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Inhabiting consists of a number of photographic works by Montréal artist Isabelle Hayeur, selected from three series. Destinations (from 2003 and 2004) is comprised of long horizontal photographs depicting landscapes made up of several juxtaposed views, and digitally integrated to form one image; Model Homes (begun in 2004 and still in progress) consists of prefabricated model homes photographed singly, and subtly transformed; and Excavations (2005 and also in progress) includes images of suburban homes in their “natural settings” shown with what could be defined as x-rays of the geological substrata underneath them.

Each work by Isabelle Hayeur is a collection of images mostly photographed by the artist but sometimes coming from image banks on the Web woven together with the help of Adobe Photoshop in order to produce what at first glance appears to be the smooth spread of a real landscape. The manner in which Hayeur succeeds in giving the illusion of a continuous and credible whole to what are, in effect, fragments of representations with different perspectives and on different scales, is truly astounding.

In time, however, the artificiality of the construction becomes visible and one perceives that those landscapes are impossible. They embrace too much nature to be real. They allow too much to be seen—that is, they reveal both the landscape and the subterranean strata that support it—something normally not available to the naked eye. They become too typical, like her representations of model homes overloaded with signification.

Through her choice of images and themes, Hayeur expresses an anxiety about the way humanity has come to occupy the natural territory. The representation not only of a site but of what has happened to it turns her work into something akin to history painting. A history painting that expresses a moral judgment on the rapid degradation of the natural world while also making an acerbic comment on the “residential” folly that has led to the exponential growth of the suburbs.

— Serge Bérard, Exhibition Curator

Inhabiting exhibition specifications

Contents: 14 photographs on laminated Duraflex, bilingual signage on disc, and 20 copies of the book-catalogue.

Catalogue: A full colour, bilingual book-catalogue is included with the exhibition. It contains two different texts by the Curator, one in each of French and English. Each text will be a reflection on issues of translation from the perspective of each language.

Rental fee: $7000 within Canada (fee does not include artist/curator travel.)

Shipping: via courier.

Availability: Inhabiting will be exhibited at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square from 23 June to 27 August 2006 and will then be available for tour until December 2008.

Contact: Shannon Anderson, Curatorial Assistant/Registrar, at 905.844.4402 ext. 27 or by email at shannon@oakvillegalleries.com.


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