Seafarers and Fishwives is an exhibition that deals with myths and actual accounts of women at sea, as well as with the exchange and display of photographs and how these relate to class and narrative structures.
Jennifer Crane presents a collection of anonymous portraits and stereoscopic cards: she has created impossible archives, where she simultaneously acts as subject, photographer, collector and curator. Through her photo installation, the artist proposes a playful story and a discovery of the photographs' relationship to the memory and myths of Eastern Canada.
Stereo cards were collected and popularized predominantly by the middle class during the late 19th century; they could be bought in sets of 'exotic' people and places, creating a view of the world that could be predictable and attainable through the lens. The cards in the exhibition are made to look authentic; still, they interrupt and distort the narrative structure and optical illusion. Some of them reveal a shift in location, presence, gaze or gesture of the subject in the image.
Through the creation of fictional photographic archives, this work engages with issues of memory, authenticity and archival practice. The artist is interested in the historical use of photography as a means to document, inscribe and mythologize the human body; as well as how women occupy public space as this relates to popular memory and performances of gender, authority and spectacle.
Jennifer Crane is a photo-based artist from Nova Scotia presently living and working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After graduating from high school in Halifax she began her undergraduate studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She completed her BFA at York University in 1990 and was awarded her MFA at Concordia University in Montreal in 1998.
Crane has exhibited her work at galleries across Canada and in the United States. She has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Memorial University in Newfoundland and the University of Lethbridge. Jennifer Crane is based in Saskatoon where she currently teaches at The University of Saskatchewan.
Image: Jennifer Crane, Seafarers and Fishwives, 2001, 18 gelatin silver prints, 22 stereo cards, antique wooden box with antique viewer, 2 unframed, C-prints, dimensions variable, gift of the Artist, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 2011, Detail: C-print on Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper, 85.2 x 76.2 cm