Sandra Semchuk

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Sandra Semchuck
Born1948
NationalityCanadian
EducationBachelor of Fine Arts, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, 1970 Masters Degree in Photography, University of New Mexico, 1983
Known forPhotography,

Sandra Semchuk (born 1948) is a Canadian photographic artist.[1]

In 1998, Presentation House, Vancouver, B.C. programmed "How Far Back is Home ..." a 25-year retrospective of Semchuk's career highlighting her relationship to identity, morality and land.[2]

Sandra was awarded a grant from 2008-2015 from the Canada First World War Internment Fund to complete her book on Ukrainians in Canada, The Stories Were Not Told: Stories and Photographs from Canada's First Internment Camps, 1914-1920.[3]

Career[edit]

Semchuk’s early photographic works have been said to belong to a “broad general category of documentary”.[4] Her photographic portrait works from this era, more specifically her 1982 series of eighty-seven photographs entitled Excerpts from a Diary, address themes of death and family [5] whilst presenting a narrative of “self-examination and transformation” through her use of self-portraits and images containing domestic and prairie backgrounds.[6]

Penny Cousineau-Levine, the author of Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination, writes of Excerpts from a Diary that the journey of Semchuk’s protagonist “follows the structure of classic initiatory voyages of descent and return, death and rebirth, the prototype of which is the Greek legend … of Orpheus, who, grief-stricken at the death of his wife, descends to the underworld to convince the god Pluto to allow her to return to earth.” [7] Cousineau-Levine goes on to state that these photographic sequences “take the shape of heroic descent into darkness and peril, into an experience of death and nothingness followed by rebirth, a transformed relation to the self, and a renewed connection to life”, something that she claims offers “an understanding of death that is particularly relevant to Canadian photography.” [7]

Collaboration with James Nicholas[edit]

James Nicholas & Sandra Semchuk were married until James died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2007. James was a Cree artist from Nelson House, Manitoba. He suffered extensively in residential schools as a child.[8] Their collaborative work focused on the multiplicity of relationships to land, cultural geography, settler and indigenous relationships and memory.[9]

Collaboration with Skeena Reece[edit]

In 2013, Sandra Semchuk worked with performance artist Skeena Reece on a piece titled Touch Me for the exhibition Witnesses: Art and Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. During this performance, Reece and Semchuk struggle with themes of forgiveness and mother-daughter relationships as Reece bathes Semchuk. [10]

Education[edit]

Select solo exhibitions[12][edit]

  • 2016 The Stories Were Not Told, Comox Valley Art Gallery, Courtenay, BC
  • 1998 How Far Back is Home . . . ., Presentation House, Vancouver, B.C.
  • 1991 Coming to Death's Door, a daughter/ father collaboration, Presentation House, Vancouver, B.C.
  • 1991 Moving Parallel: Reconstructed Performances from Daily Life, Photographers Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Prince George Art Gallery, Prince George, British Columbia; University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario; Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario; Art, Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario; McKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan; Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, Alberta; Floating Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Gallery 44, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1990 Paralleling the Bird, Forest City Gallery, London, Ontario; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 1986 Ritual, the Photographic Sequence, Forest City Gallery, London, Ontario
  • 1986 The Coburg Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 1982 Excerpts from a Diary, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 1979 The Photographers Gallery, London, England
  • 1975 The Photographers Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 1973 The Photographers Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Awards[edit]

Collections[11][edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Semchuk, Sandra, and Laurel Tien. "Telling Story! Voice in Photography: An Online Visual Art Critical Studies Program Evaluation." International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 5.3 (2004): n. pag.ProQuest Education Journals [ProQuest]. Web. 17 Sept. 2016.
  • Semchuk, Sandra. Toward Real Change: My Photographic Work Done in Saskatchewan from 1972-1982 and in New Mexico from 1982-1983. Diss. U of New Mexico, 1983. Albuquerque, New Mexico: U of New Mexico, 1983. Simon Fraser University Library Catalogue. Web. 17 Sept. 2016.
  • Semchuk, Sandra. 1991. Coming to Death's Door: A Daughter/Father Collaboration. North Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery, 1992. Print.
  • Semchuk, Sandra. 1989. Moving Parallel: Reconstructed Performances from Daily Life. Toronto: Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, 1989. Print.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artist.php?iartistid=24295
  2. ^ "Sandra Semchuk: How far back is home… - Presentation House Gallery".
  3. ^ "Grants - Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund - 202-952 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2W 3P4 - Phone: 204-589-4282 - Toll Free: 1-866-288-7931".
  4. ^ Cousineau-Levine, Penny. Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2003.DèsLibris Canadian Electronic Library. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1 June 2004. Web. 17 Sept. 2016. p. 65
  5. ^ Cousineau-Levine, Penny. Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2003.DèsLibris Canadian Electronic Library. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1 June 2004. Web. 17 Sept. 2016. p.218
  6. ^ Cousineau-Levine, Penny. Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2003.DèsLibris Canadian Electronic Library. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1 June 2004. Web. 17 Sept. 2016. p. 220
  7. ^ a b Cousineau-Levine, Penny. Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2003.DèsLibris Canadian Electronic Library. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1 June 2004. Web. 17 Sept. 2016. p.223
  8. ^ missnesbitt (22 December 2014). "Residential school trauma and healing: the art of James Nicholas & Sandra Semchuk".
  9. ^ Kunard, Andrea, and Carol Payne. The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2011. Print.
  10. ^ Dowell, Kristin (Spring 2017). ""Residential Schools and "Reconciliation" in the Media Art of Skeena Reece and Lisa Jackson"". Studies in American Indian Literatures. 29: 116–138.
  11. ^ a b c d Semchuk, Sandra. Coming to Death's Door: A Daughter/father Collaboration: October 19 to November 24, 1991, Presentation House Gallery. North Vancouver, BC: Gallery, 1992. Print.
  12. ^ "Sandra Semchuk".