In Reunions, Toronto-based artist Steven Beckly reclaims and recontext-ualizes old photographs of same-sex couples, constructing a new and contemporary album through the queering of past identities, relationships, and histories. Drawn from his collection of studio portraits, vernacular snapshots, and wartime photographs spanning from approximately 1880 to 1980, personal and intimate narratives of friendship, family, and love are re-purposed and re-presented to expand contemporary queer discourse and the politics of representation.
Embedded in Reunions is the subject of the artist’s intermediary roles as archivist, collector, curator, and maker. Operating between these permeable positions, Beckly strategically assembles personally emotional imaginings from his archive and places them in the public space to activate the intersecting lines between private and public. Employing material intervention and image reproduction as methods of appropriation and art-making, Beckly critically engages with the materiality of the photograph and its printed forms. Archival and non-archival media support his prints, perpetuating the contextual tensions and ephemerality of the relationships in Reunions.