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Mary Ellen Mark's humanistic portrayal of life inside a locked psychiatric facility for women opens January 25 at The Image Centre

Jan. 19, 2023

Hoping to bring attention to the realities of daily life for the patients, the photographer also "wanted to help these women make contact with the outside world by letting them reach out and present themselves.”

Toronto, January 19, 2023 — The Image Centre reopens for the winter season with Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81, an early series by the acclaimed American photographer that sheds light on the invisible lives of women institutionalized for mental illness. The exhibition at the IMC—like Mark’s project—insists on the individuality of the women and their distinctive voices. The residents of Ward 81 are introduced one-by-one through groupings of photographs and quotations that portray their daily lives and highlight their personalities and thoughts. Bringing together many never-before-seen prints, contact sheets, and archival materials, this in-depth examination of Ward 81 features gelatin silver prints made during the artist’s lifetime and posthumously. The exhibition, along with a new season of shows and public programs, opens on January 25 and runs through April 1, 2023.

Also on view is Mind's Eye: The Psychic Photographs of Ted Serios, which showcases the photographic process of a Chicago bellhop who claimed he could capture his thoughts on film, and Xie Rong's performance of Cut Piece, Yoko Ono's iconic feminist artwork which revealed the ease with which people become complicit in perpetrating acts of violence.

A full calendar of public programs accompany the exhibitions, including curator talks, a book launch, and film screening. Full details can be found below and at theimagecentre.ca/events.

Exhibitions on view: 

Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81
January 25–April 1, 2023
Main Gallery
Curators: Gaëlle Morel and Kaitlin Booher

Mind's Eye: The Psychic Photographs of Ted Serios
January 25–April 1, 2023
University Gallery
Guest Curator: Emily Hauver

Xie Rong: Cut Piece
January 25–April 1, 2023
Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall
Guest Curator: Simone Estrin

Xin He: Better City, Better Life
January 25–February 25, 2023
Student Gallery

Durga Rajah: I am not the Artist, I am the Photographer. A Series of Conceptual Photo Retakes
March 8–April 1, 2023
Student Gallery 

Public Programs

Student Gallery Reception
Xin He: Better City, Better Life
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
6–8 pm ET
Registration required via Eventbrite

Curators in Conversation: Emily Hauver and Paul Roth
The "Thoughtography" of Ted Serios
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
7 pm ET
Online via Zoom

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

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

Student Gallery Reception
Durga Rajah: I am not the Artist, I am the Photographer...
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
6–8 pm ET
Registration required

Curators in Conversation: Kaitlin Booher and Gaëlle Morel
Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
7 pm ET
Online via Zoom

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

Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81 is organized by The Image Centre, Toronto, in collaboration with Falkland Road Inc./The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation, New York. Mind’s Eye: The Psychic Photographs of Ted Serios is organized in collaboration with the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), United States.

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The Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1

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About The Image Centre
The Image Centre (formerly known as Ryerson Image Centre) exists for the research, teaching, and exhibition of photography and related media. We are an active partner within the academic fabric of Toronto Metropolitan University, the cultural network of greater Toronto, and the national and international artistic community. We develop rigorous yet inclusive programs for students, faculty, artists, researchers, and curators, as well as the general public. The Image Centre boasts three interrelated areas of activity. Our exhibition program addresses topics of social, cultural, aesthetic, and historical concern from a variety of contemporary perspectives. Our research program conducts and facilitates inquiry into primary resource materials and offers workshops, lectures, symposia, and publication programs. Finally, we maintain a collection of photography spanning the medium’s history, as well as several artist and journalism archives, including the renowned Black Star Collection of twentieth-century photo reportage. For more information, visit theimagecentre.ca, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at @ImageCentreTO | #TheImageCentre 

About Toronto Metropolitan University
Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson University, is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the University is home to more than 46,000 students, including 2,900 Master’s and PhD students, 4,000 faculty and staff, and 225,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit torontomu.ca.

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