The purple square represents the relative size of the portrait to a 2 metre x 2 metre maximum size allowed.
Home: Surrey, British Columbia
Title: Looking Glass
Media: oil on board
Dimensions: 52 x 73 cm
This painting, titled Looking Glass, is a painting of my mother completed from life in my childhood kitchen, showcasing the random assortment of glasses in circulation throughout my lifetime. The idea for this work came from a desire to create a distorted translation of the conventions behind Velázquez’s “The Rokeby Venus” and challenge his use of the Venus effect (the mirror in the painting shows an impossible perspective to reveal the face of the subject) into a reality that I found more relatable while also communicating new meaning. I chose to substitute the iconic goddess with the very familiar figure of my mother. Instead of reclining, she is seated upright. I traded mirror glass for drinking glasses that, in part, distort and obscure. She is clothed rather than nude. The distortions are visible in my painting are the distortions I observed reflecting in the glass itself, and are not to idealize the figure or to make the mirror reflection more visible as in “The Rokeby Venus”. Creating the painting came to be a meditation on the complexity of identity and the passage of time, the way our lives are built around objects that are transient parts of our lives and seeing our identities and ephemeral existence mirrored back to us in them.
Cara Guri is a visual artist and painter exploring new possibilities in contemporary portraiture. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University and has completed a painting residency at Columbia University. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Takao Tanabe Scholarship, the Brissenden Scholarship, and the Bishop’s Undergraduate Prize in Fine Arts. Her work is exhibited in Canada and New York, NY. Recent exhibitions include The Reach Gallery Museum, Burrard Arts Foundation, and The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie. She has also completed artist residencies with hcma, Burrard Arts, The City of Abbotsford, North Vancouver Recreation and Culture and was an artist with Vancouver Mural Festival. She currently lives and works in Surrey, BC. Cara explores the relationship between identity construction and portraiture in her current painting practice. Her works examine the transactional nature of portraiture: the information that is given to the viewer and that which is withheld. Through her paintings, she re-examines conventions and symbols that are found in historical portraiture by translating them into her current reality in a way that disrupts their original meaning and intent.