You’re might already be familiar with the work of Dina Goldstein, and regular readers will remember the article we had on her in the October/November issue. Those of you in the Toronto area now have the chance to see her Fallen Princesses series in person from May 11 to June 10 at Gallery House during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Created out of a time of personal pain, this series questions the “happily ever after” Disney narrative we hear so often and asks the viewer to consider uncomfortable subjects like failure and illness.
In the article “Dina Goldstein: Merging Humour and Pop Culture to Make a Point,” I wrote, “Her instinct to turn to humour as a means of working through complicated emotions is at the centre of her art. Goldstein is brilliant at using a playful, seemingly light-hearted photo to delve into themes of identity, meaning, disappointment and loss. What happens when the reality of adulthood doesn’t live up to our youthful, idealistic expectations? How do we come to terms with life’s imperfection? Who are we when the thing that defines us falls apart? By prodding us to consider Snow White with a passel of kids, Rapunzel undergoing chemotherapy, or Barbie chopping off her hair in despair, Goldstein lets us question our core identity and our own life’s meaning with the safety net of humour. Her skill at doing this sets her work apart. At once accessible and challenging, Goldstein’s art has found a sweet spot—like Shakespeare, the pop-culture artist of his day—by merging “low” and “high” through humour and complex themes. From the academic types who like to analyze themes in scholarly journals to those of us who lean toward the more informal “groundling” end of the spectrum, there’s a little something for everyone.”