new-york

“Subjects in Pictures”

49th Parallel

This exhibition, organized by Philip Monk, presented the work of six Toronto-based artists. Its title involves a play on words, for, as Monk notes in his catalogue essay, it can speak of both content and individuality, “subject-matter and subjecthood.” In the latter, Monk is dealing with one of the capital topics of our era, for the representation of individuals in any work extends beyond their simple figuration to encompass reflection on the forms of subjectivity in society. To “picture” individuals in and as images is to comment on the social relations their appearances imply, and on the means by which subjectivity is constructed. But it is also to participate in this construction, for the image is society’s dominant mode of subjection, acting to structure identity through the mastering power of the look.

As Monk’s writing shows, his project is informed by the conjunction of psychoanalytic

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