Jessica Thalmann is an artist, curator and writer currently based in Toronto and New York City. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Advanced Photographic Studies from ICP-Bard College and a BFA in Visual Arts from York University. She has worked at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, Toronto International Film Festival, C Magazine, the Art Gallery of York University and Yossi Milo Gallery.
She has shown at various venues in Toronto, Vancouver and New York City including the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Flash Forward 2010, Whippersnapper Gallery, Nuit Blanche, the Artist Project, Angell Gallery, Banff Centre for the Arts, VIVO Media Arts Center, Aperture Foundation, the International Centre of Photography, Photoville, the Camera Club of New York and Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair.
Pleats of Matter
As a whole my photographic practice attempts to unravel conventional understandings of photographic images and their material implications. My recent series work uses both my own images and archival documents to rethink the meaning of identity, history, memory, and loss while both disregarding and exalting the irreverence of filmic and photographic objects. The work examines the relationship between Brutalist architecture (with its predominance in post-secondary educational institutions in Canada and America) and traumatic histories involving protest, shootings and violence. The project is surprisingly personal in nature, and began by focusing on a shooting that occurred in 1992 at Concordia University where my uncle, Phoivos Ziogas, was a professor killed during the massacre. To work through the emotional implications of his death and its reverberations throughout the family, the images of cold monolithic Brutalist buildings became distorted, organic and malleable.
In my most recent series Pleats of Matter, I push the boundaries of optical space and visual trickery even further but flattening my sculptures via the lens of the camera. My process involves printing, cutting, assembling and folding photographs into a sculptural form directly on the wall of the gallery. I was interested in both destroying these precious images and renewing its life in a contemporary capacity. In essence, these immobile, cold geometric buildings morph into organic shapes and forms, sometimes even breaking down the image as if is falling a part in front of the viewer. I sought to re-examine the inherent failure of photography as a medium and push its material implications as a piece of paper. In the Pleats of Matter body of work, the concept of the fold can be applied to the ways in which a photograph can manipulate, distort, and skew an image and, by extension, reality and truth. Here, the work attempts to falsify and trick using the continual endlessly variable modulation of folding an image.
To view more of Jessica’s work please visit her website.