Gisele Amantea The King v. Picariello and Lassandro (detail) 2002, photograph and drawing. Photo: Courtesy of the Glenbow Museum NA3282-2
In this exhibition of new work, Montreal artist Gisele Amantea explores how historical narratives are very much dependent upon subjective impressions, assumptions and even stereotypes. In these mechanically reproduced drawings and photographs, the visual representation of history - through archival photographs and newspaper reports - intertwine with the languages of cinema and comic books. The viewer walks into a destabilized landscape of popular imagery and genres - where things resonate with a familiarity that is at once knowable, yet uncertain. In this series of thirteen collaged drawings and photographs, Amantea investigates the "real-life" story of Filumena "Florence" Lassandro, an Italian immigrant to western Canada who, charged with the bootlegger Emilio Picariello for the 1922 murder of an Alberta Provincial Police officer, was one of the last women hanged in Canada. This fascinating story is an opportunity to explore not only the intermingling of fact and fiction, but labour history, racism and desire. Amantea's ongoing practice as a visual artist looks at what our perceptions of the past tell us about contemporary society. Gisele Amantea is a former resident of Regina. She has exhibited in galleries across Canada and internationally and teaches at Concordia University in Montreal.