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Installation View, 2005

May 26-June 25, 2005
Opening Reception: Thursday May 26, 6-8 pm
The Jack Shainman Gallery is proud to present IMPOSITION, an exhibition of photographic and video works by Michael Snow, Pascal Grandmaison, and John Oswald. Exploring ideas of mirroring, transparency, layering and the nature of representation, IMPOSITION gathers individual projects by Snow, Grandmaison, and Oswald on these themes. The exhibition generates a complex and intergenerational dialogue between the works of the three Canadian artists, with the work of each speaking to and revealed by the work of the others.
Filmmaker, photographer, painter, sculptor and musician, Michael Snow has produced one of the most significant bodies of work over the past half-century in his chosen mediums. The influence and depth of Snow’s ideas are only beginning to be recognized and understood in their complexity. IMPOSITION includes a variety of works from Snow’s career. “Sink” (1970) is a photograph produced in conjunction with a slide work of the same title (and recently exhibited in the Whitney Museum’s exhibit “Small: The Object in Film, Video, and Slide Installation). “Parked” (1992) is a lightbox work showing Snow with his face pressed against a car window. The window becomes the picture plane, as the camera and the viewer observe the artist’s struggle to enter/escape.
The exhibition, IMPOSITION, takes its title from a 1976 photograph by Michael Snow that was originally exhibited as part of the artist’s one man show “Ten Photographic Works” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1976. The image is a super-imposition of four discrete photographs that coalesce to build an image in which all the stages of its construction remain visible. First an image of an empty room, the second image adds a couch, the third a naked man and woman on the couch and the fourth we see the man and woman clothed, tilting their heads to look at a photo. The work which is tiled up on end so that we also must lean our heads to view it in proper alignment, clues us in, to the fact that what the subjects of the photo are looking at is in fact the same photo we are seeing, drawing us into its self-reflective loop.
Pascal Grandmaison is the youngest of the three artists in the exhibition. Based in Montreal, Grandmaison’s work explores both the corporeal and momentary nature of the photographic image. In “Running” a video installation, we see a close-up of a foot in a running shoe. Apparently still, as we gaze at the image we begin to see the subtle pulsing of the foot, the nervous twitching, and rocking of the shoe as the “runner’s” body returns to stasis after a period of implied activity. Six by six foot portraits make up Grand most recent body of work “Verre (Glass).” The photographs present their subjects in a seemingly straightforward manner, yet each is reaching through the photographic plane, one hand grasping the sheet of glass that forms yet another layer of distance and awareness to our sense of a mediated image.
Within + standstill + stillness + essence + ceaseless is a panoramic 60-foot wide, 5 channel video work by John Oswald whose other works explore music and performance (Oswald has worked in the past with the Kronos Quartet, Bill T. Jones, and the Grateful Dead). The five channels of this video are titled “Within” “Standstill”, “Stillness”, “Essence”, and “Ceaseless.” Echoing Snow’s “Imposition” in its use of transparency and superficially the slow speed of Bill Viola’s recent work and Grandmaison’s “Running”, Oswald’s images are in fact extremely active, with thousands of independent minute variations per second. Depicting people of all ages and races in its wide panorama, the work unfolds to reveal its subjects at various moments clothed and unclothed, isolated or as part of a growing and ghostly crowd. The people in it do nothing and go nowhere, yet are constantly changing. This is a movie which never moves; a still unfrozen.
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.  For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at
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