Janet Werner. Another perfect day
Curator: Kent Archer
Artist: Janet Werner
November 1, 2013 - December 14, 2013
Opening: October 31, 2013, 5:30 pm
As part of a yearlong program devoted to solo shows by women artists, the Galerie de l’UQAM is launching the exhibition Another Perfect Day by Montreal artist Janet Werner on October 31. Her work as a painter focuses on the fictional portrait as a vehicle to explore notions of subjectivity and desire. This project, organized and toured by the Kenderdine Art Gallery | College Art Galleries of the University of Saskatchewan and curated by Kent Archer, includes a corpus of works from the last five years. It is travelling to a number of other venues across Canada (Esker Foundation, Calgary; McIntosh Gallery, London; Doris McCarthy Gallery, Scarborough; and others to be confirmed).
Another Perfect Day
The works selected for this exhibition signal an ongoing engagement with the historically established practice of portraiture but one that is ultimately rerouted and subverted. In Werner’s paintings, the canons of beauty and likeness that attend conventional portraiture are abandoned in favor of deeply internalized, subjective and renegade purposes. Werner’s portraits, even when sourced from high fashion images manifest unconventional beauty, turning the portrayed figures into specters that defy anatomical accuracy. The paintings are rife with physical mutations and set up complex psychological conditions; they lean towards the irrational but reveal a kind of deviant logic.
For Werner, the process of painting is a way of investigating the iconic power of the image, invoking imagination, memory and projection to invest nameless figures with human (sometimes monstrous) character and a disturbing array of emotions. The final paintings are composite fictional portraits that retain aspects of the original source while embodying notions of transformation, desire, innocence, loss and defiance.
Janet Werner was born in Winnipeg and lives and works in Montreal where she teaches at Concordia University. She holds an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from the Maryland Institute. Her work has been exhibited across Canada including solo shows at the Art Gallery of Windsor, SBC Gallery, Montreal, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Ottawa Art Gallery and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg. Internationally her work was recently shown in solo presentations in Cape Town, South Africa and Cologne, Germany. Her work was included in the survey exhibition Oh, Canada, at Mass MoCa in North Adams, Mass and in The Painting Project at Galerie de l’UQAM in the Spring 2013. Werner’s work is in numerous public and corporate and is represented by Parisian Laundry, Montreal, and Birch Contemporary, Toronto.
Kent Archer is the Director/Curator of the Kenderdine Art Gallery and College Art Galleries at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon where he oversees the exhibition program and the University Art Collection. Archer has been involved with the development of a number of other touring projects including Bill Burns: Safety Gear for Small Animals, Jon Sasaki: Good Intentions and David Ross Harper: entre le chien et le loup, which is currently on tour across Canada.
Support provided by
Canada Council for the Arts
Saskatchewan Art Board