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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Posted March 31, 2016 in Member News

Cynthia Greig: "Exhibitionism" opens at Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto

Exhibition Dates: April 2 – April 30, 2016
Reception for the Artist: Saturday, April 2, 2:00-5:00pm

In this exhibition, Cynthia Greig surveys contemporary art galleries from across the globe, placing the exhibition space itself on display. Deconstructing the white cube down to its most essential elements, her elegantly minimal photographs present an unexpected shift in perspective, rendering its interior spaces as vast landscapes or archaeological sites—uncharted territories with their own particular histories. Greig's photographs also scrutinize the minute and overlooked details, revealing the interstitial evidence of each building's trajectory, and the continuous flux of time brought to bear on an impossibly pristine Modernist ideal. Reflecting on the delicate balance between the permanent and ephemeral, Greig visits the themes of vanitas, manifest destiny, and the economic theory of "too big to fail" from within the microcosmic framework of this mythic space.

The exhibition presents photographs and video from four related bodies of work each centered on the contemporary art gallery as a site of inquiry, and continue Greig's investigation into the illusory nature of the photographic image and perceived reality. "Gallery Horizons" and "Gone (Circles and Squares)" transform close-up views of drywall and/or concrete into ambiguous topographies suggestive of rugged terrains or the traces of and ancient civilization. For her series entitled, "Threshold," Greig digitally removes the art on view to shift our focus to the expanding scale of the contemporary exhibition space. "Gallery Interventions" mark the white walls of commercial galleries throughout Chelsea as "sold"—whether as art or real estate— making ironic reference to the current geographic shift as some galleries play out a Darwinian drama by expanding their brands to multiple locations across the globe while others close, migrate to new areas, downsize, or go completely virtual.

Meditating on the white void and the idea of nothingness, "Exhibitionism" demystifies the context of art's display and commerce to reveal the forces of entropy at play, regardless of hierarchies of status or influence. As if in search of an extinct species or a lost empire, she has photographed the contemporary art gallery as a metaphor for a world on the brink of dramatic change.

Biography: Cynthia Greig was born in Detroit, Michigan. She studied printmaking at Washington University and attended graduate programs at the University of Iowa and the University of Michigan where she received her MA and MFA in 1988 and 1995 respectively. She is the recipient of several major awards including the Light Work Artist Residency (2001), the Houston Center for Photography Fellowship (2003), and the Santa Fe Center for Photography Singular Image Award (2004). In 2015, Greig received a Visual Artist Fellowship from the Kresge Foundation.

Her photographs and videos have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums, and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Light Work Collection, Smith College Museum of Art, as well as corporate and private collections. An avid collector of 19th-century photographs, Greig also co-authored the book, Women in Pants: Manly Maidens, Cowgirls and Other Renegades (2003). Greig lives and works in metropolitan Detroit.

Source: The Stephen Bulger Gallery

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