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Gerry Dotto

July 19, 2017

Gerry Dotto is an Edmonton-area artist, born and raised in the bedroom community of Sherwood Park where he still lives. With a background in graphic design, he works as a mixed media artist, printmaker, and photographer. His work explores our interaction with everyday forms of visual communication; specifically familiar forms whose words and symbols have become affected by changes in context, distorted, or obscured in some fashion. His piece Husband and Wife is included in the Walter Phillips Gallery portion of For the Time Being: 2017 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art. He recently won first place in the Still Life category at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts’ International Photography Competition and has several pieces in the upcoming group show Ten Voices on display in Calgary and Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditoriums this fall.

1. Pareidolia

Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon in which the mind perceives patterns in random data. A common example is seeing faces or animal shapes in passing clouds or seeing a man in the moon. I’m developing a body of work based on this principle that incorporates recycled materials, primarily pieces of common consumer packaging. I’ve been collecting these materials for several years and the piles are piling up. I’m starting to get a bit worried now. At what point does “artist” change to “hoarder”?

Alone on the Train, from the artist’s sketchbook Pareidolia

2. ...a funny thing happened...

There’s a humorous side to much of my work, but I find quite often that humour in art isn’t necessarily appreciated by much of the art establishment. I get the impression they think that sort of thing implies the artist isn’t serious about their work. Lighten up, folks. Here’s my contribution to the Edmonton Artists Colouring Book, a fundraiser published by SNAP and Latitude 53 last year:

3. Polaroid in a baggy

I loved using my Polaroid 600 camera. Because of the limited controls on the finished print, it forced me to 
be more creative in pushing the boundary of the camera’s capabilities. A little part of me died when Polaroid stopped producing film in 2008. Credit to the Impossible Project for the resurrection, but you know... it’s just not the same as the original. 
One thing I struggled with was how best to present my Polaroid prints. You can’t ignore that thick white border at the bottom – basically so awkward. I finally found the best result was to hang them in a plastic baggy. It’s like they were made for each other.

Polaroids in Baggies (detail)

4. Phone in a bowl

I don’t have a cell phone. Never have, never will. I figure I got along fine for this long without one, why change now. It’s surprising the number of people who learn this about me and are envious of the fact – not being owned by a phone. It comes with a certain amount of freedom, which for me outweighs any inconvenience. We were camping a few weeks ago, sitting at the table playing cards. My daughter wanted to listen to some music while we played, so she tuned her phone to the radio and placed it in a glass bowl to amp up the volume. First time I ever saw that. It sounds terrible, but I appreciate the improvisation. Next trip I could bring my portable CD player... but it ain’t no phone in a bowl.

5. Good night

You don’t need to read your cat’s mind to know what she’s thinking. Just listen to her talking in her sleep.



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