Phantom Presence: Contemporary Photography in New Brunswick

Karen Ruet, Midnight in the late afternoon (detail), 2015, archival pigment print

June 25 - August 30, 2015    |    Regular Exhibition    |    Cost:

Jaret Belliveau, Amanda Dawn Christie, Carol Collicutt, Kyle Cunjak, Oliver Flecknell, Rachael Leigh Flett, Julie Forgues, Frédéric Gayer, Paul Griffin, Peter Gross, Mathieu Léger, Annie France Noël, Sophie Polanski and Vitaly Korneev, Evan Rensch, Neil Rough, Karen Ruet, Karen Stentaford, and Christina Thomson

As documentary records, photographic images are an abstraction of memory used to represent not only fleeting fragments of time, space, and place that have passed before the lens, but also of experience. Despite the widespread view that they offer a realistic reproduction or duplication of the world, they cannot provide empirical evidence of reality, they are not a replication of the outside world as our eyes see it, and they are not a stable or reliable record of the truth.

Elusive, deceptive, mercurial, and mysterious, photographs are the result of subjective choice, and tell us more about the perspective and biases of the photographer than about the reality of that which is recorded. At once familiar and strange, they are shadows or reflections of the past existing in the present, an uncanny medium or a kind of “phantom presence”. Cultural analyst Susan Sontag called them “a trace, something directly stencilled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask,” philosopher and semiotician Roland Barthes referred to them as “certificates of presence” and “a form of hallucination,” and American actor and director Orson Welles described them as “a medium via which messages reach us from another world that is not ours.”  

Phantom Presence: Contemporary Photography in New Brunswick explores the “phantom” qualities of photography through a diversity of approaches, photographic technologies, aesthetic viewpoints, and contemporary visions as represented by the work of photographic artists Jaret Belliveau, Amanda Dawn Christie, Carol Collicutt, Kyle Cunjak, Oliver Flecknell, Rachael Leigh Flett, Julie Forgues, Frédéric Gayer, Paul Griffin, Peter Gross, Mathieu Léger, Annie France Noël, Sophie Polanski and Vitaly Korneev, Evan Rensch, Neil Rough, Karen Ruet, Karen Stentaford, and Christina Thomson. Aimed at chronicling and heightening the profile of recent creative developments in contemporary photography in the province, it demonstrates photography as a disciplined way of seeing within an open field of possibilities for the exploration and expression of ideas.

Curators: Karen Ruet and Terry Graff
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of the Province of New Brunswick, the City of Fredericton, CI Institutional Asset Management (CI Investments), and the Scotiabank Artist Residency Program.