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Peter Wilkins 12 Writers’ Portraits

Canada HOuse leafCanada House Gallery
10/04/2013 - 31/05/2013
Opening Hours: Weekdays, 10:00 - 17:45

Oliver Cromwell demanded that every pimple be preserved by his portraitist. Hollywood stars insist on capturing their ‘best-sides’, while photojournalists present poverty or conflict through the faces of nameless victims. The history of portraiture has always been about deciphering authority and navigating relationships.

Writers’ Portraits

Peter Wilkins’ 12 Writers’ Portraits presents video portraits of celebrated Canadian writers: Margaret Atwood, Roch Carrier, Austin Clarke, Douglas Coupland, Wayne Johnston, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alistair MacLeod, Yann Martel, Anne Michaels, David Adams Richards, Jane Urquhart and M.G. Vassanji.

Wilkins’ portraits follow and confront a long tradition of portraiture, creating representations that explore the very process of each subject’s ‘sitting’. Here, visual manipulation is at a minimum. Instead, Wilkins presents five minutes drawn from each life; real-time loops that move the subject beyond the confines of a single frame.

Each of these celebrated authors was asked, prior to recording, questions about themselves; their experiences, beliefs, ideals, hopes, and fears. Wilkins then related back their words and thoughts, while the camera captured their responses. The resulting kinetic portrait presents the sitter in the act of constructing and considering their own self-representation.

12 Writers’ Portraits combines explorations of portraiture, technology and the interpretative screens that link audience with celebrity.

Bruce Johnson
Curator of Contemporary Art,
The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery.


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