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Pierre Tremblay: Black Star Subject – Canada

January 22 – April 13, 2014
Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall
Guest Curator: Don Snyder

This is a safe country, the photographs seem to say: spacious, open and welcoming, rich in resources, its people industrious and friendly.

This image of Canada served many purposes, particularly during the long years of the Cold War, when photographers affiliated with the Black Star Photo Agency made many of the photographs that defined this image and carried it outward to the world.

Pierre Tremblay: Black Star Subject – Canada displays every one of the 1853 photographs filed under this heading in the Black Star Collection at Ryerson University: images of agriculture, mining, and industry; of every province and all major cities; images of Prime Ministers from Mackenzie King to John Turner; images of a nation undergoing unprecedented growth, defining itself in an era that led inevitably to globalization.

Selected by Don Snyder and displayed on the Ryerson Image Centre Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall, these images will be on public view in their entirety for the first time in the history of the Black Star Collection, and will form a visual counterpoint to the concurrent exhibitions by Robert Burley (Main Gallery) and Philip Bergerson (University Gallery).




Event(s):

Exhibition Tour
Pierre Tremblay and Don Snyder
Wednesday, March 12
6:00 PM

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 PM

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted

A group of sentries sit smiling atop a cannon
Fig. 1

Photographer Unknown, Happy Sentries, Canada, ca. 1939-1945, gelatin silver print. Reproduction from the Black Star Collection. BS.2005.094651 / 57-247

Black text on white paper reads "vote by making a cross, thus X, after the word 'yes' or after the word 'no'. Are you in favour of releasing the government from any obligation arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service? Yes. No."
Fig. 2

Photographer Unknown, Voting Day, April 24th, Canada, 1942, gelatin silver print. Reproduction from the Black Star Collection. BS.2005.094435 / 57-31

A young oil worker wearing a dirty white tshirt and work gloves
Fig. 3

Photographer Unknown, Oil worker seeking black gold – in Alberta’s new oil town of Leduc, Leduc, Alberta, 1951, gelatin silver print. Reproduction from the Black Star Collection. BS.2005.095056 / 57-652

A man drives a streetcar. wearing a black tie and a conductor's hat with the number 994
Fig. 4

Photographer Unknown, Street car conductor of Toronto – W. Merrit, Toronto, Ontario, 1951, gelatin silver print. Reproduction from the Black Star Collection. BS.2005.095784 / 57-1380

A boat docked at a pier
Fig. 5

Photographer Unknown, Canada Arctic – scene, Canada, date unknown, gelatin silver print. Reproduction from the Black Star Collection. BS.2005.096040 / 57-1636

Artist and Curator Bios

Pierre Tremblay
Artist

Interdisciplinary artist Pierre Tremblay is an Associate Professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. He teaches in the Film and the MFA Documentary Media programs. His artistic practice, combining new technologies and video, questions the world in flux, how we see and perceive. Recent projects include 300 Days of Indulgence – Negotiating with the Beyond, Continuum and Portraits in a Sentence. Exhibitions of recent note include Meta Incognita, at The Photographers’s Gallery – The Wall, London, England, Dans la nuit des images, at the Grand Palais, Paris, and le Mois de la Photo 2009, Montreal, along with festival screenings in Canada, Italy, Australia, China and Brazil. His work can be found in France at the Musee Carnavalet, Bibliotheque Nationale and the Musee Rodin. In his role at Ryerson, Tremblay has facilitated conferences and edited books that have brought scholars and artists from Ontario, Quebec and France together for cross-cultural exchange on a variety of new media topics.

Don Snyder
Guest Curator

Don Snyder studied photography with Walker Evans at Yale and Minor White in the graduate program at MIT. He was the first Curator of Photography at the Addison Gallery of American Art, where he presented exhibitions of many photographers associated with Black Star, Life, or Magnum, including Bruce Davidson, Eugene Richards, Inge Morath and Bill Burke. At Ryerson he established the Image Arts (IMA) Gallery at 80 Spadina Avenue, now celebrating its 22nd year, and he was twice Chair of the School of Image Arts. Snyder was also instrumental in the founding of Function, the School's annual publication of student work, essays and interview.

Recent curatorial projects have included exhibitions of work by photographers James Karales, Clemens Kalischer and Martin Weinhold; recent lectures have included presentations at the 2011- AAO Conference in Thunder Bay, at Le Fresnoy in France (2012) and the University of Quebec in Montreal, and at the A&A Lecture Series at the Ryerson Image Centre, both in 2013.

Installation Shots

Exterior of the Ryerson Image Centre
Fig. 1

Pierre Tremblay – Black Star Subject: Canada (installation view), 2014 © Ben Freedman, Ryerson Image Centre

Video still of a group of children drinking from a water fountain
Fig. 2

Pierre Tremblay – Black Star Subject: Canada (installation view), 2014 © Ben Freedman, Ryerson Image Centre

Video still of a woman holding a baby outside a tipi
Fig. 3

Pierre Tremblay – Black Star Subject: Canada (installation view), 2014 © Ben Freedman, Ryerson Image Centre