Selling Venus / VÉnus au miroir

Dominique Rey

Throughout her practice, Winnipeg-based artist Dominique Rey has been focused on issues surrounding female identity and sexuality. She is particularly fascinated with the moment a woman’s gaze is self-directed even as she prepares herself for the scrutiny of others. By exploring this process of self-reflective looking, Rey reverses, displaces and creates the gaze anew.

Selling Venus / Vénus au miroir presents a portrait of exotic dancers, and of the artist herself taking on the role of a stripper, at the Crazy Horse dance club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. From the intimacy of their dressing room, Rey documents the performative process of self-transformation into "working women". She uncovers illusions and stereotypes about a subculture of women in extreme feminine roles and in doing so reopens the debate on the exploitation of women in oppressive environments. A video installation in the exhibition further extends the duality between the private person and the public mask, bringing into play notions of physical beauty, narcissism, and the passage to self-acceptance.

This exhibition is organized by Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, with the financial assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Winnipeg Arts Council.