John Ferri’s photo based works in Gallery 1313’s Cell Gallery explore the narrative present in public environments. He cleverly mixes street photography and collage to achieve a unique image. The interplay of people in those places is sometimes real and sometimes imagined. As Ferri states, to his works “Themes of solitude, dignity and the search for significance are central.“ Ferri ‘s background is journalistic, serving as a arts editor for the Toronto Star and then working for the paper on its online content. This seems significant in most of the works as we get a picture of the urban landscape viewed through Ferri ‘s vision.
In Next To You 1 & 2 the linear works show people seated on city benches, sometimes engaged and sometimes pensive and alone. The people seem to represent a cross section of a large urban centre. Another large work, Circle in the Square is mandala-like with some hundred or more individuals caught on the move. Again each person is an individual in its movement, some hurried while others strolling casually. Viewed from a distance the people are seen almost like ants in scurrying from their nest. They become more significant when viewed closely.
Ferri’s Giant Humans series, framed glicee prints (archival digital prints) are smaller in size but feel monumental. This time the people are collaged or appear to be stepping in front of large urban advertising that are using printed human faces or bodies. The individuals do not become lost with the background but seem to become even more prominent.
The exhibition by Gallery 1313 Member, John Ferri is highly worth a visit and no doubt it will create some conversation and ideas to share.
*Exhibition information: August 20 – 31, 2014, Gallery 1313 Cell Gallery, 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sun 1 – 6 p.m.