For his Summer Show at The Florence Trust aptly entitled “Consent,” the artist Marcus Boyle presents a series of thirty-six 5x7” photographic prints. The images typically document a group of people engaged in various odd scenarios or compromising poses while aided by an assortment of found or store-bought “props,” such as a feather duster, rubber gloves, duct tape, or even a pig carcass or a baboon. The various ways in which the props are used can in turn evoke humour and the absurd, or even torture and the perverse, capable for example of tricking the mind into believing they are fetish objects or instruments of torment.
Boyle’s paying participants are seen taking part in what the artist terms “experiential phototherapy workshops,” in which they, the artist included, “co-create” work that represents and acts out deep fears and obsessions. Some but not all of Boyle’s participants come from troubled backgrounds: a rough sleeper, a relapsed drug user, a recidivist gang member, an alcoholic, or vulnerable people otherwise coping with mental health issues. However, it's never clear who’s who; indeed, everyone looks "normal," and that's the point, we're all struggling with issues in life.
Boyle's work challenges the accepted role and involvement of the photographer in the pursuit of absolute truth, testing the ethics of exploitation and consent, and implicating the viewer in the voyeuristic act. Boyle’s work toys with the fine line between compassion and deception, at times brazenly crisscrossing it in order to prod at the tensions built up between our mercurial human drives and the manicured "selves" we present to the world, possessed by the redemptive power of catharsis. - Curator Tyler Woolcott
Work No. 45 Co-created by ©Boyle, Cattrall, Romans
Work No. 46 Co-created by ©Boyle, Byrne, Hernandez, Starzynska
Work No. 24 Co-created by ©Boyle, Romans, Savona
Work No. 60 Co-created by ©Boyle, Smith