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July 19 to August 11, 2012 Opening reception: Thursday, July 19 at 7:30pm at the Mcintosh Gallery

Colin Campbell, True/False (film still) 1972, image courtesy of the Vtape

The longstanding tradition of self portraiture is undoubtedly the most familiar type of autobiographical work by visual artists. From Rembrandt to Lucian Freud, painters have taken advantage of the unique opportunity for psychological introspection provided by the most sympathetic and patient of sitters. With the advent of photography in the 19thcentury, which liberated portraiture and, indeed, painting generally from its historical obligation to depict reality, artists began to explore new ways of approaching the self as subject matter.

With the exhibition Some Things Last a Long Time, curator Matthew Ryan Smith takes on the challenging task of looking at the ways in which various contemporary Canadian artists have approached autobiographical themes in a variety of media over the past 40 years. Since the 1970s, artists Barbara Astman, Colin Campbell and Suzy Lake have been widely recognized for their thought-provoking self explorations. Using the lens-based practices of photography and video, their landmark work transcended the personal to inform and reflect on broader contemporary social issues including feminism, gender, and the individual’s adaptation within the increasingly mediated society of the period. Including recent work by Toronto-based Peter Kingstone and Moncton-based Jaret Belliveau in the exhibition demonstrates the sustained interest in personal narrative among a younger generation.

Mr. Smith, a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Arts, has worked on this exhibition for the past two years. His astute selection of works cogently illuminates his concept of “relational viewing,” as a process through which our private lives and memory determine our response to works of art. A catalogue, published by McIntosh Gallery and Western’s Department of Visual Arts, is available.