Monday, May 9, 2011

Jen Allison | Contact Correspondent

Here is Alumni Jen Allison's review of Robert Longo's show at the Contact Festival:
Image by Jen Allison 
Robert LongoMen in Cities 

Robert Longo is an American painter and sculptor. Longo became famous in the 1980s for his "Men in the Cities" series, which depicted sharply dressed businessmen writhing in contorted emotion. As the Contact Festival guidebook describes; ‘Longo was influenced by images in the media and iconic films. These photographs were used as a source of material for Longo’s iconic pencil drawings, which showed the body on a white background, depicting the figure without ground. And now, three decades later, the photographs were printed and shown as artworks in their own right’.

Image by Jen Allison 
The choice of placing these larger than life images within the busy theatre district in Toronto was brilliant. You yourself become a viewer of the interaction between Longo’s models and other viewers. You could sit and watch people contort themselves to view the twisted models in Longo’s images all day.
Image by Jen Allison 
I have always been inspired by Longo’s ‘Men in Cities’ series as I am fascinated by the contortion and movement the models created for Longo. When I read that this series would be a public installation for the festival this year, I was overjoyed. The images are printed on canvas and stretched over a frame, which is then hung on another metal frame. The images line the south side of King Street and create a unique corridor for those walking by. The high contrast and bright blue skies of the prints draw you in and give you the sense that you are on the rooftop, throwing balls and stones at the models, to help influence the unique shapes these models created with their body while Longo photographed them.

More Contact reviews to come, so stay tuned!!

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