Derek Michael Besant: Public Spaces/Private Thoughts
Derek Michael Besant: Public Spaces/Private Thoughts (2012)
Derek Michael Besant’s series Public Spaces/Private Thoughts combines photography with text to examine the idea that, inside every person, there are two identities — an outward self and an interior psyche. This philosophical reality creates a collective and constant ebb and flow between emotion, instinct, desire and doubt. The series asks viewers to imagine the barrier dissolving between private thought and public context.
The ten anonymous portraits of men and women each contains a revealed personal thought drawn from fleeting themes found in the news media. The personal becomes universal; what can be read is a thought from someone who cannot be fully observed. The viewer becomes a witness to private disclosure, an unwitting confessional, or one side of a conversation over a cell phone.
Calgary-based Derek Michael Besant has exhibited drawings, prints and multi-media works extensively throughout the world since the 1970s. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including most recently: the 8th International Biennial at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Liège, Belgium (2011); Perceptions of Promise: Biotechnology, Society & Art at the Chelsea Art Museum, New York (2011), the 15th Tallinn Print Triennial at the Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia (2011); and the Portobello International Film Festival, London U.K. (2010).
Besant’s Public Spaces/Private Thoughts was originally displayed as large-scale images in subway stations in Toronto during the 2012 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The project was supported by the Toronto Transit Commission and The Pattison Outdoor Group.
Images courtesy of the artist.