Since 1983, award-winning Toronto artists Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak have worked together to attempt a new genre of documentary. Focusing on the individual rather than the statistical, these artists take a uniquely intimate and subjective approach to picturing broader society.
This approach is exemplified in works on show at Montreal’s Dazibao. For one series of photographs on view, Steele and Tomczak asked teenagers about their fears—a recurring nightmare, say, or something that happened at school. These responses were then inscribed into an image of the teen, often one taken from behind. Together, these works shift focus away from media-fave teen issues like school shootings and gangs to more perennial anxieties on failure, aging and death.
Accompanying these photographs are three video works that also juxtapose text and image to evoke eternal concerns like love and faith.
In an age when polls rule politics and stats vanquish sensibility, it’s heartening to consider Steele and Tomczak’s continuing investigation of our plural—and deeply felt—social realities. (4001 rue Berri #202, Montreal QC)