Bill Blair, "Moon Goddess," Hand-tinted silver gelatin print, 13 3/8 x 9 3/4 inches.
TABOO: a solo exhibition of hand-tinted photographs by Bill Blair
Opening Thursday April 11 7-9 pm
Closing April 25
977-A Fort Street
250 382 2787
In his latest series of unique hand-tinted photomontage images, artist Bill Blair explores the myth of the American Indian Maiden. Sampling vintage burlesque imagery from his collection spanning the mid-20th century, Blair interfaces them with faux scenic backdrops - painted canvas, dime-store lithos, and paint-by-number imagery - creating a romantic vision of artifice.
Bill Blair has been creating photomontage images since the early 1980s. Much of his imagery fluctuates between themes of Canadiana and Mexicana - both real and imaginary. Both play off ideas of early-20th-century romantic travel ideals and issues of souvenir culture and national identity in North America. His earliest influence was the tall-tale or fantasy postcard - popular at the beginning of the 20th century - with its exaggerated images (such as larger-than-life vegetables and giant wildlife) and surrealist qualities - where mysterious juxtapositions are the norm.
In recent work, he often samples human subjects from his extensive collection of vintage real-photo postcards, mixing them - and other elements – with his own background images. He also creates mixed-media assemblages and wall shrines – described by the Vancouver Sun as “dashboard art” – incorporating vintage guitars and ukuleles.
He has exhibited his photo-based and assemblage works in numerous group and solo shows regionally and internationally. Recent commissions include pieces for chef Rick Bayless’s XOCO restaurant in Chicago, and for the Latin Grammy Award-winning singer, Lila Downs. Examples of his Canadiana and Mexicana works can be seen at: www.flickr.com/photos/billblair. Blair lives and works in Victoria, BC.