Latent: The Unseen Female Artists of University of Victoria’s Art Collection

Latent: The Unseen Female Artists of University of Victoria’s Art Collection

Currently on display at the Legacy Art Gallery in Victoria is the exhibition ‘Latent’, a thought-provoking curation by Carolyn Butler Palmer featuring artist Lynda Gammon. The exhibit focuses on bringing overlooked female artists from the University of Victoria’s art collection into the limelight. Showcasing two unique forms of art, the exhibition offers a fresh perspective on the often-underappreciated work of these women.

A Diverse Display

The exhibition is split into two distinct segments. The first segment features time-exposure photographs by Gammon, capturing her observations of female artists’ works stored in UVic’s vaults. The second segment comprises large photographic assemblage works resembling collages, creating an immersive sensation of being within the vault itself. The artists featured in this exhibition include Katherine Maltwood, Stella Longdale, Molly Privett, Lena Jumbo, Elza Mayhew, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Yeend Duer.

Challenges and Criticisms

The curation process presented its own set of challenges, particularly in gender identification based on naming conventions. Criticisms have also been leveled against the exhibition for its lack of diversity, most notably for the absence of transgender women artists and the predominance of white women artists. The University of Victoria, it’s worth noting, houses the world’s largest Transgender Archive, which includes works by trans women artists such as Aiyyana Maracle. Yet, their works remain conspicuously absent from the ‘Latent’ exhibition.

A Unique Platform

Regardless of these criticisms, the exhibition has been broadly recognized as a unique presentation of underrepresented women artists. By offering a rare glimpse inside the vaults where the artwork is stored, the exhibition brings to the fore work that often remains hidden from public view. ‘Latent’ remains open until April 6, with visiting hours from Thursday to Saturday.

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