The subject matters I explore in my practice focus on individuals and groups of people on the periphery of dominant culture. I enter their contexts to work from a position of inclusion that approaches, as closely as possible, the residing dynamics of social and psychological forces. I immerse myself in the world I am using as material, whether that means living with exotic dancers in South Carolina for the series Selling Venus/Vénus au miroir, or creating a project on a disappearing order of nuns that has taken me to Brazil, Argentina, and France.
My fascination with the representation of the other, the marginal figure, plunges inward in my newest works to explore the unconscious other within. In the Erlking photographs and video, I transform my physical self using a wide array of props and materials to explore and confront the other within. The name Erlking is derived from the German fable of a malevolent creature that awaits the unsuspecting traveller in the depths of the wilderness, calling him to his fate. In these performances and collages, the Erlking is a manifestation of the self as other, whose beguiling power pulls us inextricably in. Images of these performances have become the foundation for the collage works Strangers to Ourselves where figurative forms are deconstructed to further extremes. My studio work at the Luminous Bodies art residency will aim to further expand and unpack this exploration of the split of the self and the other using the landscape of the island to inspire new works.
The central query in my recent work is a speculation on the possibility of dislodging the split of the self and the other. In her book “Strangers to Ourselves,” Julia Kristeva examines the outsider within society, as well as a deep sense of being we all have of being strangers to ourselves. I believe the stranger we perceive in the world is a reflection of the depths within the self that are beyond our reach. During Luminous Bodies, I will pursue the creation and performance of personas first explored in the Erlking project. These new performative works will be enacted in a direct and improvisational manner, allowing the environment and the materials at hand to inform my process, and will be recorded using photography and video.
The second phase of my residency will be to transform the images from the performances into collages. Using this medium, I am interested in pushing the figurative elements into greater fantastical and hybrid forms. This process will remain fluid by not fixing the collage to paper, which will allow me to play with shifting compositions. The multiple iterations of the collages will be documented throughout.
During this time of focus and contemplation, I hope to mine the various currents that flow through my practice and delve deeper into extreme expressions of selfhood as both a strategy for celebrating alterity and as a metaphor of the vast continuum of potentialities that exist within each of us.
Dominique Rey is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, video, painting, performance, and installation whose work has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Province of Manitoba, Wedge Collection, and international private collections. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and in the United States, Germany, and Slovakia, and was recently featured in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). Awards and grants include the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, and La Fondation Ricard. Her work has been reviewed in the Globe & Mail, Border Crossings, Frieze, Canadian Art, Flare, and the Winnipeg Free Press, among others. She holds an MFA in Photography from Bard College (NY) and an MFA in New Media from the Transart Institute (Berlin).