Memories are fabric of Ryerson gallery show

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By Jackie Houghton

As if the pressure of her first solo gallery show wasn’t enough for Barbara Reimer. A fire made it worse.

An underground fire knocked out power to part of the downtown Jan. 23. Among the blacked-out buildings on Spadina Ave. was the Ryerson Gallery — where Reimer was opening her photography exhibit Memory Quilts.

Reimer, a first-year photography student, seemed collected despite the power outage. It definitely made the day memorable. And memory is what her show is all about.

Memories are woven into the quilts made by Reimer’s grandmother, which are the subject of Reimer’s photos. Reimer, who graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.A. in Studio Arts before coming to Ryerson, says the show focuses on blending the crafts of quilting and photography.

Many of the images are repeated throughout the show, but no two are the same. Reimer used polaroids so she could manipulate the photos.

“Using time zero film also allowed me to actively integrate my craft with that of my grandmother’s,” she said.

The actual works on the walls are colour photocopies of the originals. Like the name of the show, each image is kind of like a memory or a story, Reimer says. “Like a story or a memory, it loses something or changes every time it is told.”

The student-run gallery has been open for a decade and puts on about 10 shows a year according to Katia Taylor, the gallery co-ordinator and second-year photography student. Each show runs for about a month.

The gallery usually features the work of photography students, but only because most students in other programs are unaware that it exists. There have been a few new media exhibits and Taylor says they are trying to encourage more new media students to submit show proposals to the gallery. “It’s a good space that can be used for video and other types of shows too,” she says.

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