The University of Guelph's capstone level photography course had its final exhibition, Withheld, at the Boarding House Gallery in Guelph. The eleven featured artists have worked under their professor Susan Dobson to develop their artistic practices. Each work, or series of work, offers an intentionally limited amount of visual information which leaves us feeling curious, entranced, uncomfortable, and charmed.
The wide range of display methods in Withheld made it seem almost interdisciplinary in nature. For example, the light box works of Jamie Aitken, the incorporation of sound in Rachel Meneguzzi's Notified, and the inclusion of Siobhan Kiely's interactive subject matter contrasted wonderfully with the wall-hugging works of Marije Stryker, Mansoor Naderi, and Michael Beckmann. There were also works that blur the line between installation and traditional mounting, such as the work of Sydney Bouwers In Stitches, where hand embroidery interacted with the surface of found photographs, and Lisa Arnold's piece "Descriptions" that explored the interaction between her photograph and the viewer in its accompanying text piece. This variety in Withheld's works added a successful level of interest and depth to the show.
When we spoke to the curatorial team about the concept behind the exhibition, Edward Chow explained, "the problem with photography is that its been so caught up in representation, that whenever you see a photographic work you think "what is it?". So we really tried to find a different variety of work where you might not know what it is initially, and that’s fine. You don't have to ask what it is, you just accept it."
Withheld offered new perspectives on photographic practices while celebrating the final chapter of their experience at the University of Guelph.
The show included the work of:
Jamie Aitken, Lisa Arnold, Michael Beckmann, Sydney Bouwers, Edward Chow, Victoria Coles,
Siobhan Kiely, Rachel Meneguzzi, Mansoor Naderi, Jordan Palmieri, and Marije Stryker.