Exhibition Narrative at the Angell Gallery showcases photographs by Jakub Dolejs, Yael Eban, Andrew B. Myers, Tim Roda and Oli Sorenson. This exhibit basks in photography’s ability to mimetically detail a narrative. The most intriguing work in the exhibition is produced by the artist, Tim Roda. In his series “Hidden Father”, Roda mimics the 19th century photographic portraits of young children. Due to the long exposure times of early photography, children needed to remain still for extended periods of time while being photographed. For the children to maintain their still position, photographers often included a “hidden” mother. The “hidden” mother would be covered with a black cloth and the child would be placed on her lap or in front of her, so that she would be able to hold the child in place without disrupting the photograph. The photographs produced are eery, to say the least, it is almost as though a black apparition has taken hold of the child.
Tim Roda’s photographs subvert the historical narrative of the “hidden” mother to that of the “hidden” father, but by virtue of their “hiddeness” their gender is intrinsically ambiguous. Similarly, Roda subverts the narrative of parent and child, in the 19th century photographs the veiled adult is an unseen authority, which controls the child.
However, within Roda’s photographs the child is placed in an ambiguous narrative that places the child as protagonist. In one photograph, a young child sits atop a filing cabinet, with his “hidden” father standing to the side. The inquisitive child appears beyond the control of the veiled mass, leaving the child as the sole actor within the work. The walls of the Angell Gallery are currently housing some unusual and thought-provoking pieces that provide an engaging experience.
*Exhibition information: Exhibition Narrative by Jakub Dolejs, Yael Eban, Andrew B. Myers, Tim Roda, Oli Sorenson, May 1 – 30, 2015, Angell Gallery, 12 Ossington Avenue, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 5 p.m.