the opening

Thursday’s opening of my and Sophie’s show was really great. We had a great turnout, a number of derby girls showed up, and I didn’t make an ass of myself talking about my work.

Em Pale, me, Leigh-zzie Borden and Inna’Goddesss Da-Vida – and the top of my son’s head

The curator, Phil Irish, did a sort of interview format for the artist talks, which made it really easy for me, and I suspect more engaging for the audience. I just had to answer his questions. Once upon a time, I hated talking about my work. Although I make my living with words, there’s a reason I make images; there’s something I’m trying to express that I can’t find the words for. I discovered on Thursday that now I really like talking about my work. Partly it’s experience: I have a better understanding of my own work and what’s going on in it. But it’s also partly practice. My process for this project is that I first meet the derby girl in her home. I scope out the space and light and get to know her a bit. I also tell her all about my project, why I started, what I’m hoping to do with it, things that I’m thinking about. It’s interesting because I’m coming up on a year since I started the project, and my thinking has changed and deepened over the course of the experience. I’m really starting to get the value of working on a project long-term. Your thinking changes and refines but you still have the early pictures, which may or may not fit with your later thinking.

me talking

me talking

(I just got my hair shorn off a coupla weeks ago, and my son mostly clung to my leg while I talked. I think he was kinda proud of me. Have I mentioned I’m pregnant? I think the belly has become quite unmistakable.)

As well, both Sophie’s work and mine look pretty great on the wall, if I do say so myself. It’s so interesting that we’ve pursued our projects completely independently, but putting the work in the same room really creates a dialogue.

I didn’t really take enough pictures. I’ll have to go back and get proper installation shots another time. But the show is up until May 1 if you want to spend a bit of time in the charming village of Elora.


gratuitous kid shot

I also have to say my son was AWESOME. We stayed until 10 pm and he behaved well the whole time. Even though for the last hour he kept asking me when we could go home, and I kept telling him, soon. Finally he says, “When’s soon going to be over?!” But no meltdowns.

details about my show

So… See you tomorrow night?

Hard Knocks
Sophie Hogan and Kate Wilhelm

March 24 – May 1, 2011
Opening Reception – Thursday March 24, at 7:30 pm
Minarovich Gallery – Elora Centre for the Arts
Curated by Phil Irish

People are not always what they seem – and their true identities are often the reward of struggle, belonging, and even aggression.  These two photographers, Sophie Hogan and Kate Wilhelm, have each developed an interest in a subculture and, by seeking connection there, have found compelling relationships and insights about the struggles and strength of identity.

Teenagers develop the art of keeping parts of their lives secret, yet they are strikingly candid when Sophie Hogan is working her camera.  Her series Night Shots is an investigation into the sociology of teen culture, including the emotionally turbulent terrain of friendships and exclusions, love and crushes, lust and loss and “the raw energy of uncertainty of being young.”  These works are created with the co-operation, perhaps even collaboration, of a circle of teens who have accommodated Hogan into their hidden lives.  These images are not documentary in tone, but employ lighting and gesture to narrative effect, immersing us in the nocturnal emotions of adolescence.

Kate Wilhelm is hooked on roller derby, in part because it “throws the received, cultural notions of femininity in your face.”  The Derby Girls adopt performance names and wardrobes, building alternate identities as they engage in one of the few contact sports available to women.  Wilhelm’s striking portraits of Derby Girls don’t place them in the aggression of a bout, but in their private domestic spaces.  The incongruity of setting a Derby Girl persona in a quiet moment, or with family members, or nursing a baby, calls our stereotypes into question.  While these formally posed images may seem like a “scientific” catalogue of a social type, Wilhelm’s eye for suggestive detail provides a unique set of clues and questions within each portrait.  We puzzle through the clues in search of the Derby Girl’s complex identity, finding an unconventional freedom and strength in the lives these women have constructed.

Sophie Hogan studied Photographic Arts at Ryerson.  Her practice as a portrait photographer extends into conceptually rich series, including the exhibition and book My Elora: The Grace of Belonging.  The recipient of a Canada Council Grant, she also won first prize at the Insights exhibition last year.  Her work will be featured at the Gladstone Hotel again for Contact 2011 (Toronto) in May.

Kate Wilhelm holds a B.A. from the University of Guelph.  Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally, including Mother/mother-* (New York), and New Normal (Colorado). Oshawa’s public gallery, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, will feature her work in 2012.  Wilhelm was born in 1976 and lives in Guelph, Ontario with her husband and son.

Media Contact: Arlene Saunders. 519.846.9698

Minarovich Gallery, Elora Centre for the Arts
75 Melville Street, Elora Ontario N0B 1S0
T: 519.846.9698
media contact: Arlene Saunders

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday-Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Weekends 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm


I’m having a show!

If you’re in the area, come to the Elora Centre for the Arts on March 24 for the opening.

It’s been a while since I posted new derby girl images. Here are some recent shots.

Ginger Slaughters with her family and in her room.


Here’s Freudian Whip


And Cherry Paincakes