Level 2, 100 McCaul Street
Toronto, Ontario

The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) Professional Gallery presents Roger Ballen: Boarding House from March 5 to May 31, 2009. This landmark exhibition honours the launch of photographer Roger Ballen’s eighth book, Boarding House (Phaidon).

Arguably his most formally sophisticated works to date, Ballen uses contrasts and shifting planes in the images in Boarding House to multiply meanings and overtones despite tight composition. The fragmented figures and rooms in these film-based monochromes seem both everywhere and nowhere. “It’s difficult to explain this place,” says Ballen, “except that I think it exists in some way or another in most peoples’ minds.” Charles Reeve, Curator of the Professional Gallery, describes the show as “too unsettling to see, yet too gripping to resist.” He adds, “These pictures are today’s surrealism.”

This groundbreaking show aims to expand Canadian viewers’ understanding of this important South African artist by placing key images from his latest book beside other decisive works of his from the past three decades. While Ballen’s pictures from the late 1970s to early 1990s draw from the photo-documentary tradition, they prefigure his interest in formal refinement and psychological complexity, traits that have become central to his art in the last 15 years. The inexplicable, obscure limbs, shadows and forms in Boarding House mark Ballen’s latest evolutionary step.

Gallery hours: Wednesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m.

Added by smulholland on February 9, 2009

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