Bart Gazzola’s experimental self-portraits are something to think about.
The local artist recently teamed up with Montreal photographer Evergon for a new exhibit, The Performative Lens, currently on display at PAVED Arts in Saskatoon’s Riversdale area.
The small gallery is filled with several self-portraits from both artists.
Gazzola’s photographs are fleshy, but not quite human. For his series, titled “Prophet,” he used pigskin and coiled it around himself in various ways.
He is careful not to show his face; it is his body — specifically his chest — that is the focus of the photographs. Gazzola is never fully exposed.
“I didn’t want to have a face and I definitely made a conscious decision to not have my eyes within” the frames, Gazzola said.
His use of framing transforms the focus from himself onto the pigskin, which seems to become an extension of himself.
Evergon’s use of props add a sense of comedy to his photographs. In one photograph, for example, Evergon sported underwear, a sailor hat and a hula skirt. On his torso he sketched a topless woman in a manner that mimics the wear typically seen in aged tattoos. The viewer is drawn to the large guts of both Evergon and the woman.
“I know Evergon cracked me up because I know that there’s this intense sense of humour behind what he does and this kind of almost silliness,” Gazzola said.
The two artists have a long-standing relationship and strong ties to the arts community in Saskatoon. They first worked together 22 years ago when Gazzola was a student in Windsor, Ont., where Gazzola modelled for one of Evergon’s projects.
Evergon has eight works on display at the exhibit while Gazzola contributed three.
The Performative Lens will be on display until April 20.
Photos: Bart Gonzola, Evergon