Our Studio Sunday feature this week is Ian Wallace. Wallace is a Canadian photographer and painter who is known for combining the two disciplines into uniquely conceptual works. One of the artist’s better-known projects is his series of works titled “In the Studio,” which present a unique view of his personal work space.
Wallace is somewhat known for creating his own brand of institutional critique, and his studio artworks are a really interesting example of this. The central focal point is, obviously, a photo of the artist’s studio space. From the photograph, Wallace’s studio looks incredibly neat and clean – the white walls and white monochromatic paintings (which seem to reference white paintings by Robert Rauschenburg) form a parallel with the monochrome panels attached to the artworks themselves.
This is a very unusual way to get to view an artist’s studio space – ordinarily when we see an artist’s studio it’s through the eyes of a visitor like a journalist or a curator. These people would have their own biases, but we can generally assume that they’re showing us the artist’s studio as it actually is.
However, with Wallace’s studio photographs, the question is whether the artist is truly showing us his studio, unedited, or whether these images present an idealized, curated version of the studio space.
The fact that the paintings within the photograph so deliberately parallel the paintings on the artwork seems to suggest that this image of Wallace’s studio is constructed, though the unrelated artwork on the floor also suggests an element of honesty. It’s up to the viewer to decide.
Fictional or not, however, Ian Wallace’s studio space looks enviably neat and tidy, and the artist himself seems to be hard at work, immersed in his artwork and ignoring the viewer who is looking in on him.