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Queer Portraits by JJ Levine

Feature Exhibition, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

About the exhibition
This exhibition of Queer Portraits will showcase a cohesive series of images from the past two years of JJ Levine’s art practice, with a strong focus on their most recent works. Queer Portraits is an ongoing series of lush colour photographs of Levine’s community in Montreal. This project captures the complex emotional relationships that they have with their friends, lovers, and siblings. Levine’s work explores issues surrounding gender, sexuality, and queer space. Each portrait is taken in a different domestic setting, characterized by saturated colours and often discursive backgrounds. Using professional lighting and a medium format film camera, Levine creates a studio within each home environment.  These settings are intended to raise questions regarding private queer space as a realm for the development of community and the expression of genders and sexualities that are often marginalized within the public sphere.

Queer Portraits explores the relationship between photographer and subject. Levine’s work exposes the strong element of trust that exists between themself and their friends who appear in each photograph. Through these portraits of queer and trans people in Levine’s community, Levine explores their own identity as a genderqueer artist. This work expresses fierceness, beauty, and resistance through the confrontational gaze of the subjects and the aesthetic of their queer culture.

Artist Bio
JJ Levine is a Montreal-based artist who works in intimate portraiture. Levine received a BFA in Photography and Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality from Concordia University. Their photography explores issues surrounding gender, sexuality, self-identity, and queer space. Levine’s work has been exhibited at artist-run centres, commercial galleries, art festivals, and academic conferences across Canada, the United States, and Europe. As well, Levine has guest lectured for several university courses and has been featured in Gender Studies journals and art photography magazines internationally. Levine’s artistic practice balances a political agenda with a strong formal aesthetic.