Past Exhibition

The Examination Room

Catriona Grant - 29 April to 10 June 2005

Related Publications

Opening 28 April, 7 to 9pm. All Welcome

Following an exhibition of work by Jo Spence examining the place of the individual within the institution of the family, Belfast Exposed Photography was pleased to show work by Catriona Grant which further interrogates the relationship between public institutions and private experience.

Through large format photographs, Grant bases The Examination Room in what appears to be a disused hospital building. Unclothed female figures occupy redundant, utilitarian interiors. The figures stand and sit with their backs turned to us, with their faces hidden. Although their bodies are exposed and vulnerable, available for examination, we have no way of knowing how they are feeling, whether they are anxious or tired, relaxed or upset. For all that they show these are very private images relating to common individual experience of areas of life often hidden from view. Most people have experienced sitting alone in a treatment room waiting to be seen by a consultant or doctor. The room can often feel oppressive and claustrophobic, with little to distract the mind, as one finds oneself surrounded by slightly menacing-looking medical furniture. There is an inevitable anxiety attached to these situations. It is held that the institution has the power to rid the body of its problem, so the individual must concede to its authority. The process of implicitly trusting and exposing oneself to a stranger is enabled by the impersonal and formal context of the institution.

Grant's work picks up on the subtlety and complexity of the relationship between individual and institution. Using long exposures she blurs the outline of the figure, the boundary between it and its environment, yet the figures remain distinct and self-contained as they turn from the viewer and wait. The individual must be intimately observed by the institution in order for it to perform its function, but they must at the same time feel, and be made to feel, remote from the necessary acts of intrusion. It is a precarious and paradoxical relationship.

Artist's biography

Catriona Grant is an Edinburgh-based artist working with lens-based and digital media to create work for exhibition and installation. She lectures part-time at Edinburgh College of Art. She received her BA (Hons)Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art in 1986 and an MSc Electronic Imaging from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee in 2001.

Recent exhibitions include: Masquerade: Women's Contemporary Portrait Photography, Photofusion, London, UK (2004); Bratislava Month of Photography, (2004); The Examination Room, 511 Gallery, New York, USA (2003) and Frontstore Gallery, Basel, Switzerland (2003). The Examination Room is currently featured in Next Level, Edition 02 Volume 03. She has been the recipient of a number of commissions and residencies including a recent artists' exchange residency in Slovakia, an IAAB residency (International Artists Exchange, Basel, Switzerland, 2003), an EMARE Residency (Werkleitz, Germany, 2001) and a New Media Scotland digital art commission (2001). Her work is held in a number of public and private collections including: The Polaroid International Collection; The National Galleries of Scotland; the Cristoph Merian Foundation, Basel; the MAG Collection, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull.