Stephen Foster: Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits

Sioux Archer on His Knees

Stephen Foster, Sioux Archer on His Knees – Item # 70305, 2011, back-lit film for lightbox

An exhibition of new work by Kelowna-based artist Stephen Foster featuring back-lit light boxes with photographs of toy figures will have visitors donning pairs of 3-D glasses as part of their viewing experience.

Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits is part of Foster’s on-going, multi-part investigation exploring depictions of indigenous people by American photographer, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952). The North American Indian, a multi-volume work that was published as a serial from 1907 to 1930 and contained about 2000 images, is considered to be Curtis’ magnum opus, and had a huge impact on popular images of Indianess in film and mainstream media throughout North America and Europe. As an artist of mixed European and Indigenous heritage, Stephen Foster works to deconstruct such images, and to place them in a more complex perspective. For this series of works, Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits Foster found and purchased a selection of plastic figurines that are manufactured in Germany. The toy figures have been influenced by early ethnography, such as the photographic works of Curtis. Foster has photographed them in 3-D format, linking them to popular culture, and nudging the viewer to consider the 3-D as a metaphor for seeing the “other” in a fuller context.

Stephen Foster holds an MFA from York University in Toronto and teaches at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan Campus. He works in video and new digital media and has exhibited widely.

Sioux Medicine Man

Stephen Foster, Sioux Medicine Man – Item # 70309, 2011, back-lit film for lightbox

An opening reception to celebrate this exhibition will be held on Friday, June 21, 2013, from 7 to 9 pm, at the Kelowna Art Gallery. This will be a free event, open to members and guests, by invitation. Artist Stephen Foster will be in attendance and will offer remarks.

In addition, a new community-sourced exhibition that asks participants to share digital images of an object that reflects their identity has been launched. Project Identity is open to everyone to take part in or to view. Photos will be accepted and displayed in the Scotiabank Studio at the Kelowna Art Gallery until September 29, 2013.

Sioux Chief on Horse

Stephen Foster, Sioux Chief on Horse – Item # 70300, 2011, back-lit film for lightbox

Stephen Foster: Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits will be on view from June 22 to Sept 29, 2013, at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street in downtown Kelowna. For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online.


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