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Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81

January 25–April 1, 2023
Main Gallery

Curators: Gaëlle Morel and Kaitlin Booher

In 1976, American photographer Mary Ellen Mark spent thirty-six days living in the Oregon State Hospital with licensed therapist and writer Karen Folger Jacobs, Ph.D., to photograph the patients of Ward 81—a high security, locked psychiatric facility for women. Mark’s unique access led to a nuanced and compelling portrayal of female mental health patients. This exhibition brings together the resulting photographs, audio recordings and archival materials to offer an in-depth view of the artist’s experimental and groundbreaking approach to documentary-style photography.

 

Organized by The Image Centre, Toronto in collaboration with Falkland Road Inc./The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation, New York.

 

Events

Film Screening and Q&A
Ward 81 Voices
Sunday, March 5, 2023
1:30 pm
Hot Docs Cinema | Get Tickets

Book Launch
Ward 81: Voices
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
6–8 pm

Curators in Conversation: Kaitlin Booher & Gaëlle Morel
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
7 pm
Online via Zoom (registration link to come)

 

All events take place at The Image Centre (33 Gould St., Toronto) unless otherwise noted. 

A woman peeks out of a small window in a doorway. Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark.
Fig. 1

Mary Ellen Mark, [Tommie peeking out of room window, Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, USA], 1976, gelatin silver print © Mary Ellen Mark, courtesy of The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation/Howard Greenberg Gallery

A black and white photograph of two women with serious expressions standing under a running shower, one in a full-piece bathing suit, and the other in a bikini, a white shirt and a life jacket.
Fig. 2

Mary Ellen Mark, [Mona and Beth in the shower, Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, USA], 1976, gelatin silver print © Mary Ellen Mark, courtesy of The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation/Howard Greenberg Gallery

A black and white image of a woman in a black collared dress stands in a tiled hallway wearing hand restraints
Fig. 3

Mary Ellen Mark, [Carol T. in restraints, Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, USA], 1976, gelatin silver print © Mary Ellen Mark, courtesy of The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation/Howard Greenberg Gallery