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Tall Tale

Tall Tale presents works by Christopher Boyne and Lena Oehmsen centred around the passing on, sharing and telling of stories.

The artists are inspired by folklore, familial narratives, memory and internet archives to reconstruct stories through artistic interventions. By replicating stories from the past, or adopting ones from others, the projects relate how personal experiences and received narratives are imbued with fantasy.

Although the references for their narratives come from very different places— Boyne, ruminating on his relationship to the Maritimes and Oehmsen exploring America from her point of view as a European—both artists share commonalities in their ways of working by using the analogue methods of model making, and traditional photographic processes to represent past and possible events.

Boyne’s two maritime works involve toy model boats hand-crafted by the artist and documented “sailing” in waters close to his childhood home in Nova Scotia. boutilier marine is a re-creation of a boatyard; each model boat represents a boat from Boyne’s past, none of which are known to him today. Some were his own—the Green Hornet and the Ernie B—while others he sailed on, heard stories about and or saw in the water near his house. black nance portrays a fantastical boat loosely based on a boat of historical significance, the first Tancook Schooner by Amos Stevens. Though meticulously crafted, the sheer scale of the ocean renders Boyne’s models in scenes that appear to be at once believable and impossible. Thus the boats serve as emblems of the impossibility of fully rendering both his memories and the maritime folklore that fascinated him as a child.

Choosing three of America’s most iconic cities in her project SF> LA> NY (a road trip in 72 images), Oehmsen produces a fictitious road trip through text taken from status updates from social networks. Presented as a slideshow, Oehmsen’s documentation of a fabricated experience attempts to replicate the style of family slideshows from the 70‘s. Staying true to this outdated format, Oehmsen purposefully includes common ‘mistakes’—slides that are out-of-focus, upside down, and under- or over-exposed. Void of imagery, the work forces obervers to recall images that we all collectively have in our minds, whether we have physically visited these places or not. The resulting project presents a convincing story and the many layers of untruths raise questions about the commonplace in which travel is communicated today.

Curated by Sabrina Maltese

Christopher Boyne website
Lena Oehmsen website
Ryerson Artspace Website
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