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American Document: 1935 - 1944
A Database Documentary by Monika Berenyi

Black and White Photographs by Ruth Skinner

Wednesday, May 30 to Saturday, June 16, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 7th, 6 to 10 pm

These two exhibitions are part of DOC NOW documentary media festival which celebrates the work of graduating students from Ryerson's Documentary Media Master of Fine Arts program.

American Document
Since the conclusion of World War II, the ethos of the Roosevelt administration (1933-1945) and the achievements of the New Deal era have been celebrated and propelled by official rhetoric. American Document is a database documentary which challenges and deconstructs the validity of this long-sustained authority in the United States.

Monika Berenyi is a visual artist whose creative practice is animated by storytelling and the archive. Using interdisciplinary research and production methods, her work investigates latent values in archival documents, and questions the mechanisms which contribute to constructs of collective memory and official histories. Her work is expressed in the form of dynamic visual languages, which stimulate critical dialogues and alternative pedagogical platforms. Her practice is informed by the disciplines of history, ethnography, and visual art, and cultivated in the spirit of pluralism. Recent projects have explored topics in twentieth-century American social history, including the Great Depression and the Civil Rights movement.

Monika Berenyi has studied at the University of Toronto (MA, BA), ArtEZ Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, and the Accademia D'Arte Firenze. She has conducted research at the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and the Open Society Archives, and her work has been exhibited internationally. She currently teaches art history at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum.


Passages is a photographic documentary which explores the 179-year history of the Toronto Island Ferry and its interrelationship with the residents and non-residents of the Toronto Islands. The fifteen-minute ferry ride transports passengers from a busy and chaotic downtown core to an idyllic and peaceful landscape, creating an interesting psychological and physical shift. One aspect of this journey is a linear sequence of events in time (a beginning, middle, and end), while the other is non-linear involving inner thought and memory. In this vein, Passages explores how the external journey maps the internal world.

Ruth Skinner is a Toronto-based documentary photographer who blends traditional and contemporary practices using the enduring aesthetic of black and white. Originally from Prince Edward Island, Skinner received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University in 1989. During her studies, she developed an interest in ferry systems and their cultural significance. In 1992, Skinner received a grant from the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts to document the final years of the Borden/Cape Tormentine Ferry before the opening of the Confederation Bridge linking P.E.I. to New Brunswick. Since then she has documented ferries throughout the Maritimes, the UK, and Toronto. Her work has been exhibited at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, and Harbourfront Gallery and AWOL Gallery in Toronto.

IMA Gallery is supported by P-FACS, Ryerson University, and individuals in the community.

Media contact: Zinnia Naqvi
Open Wednesday - Saturday 12 - 5pm
80 Spadina Avenue, Suite #305






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