Artist Statement

The ideas

Gender bending with Karen Trask in Japan, 2014

Gender bending with Karen Trask using tourist artifice in Japan, 2014

Making photographs and producing multimedia performances.

Comparing risk taking to vulnerability, embracing awkwardness and challenging masculinity.

What is fakery?  How can one thing can pass for another? Can the unreal to stand in for the real? Can the photograph of the painting  stand in for the painting? Wanting the photograph of a cloud to be me. Making the fake thing so fake that it reveals the truth.

Creating a contrast between being something and acting something. Making paintings and then photographing them to ask the question “Are we looking at a painting, or a photograph”

What is the difference between risk taking and being vulnerable? Learning that fear of looking stupid is bigger than the fear of dying.

Framing subjects to emphasize a feeling of awkward, tragicomic isolation.

Finding ways to go through fear without panicking is a game of self-control that I enjoy on an almost daily basis. This desire to live an intense experience, as seen through the acts of dressing in drag, BASE jumping, and boxing is translated directly into my art practice. I use these difficult, complex and sometimes cumbersome situations as mediums for direct and honest communications.

Overview of selected works

Recent works include multimedia productions and photographic projects such as: Family Workstations. This work is a documentary of the environments we build in our homes around the personal computer. I am drawing a loose connection between family and computer networks, but mostly this is a document of a particular moment in time where computers define a particular space in the home. Art Photography is a photographic project inspired by the background information that accompanies an artwork when it is photographed badly. It was developed while in residence in Mexico City. The exhibition Absolutely Fabulous, presented in 2006, is a series of photographic self portraits revealing the construction of masculinity through role playing. The projects BOX, and ASCII Fighter, are boxing performances created for Le Rencontre Internationale d’art Performance, in Québec City, 2006, and Digifest, in Toronto (2004), and explore themes of communication in challenging circumstances. There are two percussion performances, Three-bit Thumbnail, for Networkings, a new media and performance festival in Halifax 2003 and BABBLE, Moismulti (Québec City), Tranztech, (Toronto) 2002 and Galerie B312, (Montréal) 2001. In all of the performances, sensors are wired to a computer interface allowing the performers to write messages using text and video. The messages referred to how technology transforms the meaning of what is being said. In the performance/installation Security/Insecurité, security guards are hired to sleep on the floor, while an image of a mutilated but thriving tree is projected overhead. In this work, authority figures present themselves in non-authoritative positions, creating an interesting dialogue between their position in society and their position in the room. Another work, Hesitation, was an installation of photographs in the form of traffic signs installed on lampposts along Boulevard St. Laurent – the main east – west dividing street of Montreal. The photographs portrayed people engaged in difficult and awkward communications.

– Paul Litherland, 2015