Photography exhibition exploring “life, its transience, its fragility, and its persistence” closes at the ROM on July 2
ELEGY: DEBORAH SAMUEL, an exhibition featuring a new series of images from Canadian photo-based artist Deborah Samuel closes at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on Monday, July 2. The exhibition, making its world premiere at the ROM, is displayed in the Hilary and Galen Weston Wing, Level 2. In their first-ever collaboration, ELEGY is a co-presentation of the ROM’s Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity and its Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC).
ELEGY features 33 photographs, including 10 commissioned by the ROM highlighting specimens from its collections. While Samuel’s initial focus in this project was birds – well represented in the exhibition - her scope broadened to include other vertebrates’ remains, including, most notably, a cobra highlighted in a triptych.
ELEGY is a project borne out of personal losses for Deborah Samuel, as well as her anger at the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Horrified by the environmental disaster, Samuel tried to go to Louisiana to photograph and document the thousands of affected, oiled birds, but was prohibited from doing so by both government and BP regulations. Her intention, instead, to work with bird skeletons soon evolved into a great fascination with anatomy. A long-time animal advocate, Samuel began to ponder many aspects of the animal world. Far beyond their physical attributes, their emotions and their relationships held great interest for the photographer.
The images in ELEGY are captured by placing physical specimens on a flatbed scanner, a method allowing Samuel to work with the image to achieve her desired representation. This innovative technique highlights the issue of a fixed image versus a fluid image in photography, a debate which Samuel fully embraces.
ELEGY: DEBORAH SAMUEL was a featured exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2012. The internationally renowned festival took place in Toronto during the month of May at various locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
ELEGY: DEBORAH SAMUEL is included with paid general ROM admission. Additional details may be found at http://www.rom.on.ca/visit/
Artist Deborah Samuel
Born in Vancouver and raised between Toronto, and Adare, Ireland, Deborah Samuel graduated from Limerick College of Art & Design, Ireland and, then, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. Her photographs reside in many public, corporate, and private collections and her work has been widely exhibited internationally. After working extensively as a commercial artist and winning numerous awards, Samuel now focuses exclusively on fine art projects. Deborah Samuel has had a number of books of her photography published by Chronicle Books.
ELEGY: DEBORAH SAMUEL is co-presented by the Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity and
the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the ROM.