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Fig. 1

Moyra Davey, Subway Writers (detail), 2011/2014, 75 chromogenic prints, tape, postage, ink. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York; and greengrassi, London

The 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival launches at the Ryerson Image Centre, May 1, 7:00-11:00 pm  


Apr. 16, 2019

The Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) is pleased to host the official launch party for the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival on Wednesday, May 1, from 7:00–11:00 p.m. The event will also mark the opening of three new summer shows at the RIC, featuring work by artists Moyra Davey, Meryl McMaster and Adrian Raymer.
“We’re proud to once again be the hosting venue for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival’s official launch party, and to share in this city-wide celebration of the medium of photography,” says Paul Roth, Director of the Ryerson Image Centre. “What makes CONTACT one of the best photography festivals in the world is not only the incredible scale of the event, but also its democratic and inclusive approach.”
Scotiabank Photography Award: Moyra Davey is the first Canadian retrospective of the work of Toronto-born, New York-based artist Moyra Davey, the 2018 winner of the prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award. Spanning the Main Gallery and the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall, the exhibition includes photographs and videos from Davey’s four-decade-long career. A large projection room will be dedicated to a suite of Davey’s essayistic films. Early documentary portraits of family and friends will be on display, as well as Davey’s recent series depicting commuters scrawling notes on the New York City subway. Also represented in the gallery will be Davey’s Copperheads series of corroded coins, ongoing since 1990.

For the past ten years, Davey has folded, taped, and sent many of her prints to friends, gallerists, and museum workers. What began as an expedient way to transport her art evolved into an exploration of photographs as objects of circulation and exchange. Turning her prints into letters, the artist “realized all the formal potential in this—the folds, stamps, the addressee, and the colored tape creating an abstract pattern on the surface of the photograph.” This exhibition is presented by Scotiabank and organized by the Ryerson Image Centre.
On view in the University Gallery, As Immense as the Sky is a new body of work by Ottawa-based artist Meryl McMaster examining the overlapping cultures and histories of both her Indigenous and European ancestors. In a series of large-scale performative self-portraits, McMaster interprets and reenacts patrimonial stories told by relatives, knowledge keepers, and friends. Wearing designed costumes, makeup, and custom-made props, McMaster’s otherworldly personas pose theatrically at ancient sites of significance to her family in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland. “I came to see these landscapes as immense time capsules of buried knowledge,” says McMaster. “As Immense as the Sky is about walking these ancient paths, experiencing the diversity of panoramas, and learning about my ancestors’ wisdom.” This is the first time this series will be shown in Canada.
In Rejects, on view in the RIC Student Gallery, Adrian Raymer reenacts long-forgotten 35mm colour slides of her grandfather prior to his estrangement from the family, endowing the original images with new histories as she examines the way that context is lost over time.
“Through diverse viewpoints and modes of expression, these three artists explore personal stories, and the ideas of lineage and family memory,” says RIC Exhibitions Curator, Gaëlle Morel. “The exhibitions are intellectually-rigorous, visually-striking, and thought-provoking, and they offer visitors the opportunity to reflect on their own place in the world.”
On view from May 1 to August 4, 2019, Scotiabank Photography Award: Moyra Davey and Meryl McMaster: As Immense as the Sky are curated by Gaëlle Morel. Both are primary exhibitions of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts also presents two exhibitions during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Maximum Exposure is an annual showcase of multidisciplinary work produced by emerging Canadian and international artists studying photography, film, and integrated digital media in the School of Image Arts. Maximum Exposure will be displayed throughout the building located at 122 Bond Street from April 27 – May 6.  
From May 8 – 26, the School of Image Arts’ Gallery 310 presents Suite Hereafter, a survey exhibition of significant works by the late photographer and esteemed Ryerson University professor Douglas Clark, curated by Marcus Schubert. Clark’s practice evolved from classic “street” photography of the 1960s and 1970s into highly personal bodies of work that took the form of lens-based installations. Gallery 310 is located at 122 Bond Street (third floor).
A full schedule of free public programming, including curator tours and talks, is available via ryersonimagecentre.ca/events.