Exhibitions and Events
Annie Get Your Gun
Lynne MarshMay 19th to June 16th, 1995
X Press Article
Gone hunting for the iconology of firearms
by Kirk Finken of X Press: Ottawa ' 94
When a woman poses for the camera while holding a gun, what goes through her mind? And what power does the image hold? Lynne Marsh brings these questions to light, gives them a studio frame, and clicks the shutter. With eight life-size color prints, Marsh provides us with a fascinating analysis of gesture, symbol, and culture.
Marsh handled a gun for the first time last year while pheasant hunting with a group of men. When presented with photos of the hunting party, she was struck by her image, " as powerful as those of the men, yet foreign." She then invited some women friends to take part in her photographic experiment, allowing them to dress and pose with the guns as they pleased.
The result is a complex dialogue which is as much iconoloy of firearms as it is iconography of female personae. In the faces of the subjects we read personal malaise, cultural self-hatred, and urges to be violent. One woman's pose reads defiance and anger, her eyes and facial tension telling of a difficuly life. With the handgun tucked in her waistband, there is fantasy to fulfill her anger. Another feels discomfort holding the gun at her side, her eyes tell us she is disinterested and disdainful of the object of violence. In this sense the props force a projection of ego that wouldn't occur without.
" Foreign" or inappropriate, is the idea that stays with us after leaving the photos. Juxtaposed are objects signifying destruction with humans who embody creation. The guns become our cultural absurdity, not because they're used for pheasant hunting, but because they are designed and used for killing other humans.