Charles Gagnon: Observations
April 3 – June 3, 2001
Curated by Penny Cousineau
University of Toronto Art Centre
This exhibition of forty-five black-and-white photographs installed for the Toronto CONTACT.01 5th Annual Toronto Photography Festival, spans thirty years of the remarkable career of Montreal artist Charles Gagnon. Born in 1934, Charles Gagnon is a senior artist with a national reputation, not only for his work as a photographer, but as a painter as well.
In an essay in the accompanying catalogue Canadian curator and writer Penny Cousineau has commented on Gagnon’s obvious links to American photography, particularly the so-called social landscape genre. She underlines that the “explicit social comment and criticism” evident to varying degrees in the photographs of Robert Frank or Walker Evans, for example, is absent in Gagnon’s photographs. She argues that Gagnon’s point-of-view, shared with Canadian photographers like Raymonde April and Lynne Cohen, describes a duality “where the protagonist of the image is neither inside or outside, and nature is inaccessible.”
Title Image: Charles Gagnon, Exit – Montreal, 1973.