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Otherworldly: Deborah Turbeville Photographs

January 17–April 6, 2024
University Gallery
Curator: Denise Birkhofer

This exhibition from The Image Centre collection presents more than 40 photographic works spanning the innovative career of American photographer Deborah Turbeville (1932–2013), from her major fashion commissions of the 1970s to the more personal projects of her later years. Widely credited with evolving the editorial genre of fashion photography into an art form, Turbeville de-emphasized the clothed figure in her pioneering compositions, whose often-decaying settings reinforce their dreamlike atmosphere. Experimental techniques such as soft focus, the use of printing papers with varied tones and textures, distressing or tearing of the print, and the application of masking tape or other collage elements contribute to the photographs’ otherworldly aesthetic.

 

Related Events

Winter Exhibitions Opening Party
January 16, 2024 | 7:30–9:30 pm

Exhibition Tour
Denise Birkhofer with Eve Townsend
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 6 pm

Tanenbaum Lecture
Deborah Turbeville: Beyond Fashion

Nathalie Herschdorfer
Thursday, March 21 | 6 pm
School of Image Arts, Toronto Metropolitan University
122 Bond Street, third floor, room IMA-307

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

Fig. 1

Deborah Turbeville, Asser Levy Public Bathhouse, New York, for Vogue (New York), 1975, black and white chromogenic print. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2017 © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

Fig. 2

Deborah Turbeville, Autumn Leaves inside the Pavillon Français: Aurelia Weingarten, from Unseen Versailles, 1980 (printed later), inkjet print mounted on aluminum. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2023 © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

Fig. 3

Deborah Turbeville, Maria Luisa Hernandez, Pozos, Guanajuato, Mexico, 1992, gelatin silver print. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2017 © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

Fig. 4

Deborah Turbeville, Potocki Palace, near Krakow, Poland, for W Magazine (New York), 1997, gelatin silver prints with masking tape. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2017. © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

Fig. 5

Deborah Turbeville, Wallflower: Victoria Guinness and Nathalie, The Glass House in Normandy, France, for Façade Magazine (Paris), 1978, gelatin silver lith-print. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2017 © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

Fig. 6

Deborah Turbeville, Rainy Day People, Lancaster, Massachusetts, for L'Uomo Vogue (Milan), 1995, inkjet print. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2023 © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

A white woman wearing a head wrap and a drapey black garment holds open her bloodied palm
Fig. 7

Deborah Turbeville, Stigmata: Ella M., École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1977 (printed later), inkjet print. The Image Centre, Gift of Eric Berthold, 2023 © Deborah Turbeville/MUUS Collection

Curator Bio

Denise Birkhofer

Denise Birkhofer is the Collections Curator at The Image Centre, where her recent exhibitions include CANADA NOW: New Photography Acquisitions (2022), TERREMOTO: Mexico City, 1985 (2018), and The Faraway Nearby: Photographs of Canada from the New York Times Photo Archive (2017). She previously held positions at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College (Ohio) and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University (New York), where she cultivated a background working with academic collections of art and photography. She has contributed to numerous edited volumes and journals, and is the author of exhibition catalogues including Fred Wilson at Oberlin and Judit Reigl: Body of Music (both 2016). Birkhofer holds a PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Installation Shots

Fig. 1

Otherworldly: Deborah Turbeville Photographs (installation view) © James Morley, The Image Centre, 2024

Fig. 2

Otherworldly: Deborah Turbeville Photographs (installation view) © James Morley, The Image Centre, 2024

Fig. 3

Otherworldly: Deborah Turbeville Photographs (installation view) © James Morley, The Image Centre, 2024