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Art School Anatomies

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ABOVE: Dr. Jeanne Randolph in performance at Banff in 2004. Below: Jeanne Randolph in performance as part of the Art School Anatomies Symposium One at the Univeristy of Manitoba School of Art in 2008. Photo credit (below): Mary Alards-Tomalin.

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Biographical: Jeanne Randolph, MD,FRCP(C). For the past twenty-five years Dr. Jeanne Randolph, psychoanalyst, theorist, critic, art writer, and performer, has published consistently and lectured widely in universities and galleries across the country and abroad. Her lectures have evolved into performative events that are better understood as a form of research interpreting art and culture. As a performance artist. Randolph’s presentations (between three and four a year since 1985) are remarkable in and of themselves as extemporaneous soliloquies that illuminate and interpret traditional academic pedagogy. Utilizing lighting and props Randolph enacts criticism as a dynamic psychoanalytic and philosophical contribution to cultural objects.

Jeanne Randolph was the first and only writer in Canada to develop Object Relations psychoanalytic theory as a medium for cultural criticism. Randolph counters the conventional Freudian interpretation of "art-as-neurosis," with an invitation for us to consider the implications of the writings of psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott’s (1896-1971). Her pivotal essay "The Amenable Object," (1983) is required reading in many university art courses. In the 1980s Randolph’s theoretical position on art and contemporary society had been established by major essays such as "Influencing Machines: the relation between art and technology"(catalogue essay for group exhibition curated by Randolph 1984), "Fifty Normal White Men" (Impulse magazine, Toronto, 1987) and "Illusion and the Diverted Subject: a psychoanalysis of art and entertainment," (Parachute, Montreal, 1989). YYZ Books, the publishing arm of the artist-run YYZ Artists’ Outlet gallery (established Toronto 1977) published the first edited collection of Randolph’s critical essays as Psychoanalysis & Synchronized Swimming and other writings on art in 1991. It was extensively reviewed, and within one year it was out of print.

Since 1983 the politics and ethics of writing about art and artists are being explored through Randolph’s practice of ficto-criticism. She has worked with such notable Canadian artists as Joey Morgan, Robin Collyer, Nicole Jolicoeur, Elizabeth MacKenzie, Stan Denniston, Joanne Tod, Fastwurms, Bernie Miller, Ian Carr-Harris and Vera Frenkel, all of whom welcomed an approach to the exhibition catalogue that explores narratives of ambivalence, issues of authorial/authoritative individuality, collegial contemplation of issues specific to each artist’s work and playful absurdity. Ficto-criticism performs an analysis of art criticism itself. Numerous examples of this method of criticism were reprinted in the second YYZ Books publication of Randolph’s collected writings, Symbolization and its Discontents (1997). A third edited collection Why Stoics Box: essays on art and society was published in 2003.

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ABOVE: The cover image from Dr. Jeanne Randolph's recent book Why Stoics Box, a YYZ Books publication.

Click here to download the Das Cabinet des Dr. Jeanne Randolph poster (290K PDF)


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