Dominique Rey is distinguishing herself as one of Canada’s exceptional young photo-based artists. Her work has been a progressive and thoughtful exploration of issues surrounding female identity and sexuality. With this project, she delves into the difﬁcult lives of women living in a controversial netherworld. Selling Venus/Vénus au miroir presents portraits of exotic dancers, and of the artist herself, at the Crazy Horse dance club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. What she reveals is the strengths and weaknesses in their characters, the control and lack of control they have over their lives — through the capture of compelling images. Placed within the broader contextual framework of feminist-based art, Rey’s quietly erotic images strike at the core of human dignity. The work roughly divides into the public sphere (large scale portrait banners of women staring past the viewer), the private (a hall of mirrors where the women contemplate their own image), and the intimate (video installation creating a conceptual dressing room where viewers unwittingly confront themselves in the reﬂective glass while the women speak). As the bilingual title implies, Selling Venus/Vénus au miroir traces the journey between these dynamically charged spaces and the duality between the public mask and the private persona. Rey’s photographic interrogation is open-ended, honest, and strong, providing multiple access points for interaction and critical dialogue.
The contributors to this publication have written provocative texts that both illuminate and question Dominique Rey’s multifaceted and insightful work:
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