Everyday Stories, Forest City Gallery

Object Narratives, Forest City Gallery

Image/Text Series, Forest City Gallery

Everyday Stories, 1979-1980
20 hand-tinted gelatin silver prints mounted on foamcor
101.5 x 132.0 cm

"Everyday Stories" came out of a series of investigations about the relationship of language to image produced between 1979 and 1980, in my studio in London, Ontario, at the time when I held a faculty position at the University of Western Ontario. The premise of the project was analytic in approach: to investigate through the ordering of objects in a photographic composition, the narrative potential and syntax by which images convey meaning. The material used for these compositions consisted of things lying around inside and outside the studio, a collection of odds and ends, plastic objects found at goodwill, detritus, etc.

The conceptual direction of this project was guided by Roland Barthes' description of the relation of text to image in his article "Rhetoric of the Image" in which he tries to reconcile the potential of the image as a semiotics based system, its relation to language, and the consequent cultural meaning resulting through their intersections.

The photographs in "Everyday Stories" are grouped into four categories, each group consisting of quadruplets, except for "Theoretical Studies" which has a total of eight images. In "Everyday Stories", images are juxtaposed against culturally invested texts, a set of rhetorically driven questions pulled out of an antiquated elementary school primer. In this grouping, the text imposes its cultural meaning onto the images. In the “Image/Text Series”, a minimally informative situation is implied by the image blurriness and the absence of text, but the images do convey some meaning as a result of our desire for insistent meaningfulness. The “Theoretical Studies” images function as a set of analytical propositions positioning the relation of texts to images in terms of questions asking the viewer to verify the validity of the statements. Whereas the relation of text to image in the “Theoretical Studies” seems evenly balanced, “Object Narratives” invests all meaning into the image as there are no textual signposts to affect, or be affected by the reading process.


Everyday Stories 1 Everyday Stories 2 Everyday Stories 3 Everyday Stories 4

Image/Text Series 1 Image/Text Series 2 Image/Text Series 3 Image/Text Series 4

Theoretical Studies 1 Theoretical Studies 2 Theoretical Studies 3 Theoretical Studies 4

Theoretical Studies 5 Theoretical Studies 6 Theoretical Studies 7 Theoretical Studies 8

Object Narratives 1 Object Narratives 2 Object Narratives 3 Object Narratives 4