Artist Talk with Susan Dobson


Susan Dobson, Photography After Photography, 2019, vinyl print. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Gibson Gallery

Artist Talk
Susan Dobson: Slide | Lecture

Presented by the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC)
Online via Zoom
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
7 pm ET

Join Susan Dobson for a talk on her work presented in conjunction with her exhibition Slide | Lecture, currently on display at the Ryerson Image Centre. Dobson will discuss a series of photographs featuring aspects of the now defunct university slide collections at Ryerson University and the University of Guelph, both collections that she used as an educator. Her exhibition forefronts the material qualities of slides and their ephemera, and also invites attendees to consider how university curricula have changed since slides were last in use. What can image-makers and educators learn when viewing these obsolete collections and the established canons they represent through a diverse and inclusionary lens?

Susan Dobson is a lens-based artist who is interested in the ontological, technological, and material qualities of photography. She has produced photographs and installations for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Fotoseptiembre in Mexico City, Images Festival in Vevey (Switzerland), Festival international de la photographie actuelle Bitume-Bitumen in Brussels (Belgium), and Fotonoviembre in Tenerife (Spain). Her work can be found in numerous institutional collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. Susan Dobson is a professor in the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph. Her work is represented by Michael Gibson Gallery.


Susan Dobson: Slide | Lecture (installation view), 2021 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre


Scotiabank Photography Award: Dana Claxton
September 15–December 4, 2021

Drawing from Indigenous history, contemporary culture, and spirituality, this exhibition celebrates the career of Vancouver-based artist Dana Claxton, winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Photography Award. A Hunkpapa Lakota photographer and filmmaker, Claxton examines stereotypes and representations of Indigenous peoples in popular culture. This selection of artworks confronts issues of colonialist appropriation and commodification through an wide-ranging exploration of the artist’s family and community in the Great Plains, Saskatchewan.

Susan Dobson: Slide | Lecture
September 15–December 4, 2021

In Slide | Lecture, Guelph-based photographer Susan Dobson reconsiders the materiality, physicality, and meaning of abandoned university slide libraries. Her precisely composed images of these outdated photographic transparencies, originally made to be projected in art history lectures, expose the canonical biases of traditional visual culture—dominated by Western male artists, while marginalizing or excluding art by those outside the establishment. Slide | Lecture gleans revelations about outdated views from these obsolete materials, hinting a way forward toward more diverse and inclusive representations.

Emmanuelle LĂ©onard: Deployment
September 15–December 4, 2021

Montreal-based artist Emmanuelle Léonard captured the complex realities of Canada’s strategic military imperatives in the Far North during a 2018 residency. Deployment, a two-channel video accompanied by photographic portraits, focuses on the passage of time experienced by soldiers posted to the Canadian Arctic, showing everyday moments against an infinite backdrop of snow and northern night—a place where the climate crisis has intensified the national, political, and economic stakes.


Hal Wilsdon, Self Defence, 2019, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist

Hal Wilsdon: I would die for Johnny Knoxville and I would shoot Chris Burden
November 3–December 4, 2021

In her photographic series I would die for Johnny Knoxville and I would shoot Chris Burden, Hal Wilsdon performs physical feats for the camera, from riding a pogo stick blindfolded to releasing a fire extinguisher on her face. With equal parts irreverence and homage, her photographs are inspired by the 1970s performance works of Chris Burden (who famously had himself shot) and the ridiculous stunts performed by actor Johnny Knoxville in his reality TV show Jackass. In this series of self-portraits, Wilsdon questions the gaze with which viewers consume and are fascinated by the physical danger inherent in such acts.


Artist and Curator in Conversation: Emmanuelle LĂ©onard with Louise DĂ©ry
Wednesday, November 10, 7 pm

Noon Time Collection Talk: Edward Burtynsky
Thursday, November 18, 12 pm

Tanenbaum Lecture: Wendy Ewald
Presented with the Stephen Bulger Gallery
November 19, 7 pm

Please visit for full details.

Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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Wednesday: 12–6 pm
Thursday: 12–6 pm
Friday: 12–6 pm
Saturday: 12–6 pm
Sunday: Closed

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Media Contact
Feven Tesfamariam, Ryerson Image Centre, / T+416-560-5306