Dara Vandor (b. 1986) is a Canadian visual artist working in various media, including drawings, photography, and installation.
Her work is held in public and private collections in Europe and North America, including TD Bank's Corporate Collection. Vandor has exhibited in London, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto and Montreal.
ABOUT MY WORK:
I think a lot about making pictures during a moment when there are too many pictures.
There are too many images. From the churn of social media to the deluge of ads, we are overwhelmed by pictures… and yet we are continually seduced. As an image-maker, that fascinates me.
In my early career, I tackled this idea through technique. I made hyper-realistic pen drawings of fabric and lingerie. I thought that complexity might cause the viewer to stop and look at an image a little longer. The subject matter was chosen to produce a little frisson— do we not find ourselves staring more intently at that which is “forbidden,” knowing it is often fleeting?
After years of drawing, I became frustrated, though I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was the explosion of other artists also making hyper-realistic drawings, posting their work online at a speed I couldn’t match. Making drawings had become just another endless feed. All of a sudden, I couldn’t make any more. Having chased technical perfection for so long, I didn’t have the vocabulary to pivot to something else. So I went dormant artistically, and spent a year or two sulking.
Stepping away from one’s practice is scary, and no one talks about it much. Artists’ careers are presented like corporate jobs, as linear as a LinkedIn profile. But stepping away gave me time to consume rather than produce. I began rethinking which sort of images can subvert the high-speed, ultra-designed contemporary visual environment.
I set out to block the restless gaze. This led to two series, “The Lottery in Babylon” and “A Million in Prizes.” Both use the scratch-off material you’d find on a lottery ticket, layered on top of photographs. The works present the viewer with a choice: to see or not to see? My hope is that the owners of these works leave them unscratched - but that’s not my choice. All the agency in the works is theirs. “The Lottery in Babylon” took the scratch-off medium to its extreme: total denial of the gaze with no figurative hints, while “A Million in Prizes” works within the tradition of the female nude.
My most recent piece, “Search Portrait,” is a self-portrait, minus the portrait. At the same time, it’s far more revealing than any painting or photograph of a figure. The work consists of a split-flap board that displays my Google searches in real time. Everything I search is posted to the board for the duration of my life.