Unremarkable black-and-white bird photography, puzzling images of a jockey and a video camera, an encased centipede and a wooden horse fence that looks a lot like an elaborate sex toy; the scene at Keep Your Eyes On Your Prizes is cryptic and coy. This is artist Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes’ first Montreal solo show at converted horse stable Calaboose Gallery. Using the genre of sport and nature photography as a jumping point, Holmes critiques the power dynamic between human and animal, artist and subject.
In Why Look at Animals, John Berger writes, “Animals are always the observed. The fact that they can observe us has lost all significance. They are the objects of our ever-extending knowledge. What we know about them is an index of our power.” Working at the Hastings Racecourse last season, Holmes encountered this theme while photographing the 1st place racehorses. Her photographs would later be purchased by the owner of the winning animal. In her exhibition, Holmes removes the animal, focusing instead on the jockey and the actual video camera used to film the win. The muscular, intimidating wooden fence, made with her partner Nick Short, is adorned with fleshy, pink sculptures and BSDM-esque chains. Perhaps another nod to existing power plays. Keep Your Eyes On Your Prizes was open at Calaboose August 29th-September 29th. -Claire Milbrath
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