-part images of heads, torsos and feet of
eclectic people photographed by Montreal artist Linda Dawn Hammond is
the featured exhibition at the David Scott Gallery, January 8-31,
1999 (media preview begins January 6th, opening reception January
8th, 7-10 p.m., artist present).Displaying groups of images as
vertically stacked triptychs, Linda Dawn Hammond photographs her
subjects head, torso and feet from varying angles and distances. The
subjects, shot in black and white, were chosen from among an eclectic
group of friends, including members of the tattoo, piercing,
"Linda's work offers an unusual representation of individuality," says David Scott, Gallery Director. "In her photographs, she captures the human body with it's associated clothing and props as the medium through which personal identity is proclaimed. It's a fascinating mixture of provocative images with a touch of shocking humour thrown in.
The David Scott Gallery is a new photo-based space situated within a working photographic studio in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood, almost hidden off Noble Street (northwest of Queen and Dufferin Streets). The intent of the David Scott Gallery is to provide a casual environment where both serious art collectors and those who are curious about fine art photography can come to investigate the photographic experience through conversation, coffee and reference material. The Gallery is dedicated to showing monthly exhibitions of new fine art photography and photo-based work that stretches average conceptions of photography from both established and up-and-coming artists.
The gallery will be hosting a media preview Wednesday
January 6 from noon to 4 pm where refreshments will be served. Linda
Dawn Hammond, David Scott and Mia Nielsen will be available at this
Reception Thursday, September 3, 7
Open September 3-27, Friday thru Sunday 11a.m. - 5p.m. Or by appointment
For more information contact: Mia Nielsen, Curator
tel: (416) 531-7484; fax (416) 531-7527 e-mail: email@example.com
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