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Jessica Bushey: Privy Series

Bjornson Kajiwara Gallery, Vancouver BC – Apr 6-29

Jessica Bushey - Privy-Wedding
Jessica Bushey, Privy – Wedding (2006), photograph [Bjornson Kajiwara Gallery, Vancouver BC, Apr 6-29]

Vancouver photographer Jessica Bushey takes a strong documentary approach to a series of work that capture, incidental and peripheral public areas. Like the Berlin-b orn photographer Uta Barth, Bushey questions the traditional function of photographs as pictures.

Jessica Bushey - Toilet Roll
Jessica Bushey, T1 (2006), photograph [Bjornson Kajiwara Gallery, Vancouver BC, Apr 6-29]

With a new body of work taken in public toilets and titled Privy Series, she negates concepts of pictures as pretty. She also emphasizes the role of the viewer as voyeur. Her diptychs of graffiti-scribbled toilet walls in women’s washrooms, coupled with views of feet glimpsed below the dividers, are both mesmerizing and slightly abhorrent.

Part of the shock appeal of Bushey’s photos results from her sharply-focused presentation of industrial materials like tile, glass, ceramic, metal and drywall – none of which is particularly inviting to the human touch. Her view of them, however, has a romantic if not nostalgic sensibility, as if her camera longs to caress the hard appeal of manufactured surfaces and building materials. She is a genius at capturing the ephermeral qualities of light, as she showed previously in documented scenes of a construction site in Raise a Building (2004).

Jessica Bushey was born in the United States and grew-up in the Canadian western and eastern Arctic. She studied printmaking, photography and languages at the University of British Columbia and the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Bushey was the recipient of a Foreign Affairs & International Trade of Canada Arts Grant (2002) and a Canada Council Visual Arts Creation Grant (2002).


Mia Johnson

 Tue, Apr 4, 2006