|Image credit: Shary Boyle, "The Lute Player" 2009|
Fueled by her own unstoppable imagination, Shary Boyle’s work shatters life into visually stunning narrative shards, breaking down hierarchies between humans and animals, men and women, and transforming the fi gurative genre into a form that eerily looks back at its viewers.
For 20 years, Boyle’s work has eluded being categorized into any one medium or genre. Long heralded as an outsider in terms of her non-referential, anti-institutional methods, Boyle is now coming off a landmark year — and she shows no signs of slowing down. She took home the 2009 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, which came with a $25,000 award and a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The highly lauded Flesh and Blood was curated by Louise Dery of the Galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal, where the show ran earlier this year. This summer, Flesh and Blood travels to Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver.
While future projects include a 2012 live presentation for children in Toronto, Boyle’s work has long been aptly described as “intense”. Little has been said about the root of that intensity, an energy that is dark, yet highly imaginative, if not joyfully absurd. Her work boils down to a highly attuned and perceptive sensitivity to the state of being alive, and inherent in each piece is an innate curiosity that emerges from a sense of being different. As an artist, she doesn’t hold back in expressing a sensuality and honesty rarely visible on the surface of contemporary art. From wistful drawings of strange and vulnerable young women to haunting porcelain sculptures sprung directly from a wild imagination, Boyle intervenes into the arc of art history with a potentially polarizing feminist narrative . . .
*To read the article in full, pick up the Summer 2011 issue of Galleries West