May 31, 2020

Julie Ganas on Dominique Blain

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SMoCA staff members each chose an artwork from our collection exhibition Unapologetic: All Women, All Year to highlight. Curator of Programming, Julie Ganas, selected Dominique Blain’s work Untitled (1993) to focus on and had this to say about her work:

“This piece has always resonated with me because of its powerful simplicity. With just three similarly shaped objects, Blain addresses the power structures that surround us and confronts the imbalance of these structures. This idea of the imbalance of power structures is especially relevant right now, so this artwork is quite timely even though it was created in the 1990s.”

About Dominique Blain

Since the 1980s, mixed-media artist Dominique Blain has been presenting photographs, videos, installations, sculptures, and site-specific projects, through which she addresses the seemingly unending history of war, exploitation, and imperialism. “People often ask why I, a white North American woman from Montreal, get involved when I have no experience of war,” she says. “The question surprises me, because I’m in a position to take a stand. […] I try to do visual work with the simplest of forms, so it’s accessible to everyone.” Blain works largely with archival photographs and objects, which she combines and alters with striking directness. The many forms of human exploitation recur throughout her work. In Blue Ballgown (2000), she presents a ball gown made out of layers of dirt-stained overalls, reminding viewers that antebellum luxury was founded on the backs of enslaved human beings.