In this series ‘The Observer’, Kye Marshall explores the relationship between the observer and the observed within the context of power relating to race, gender and privilege. The background painted portraits in these photographs of a white man (by Chuck Close) and a white woman (by Gerhard Richter) hang in the Art Gallery of Ontario. The photographs portray women of colour without their clothes observing these portraits. In turn, these two women were observed and photographed by a fully-clothed white woman.
The photographs pose questions rather than giving answers. How does the position of power of observer/artist influence how they portray what they see? How does the vulnerability of the observed, in this case, black women who are naked, influence the observer? How does the viewer of these photographs respond to the defiance of the naked women of colour towards the portraits of a white man and white woman fully -clothed?
Kye Marshall is a composer and experimental cellist who brings to her photography her experience, vision and discipline as a professional musician. Her compositional skills using colour, rhythm, line and form influence her photographs. She plays with elements such as visual figure/ground as they relate to the musical soloist/accompaniment.
Her photographs have been used on the cover of three of her CDs and been chosen for the Yes ArtGala and Show Your Ontario contest. She has photographs in a Magnum Blurb book (2010) and has had solo shows at Axis Gallery and Grill, Fairview Library, Richview Library, The Window Box, Yorkville Library and has exhibited at the Praxis Gallery, Gallery 44, the G+ Galleries, the Tay River Gallery, Gallery1313, the Heliconian Club, Gallery and Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts.