No. 15, 1981
57.2 x 47.7 cm.
Courtesy the artist
Share Corsaut began her career as a painter, but the vibrant hues and brisk, gestural strokes in No. 15 derive from a different medium: light. An underrecognised innovator in camera-less photography, Corsaut gained access to the large-format Polaroid studios at MIT in 1981, then the only such facility in North America. Here, she pushed the boundaries of darkroom processes, producing a breathtaking series of unique Polaroid photograms. This was a fruitful time for experimentation in Canadian art; Corsaut’s works first garnered praise in a solo show in 1981 at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge and then in Vancouver: Art and Artists 1931-1983 (1983) at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Titled in the blunt, numerical style of a late Rothko painting, No.15 flirts with high modernism: the sensuous blurs evoke abstract movement. Modernists often espoused “the autonomy of the artwork”; likewise, Corsaut’s Polaroid film seems to capture a raw, passing encounter between ambiguous forms – interplays of crimson and azure, free from intent or intervention. Nevertheless, the artist’s technique is discernable, deftly moulding trajectories of light into crisp, geometric transections reminiscent of Russian constructivism.
Share Corsaut (b. 1947, Detroit, MI) approaches questions of naturalism and photographic technology through camera-less photography. A daring, and until recently relatively unknown pioneer of experimental photography, Corsaut graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in the 1970s. Influenced by the avant-garde photography of Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy, she began producing black and white photograms in the late 1970s. She showed locally at the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery and Coburg Gallery in the 1980s. Her work was recently featured in the Presentation House Gallery exhibition C.1983 in 2012 and was included in Past Picture: Photography and the Chemistry of Intention, an exhibition featuring works from the National Gallery of Canada Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto last year.