Addison Brow, Kris Sanford, & Sara Silks

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Feature Exhibition

May 3 – June 16, 2019

Join us for the Opening Reception: Saturday, May 4, 2–5pm. Artists in Attendance.


Addison Brow, Kris Sanford, and Sara Silks explore the tensions and nuisances of how identity is mediated and re-imagined using hybrid experimental photographic processes. Addison Brown’s intricate hand-crafted ambrotypes draw on the visual conventions of historic portraiture, casting himself as different fictional characters. Kris Sanford’s contemporary queer intervention into old snap shot photographs address sexuality and relationships in clever and subtle ways. Sara Silks intimate experimental analogue photographs highlight the struggles of young women situating themselves in Western society. Together they open up a space for looking at how identity is represented, constructed and performed in the current vernacular of our culture.

Addison Brown, Bedroom, 2018, layered ambrotype, steel, glass, wood, 9.75 x 11.25 x 8.25 inches

Addison Brown’s photographic objects construct enigmatic narratives that blur the distinctions between reality and fantasy. Inspired by the ambient effects of cinema, Brown’s series ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ blends film noir’s low-key lighting and abstract angles with historic photographic processes to create open-ended narratives. His hand-made multi- layered abrotypes dissect and suspend visual planes across glass plate positives. Brown inserts himself into his images, performing different fictional personas for the camera- a cowboy, cop, convict, jock, and a debutant- exposing the fluidity and instability of identity.

Kris-Sanford, Well Suited, 2015, archival inkjet print, 11.5 x 11.5 inches (framed)

Kris Sanford examines relationships, real or imagined, through a queer lens. In her series ‘Through the Lens Of Desire’, Sanford appropriates vernacular photographs from the 1920s – 1950s that picture men together and women together, to construct an ‘imaginary queer past’. The artist’s purposeful use of archival photographs intervenes onto a legacy of pictorial representation where same-sex relationships have been deliberately erased and/or overlooked. Through physically and conceptually reframing the images, Sanford brings attention to the subtle points of contact between figures: the physical closeness between subjects, a casual arm over the shoulder, a gentle touch of the hand. Doing so, Sanford cleverly creates an inclusive space for representing queer desire and narratives.

Sara Silks, Shaman. 2016, wetplate collodion tintype, 16 x 20 inches (framed)

Sara Silks creates poetic images that examine the simultaneous vulnerability and strength of the female spirit. Silks’s ongoing series ‘Studies of Women’ is a cross-generational exploration of the shared struggles and conflicting expectations placed on women. Inspired by her immediate relationships and lived experiences, Silks captures the inner conflicts of young women at the cusp of adulthood. Her sensuous allegorical compositions blend silhouettes and mudras-like hand gestures with natural forms – bones, bird’s nests, lotuses, clouds – to explore personal narratives through a contemporary feminist lens.

Each artist carves out a space for multivalent interpretations and responses to established modes of representation.