Xpose, now in its third year, is a juried exhibition of work from members of the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications (CAPIC). The images on display are created by talented artists at the forefront of commercial photography and illustration in Canada.
When walking into the small, well lit art space at Wychwood Barns it is immediately impressed upon the observer that the photographers here are the leading edge of commercial photography and illustration in Canada. While walking through, I envisioned each piece’s future scenario of permanent display. Would it be an auto dealership (Chrysler Imperial, Michael Mahovlich), a restaurant (Myrtle on the Farm, Marvin Moore) or at corporate headquarters (Cod Tounge and Other Stories, Roth and Ramberg)? Some use the placement of models in obscure settings, some tell the stories of the workers and others emphasis the glamour placed on branding. Each image depicts and juxtaposes the concepts of photography and illustration in advertising by de-contextualizing the purpose from the product.
An illustration of Elvis Stojko by Laurie McGaw captures the concentration and intensity of the respected Canadian athlete by intimately showing his upper torso and piercing gaze. Other’s exhibit well though-out composition with creative attention to small details. Christian Fleury‘s Guenille uses a 3-panel set to tell the unclear story of a adultry; however it is uncertain of the two men and single female, who got caught with who.
The human form is understandably a work of art in itself, but commercial photographers tend to over emphasis the importance of the model. Of the many portraits that dotted the 60 some photographs, most of them were beautifully shot but lacked any real composition or story telling; make-up artists mussing up young men’s hair and complexion to give the effect of hard living and brutality. On the other hand, Inuit photographer Shannon George‘s Arctic Char Fishers shows authenticity in her subjects: an old man, a rickety boat, a young man. An witty example of commercial mixed with portraiture is found in Henry Feather‘s Man in the City in which a middle aged business made leans forward and smiles in a sales friendly way. When taken out of the context of advertising a sleazy law practice or condo management firm, the beaming Man almost seems looks goofy and out of place.
My initial attraction to Xpose came from the promotional photograph used to promote the exhibit; a young girl reluctantly keeping her father’s secret. The photograph itself is a softly lit portrait of a young girl with the ringed index finger of a man held in a silencing gesture over her mouth. Though from the previous year’s show, the selection represents that creativity and professionalism of the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications (CAPIC).