History & Culture:
Tours & Walks
On Being Male
Loss & Desire
Peter Sramek’s artwork incorporates silver photography, digital imaging, handmade books and video installation. His works are in many collections, notably the Musée Carnavalet (Paris), Toronto Archives, Art Gallery of Hamilton, National Library of Canada, the Allan Chasanoff Collection (NY) and MOMA (NY). Exhibitions of his rephotographic projects include the Alliance Française (Toronto), the French Institute of Prague and Gallery 345 (Toronto). Recent group exhibitions include the Korean Cultural Centre, Beijing and the New Delhi Art Fair.
Currently, Sramek's black and white photography explores historical sites and a number of major projects incorporate rephotographic strategies, working from historical archives. This research has been supported by a Google Research Award, as well as many smaller grants and his recent book Piercing Time: Paris after Marville and Atget 1865-2012 was released by Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press in October, 2013.
His long engagement with images of touristic travel and historic sites has taken him throughout North America and Europe and he has recently begun working in Asia. In these series, Sramek has used both panoramic formats and multi-exposure strip photography as well as large format photography and he combines film-based and digital processes. His street photography of the 1970s and 80s explored aspects of gender display as seen in fashion and body language, with an emphasis on male identities. Other bodies of work explore theoretical issues of the photographic medium or take on much more personal and emotional subjects, such as loss and desire.
Peter Sramek studied photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Minor White and has taught at the Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto, Canada since 1976. Over the past 20 years, his administrative roles at OCAD U, in addition to terms as Chair of Photography and of Cross-Disciplinary Art Practices, have included Associate and Assistant Dean positions in the Faculty of Art and, most recently, one semester as Acting Dean. As a founding member of Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography in Toronto and Financial Coordinator for 15 years, Sramek has contributed considerably to the Canadian photography community. His current engagement in developing an international network of collaborating art schools, takes his vision for collaborative cultural practices to a global level.
The International Art Collaborations network (INTAC) has most recently held student shows in Japan, Canada, Finland, South Korea, China and Slovakia. Sramek has presented his experiences with online collaborative studio learning at various conferences including the Society for Photographic Education (Chicago), the National Institute of Design (India) and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Finland).
Peter Sramek lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
Walks & Pilgrimage
Walking a path, allows for close observation and a creates a framework of apparently systematic documentation. Retracing the steps of earlier photographers is both a study of their approaches and an act of homage. Evolving from the earlier projects about travel, the most recent bodies of work, whether walking across a city or along ancient roads, add a spiritual intention of meditative contemplation. Paths followed are related to historical routes, maps or archival photographs.
History & Culture:
Thinking about the role of photographic images in society has figured in many of the bodies of work produced over the years. For a number, this consideration is the direct purpose of the project.
Loss & Desire
Living brings with it experiences of desire, love, loss and death, provoking the expression of deep emotions. Through such introspective and psychologically turbulent times, the artist has produced metaphorical bodies of work which are both deeply personal and universal. There is a recurring expression of desire for a deeper relationship with the natural world and its spiritual sustenance.
Photographing the experience of travel and tourism, has led the artist to document journeys with a sense of irony and humour, often utilizing sequential formats, such as photographing all of the gas station stops on a trip from Toronto to the west coast of Canada and back; photographing multiple exposures from the car while driving; or, documenting trips along popular tour routes.
History & Culture: Cities
These projects examine the development of historical cities often through consideration of photographic archives combined with the artist's related photography documenting contemporary urban architectural environments.
On Being Male
After photographing how men present themselves in public, the projects turned to personal representations, such as self-nudes and much later delving into his relationship with his father. Much of this work has seen limited exhibition and remains to be re-examined in the light of social developments of the past 4 decades. Video installation works are included in this trajectory of exploration.
In the early 1970s, the upsurge of feminist action led the artist to consider the sexism so visible in the urban society around him. Street photography became a form for recording what he saw in public spaces and consumer culture. An anti-sexist politic gave his work a focus beyond the accidental and surreal, often associated with street photography's capture of fleeting moments. Collage work based on fashion magazines and early digital tools carried this conversation into diverse forms.
Artist Books & Publications
An early engagement with photographic sequencing led naturally to hand bookbinding and projects specifically designed for the book format. Image content, text and sequence combines with structure and materials in these very limited editions made by the artist. Photographic processes are used in early works, followed by the first digital possibilities. Print-on-demand and trade publication has followed more recently. In this area, the artist has been a pioneer in the application of developing design and print technologies.
This site catalogs the projects undertaken by Peter Sramek over an active and diverse art career. The categories and colour coded lines attempt to make apparent the themes and threads of thought which underlie and connect the various bodies of work.