The exhibition Althea Thauberger / Althea Lorraine runs from 8 February to 24 March 2018 at Susan Hobbs. @susanhobbs
Lorraine Monk was a photographer, curator, and maker of Canadian national identity. During her tenure as executive producer at the National Film Board’s ‘Still Image Division’, she produced several books of photography and oversaw the development of ‘The People Tree’ for Expo67’s Canadian Pavilion. An ambitious social documentary and architectural project, the installation combined a vast selection of images portraying the citizens of Canada during the pivotal post-war period.
However, alongside its utopian ambitions, the project reinforced an aggressive and assimilative form of government-sanctioned multiculturalism that maintained a white, middle-class centre. So that, in effect, by engaging the concept of mosaic, the images worked hand-in-hand with the state to conceal real practices of discrimination and bias across race, culture, and socio-economic difference.
Working from inside the NFB’s archive of still images, “Althea Lorraine” presents a series of photographic portraits of Althea Thauberger posed as Lorraine Monk ca. 1967. In a time when most women were excluded from positions of power and expressions of public voice, Monk skilfully exploited photography’s unique capacity to both portray and construct. As such, with images of a woman reimagining herself as a woman who employed images to imagine a nation, Thauberger interrogates Monk as a key figure to expose photography as both an ideological and technical apparatus.
Photography fans should also check out Edward Burtynsky‘s current show at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.