Located in hallway outside RC 256.15B, Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (Dr. William Riddell Centre, 2nd floor)
Various works from All About Star, a large-scale photographic portrait series of cowgirls and cowboys, 2011
40” x 30”
University of Regina President’s Art Collection
Sheila Spence is a photographer living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her work focuses on portraiture and its many facets; notions of identity, self representation and community. In the past, Spence created works that contained politically-charged messages, such as her Images of West Broadway series, where she displayed photographs of inner city youth. She is also an advocate of the LGBT community. In 1991 she collaborated with artist Graham Asmundson (MB) to create the Homophobia is Killing Us billboard series. She has also worked with the artist collective Average Good Looks, whose works commented on gay and lesbian rights issues.
Within the seven portraits on display in the Riddell Centre, Spence explores concepts associated with identity and community connections specifically within the ranching community. With no restrictions given, other than the dimension of the backdrop, each sitter was free to represent themselves as they desired. Spence observes a uniform presentation, with each sitter posing in similar ways, including the children. These poses are often confident and proud, without betraying a sense of self-consciousness. They appear open and genuine.
Spence states: “The mark of interesting photography is that it gives the viewer a way in, a place to construct your personal narrative. I think that this is particularly true of portraiture. If you can’t find a personal narrative in portraiture then you are just looking at photos of strangers.”