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A family stands in a forest in front of a tent
Fig. 1

Wendy Snyder MacNeil, Untitled [Young man, old woman and two children standing outside a tent], 1968-69. From the series Irish Tinkers. Gelatin silver print. Wendy Snyder MacNeil Archive, Ryerson Image Centre

The Ryerson Image Centre celebrates contemporary female artists

Dec. 16, 2015

The Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) celebrates contemporary female artists with three exhibitions featuring work by Wendy Snyder MacNeil, Spring Hurlbut and Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof. Using a variety of media, including photography, video installation and experimental film, these artists explore universal themes, such as portraiture, mortality and the displacement of people. The exhibitions are on view from January 20 to April 10, 2016, with the opening party on January 20 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The Light Inside: Wendy Snyder MacNeil, Photographs and Films
The Light Inside: Wendy Snyder MacNeil, Photographs and Films
brings renewed attention to the art and influence of pioneering American photographer and educator Wendy Snyder MacNeil (b. 1943), whose archive is preserved at the RIC. MacNeil’s austere, compelling images contributed significantly to the North American photography scene during the 1970s and 1980s. Restlessly experimental, she strives to portray complex identity and forge a more direct engagement between subject and viewer by pushing the formal boundaries of portraiture. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, as well as the world premiere of Jeremy Leach and Wendy Sndyer MacNeil’s film When the Ice Goes Out (2015), among other events.

Acclaimed Canadian artist Spring Hurlbut’s video Airborne (2008) is a silent reflection on mortality and the physical presence of death, and offers a mesmerizing immersion in a poignant ritual. The piece documents the release of cremated remains entrusted to the artist by relatives of the deceased. Captured in slow motion, the artist opens the urns of six individuals, including that of her own father, and the ashes gracefully ascend, creating a delicate smoke that swirls against a black background.

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof: The Relics of Lumen
Displayed on the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall, this newly-commissioned video by Canadian experimental filmmaker Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof stitches together representations of night skies with images of people in transit captured over the last century, linking the displacement of people to celestial passages through space. Weaving source material from the RIC’s Black Star Collection of photo-reportage and astronomical photographs from the US government agency NASA, Izabella Pruska- Oldenhof: The Relics of Lumen creates an immersive environment of mosaics and composite collages.

The exhibitions are accompanied by free public programming, including artist and curator walk-throughs, film screenings, talks, lectures and more. Admission to the gallery is free. Free exhibition tours daily at 2:30 pm.