Review: Selina Latour's Justine With Art

Facebook pictures of her twin at art galleries inspires Selina Latour to paint a series on longing.

click to enlarge GENEVIEVE NICKEL
Genevieve Nickel

Selina Latour, Justine With Art
Lion & Bright, 2534 Agricola Street
To May 31

The opening of Selina Latour’s Justine With Art was met with a humble but keen attendance at Lion & Bright this Wednesday. This exhibition, which includes a number of oil paintings, is Latour’s second solo exhibition in Halifax.

Currently a NSCAD-Lunenburg Community Studio Resident, Latour’s series expresses longing and nostalgia for her identical twin, Justine. They have been separated for the past five years, and through this series Latour wishes to document the experiences her twin has lived without her.

With Latour’s palette of muted pastels, reminiscent of cinematic flashbacks, this documentation feels nostalgic and heavy with longing.

Photographs from her twin’s Facebook account inspired the various sized canvas oil paintings. What all the paintings have in common is that they are of Justine’s new acquaintances engaging with art, or of Justine herself, gazing at art. Despite this portrayal of FOMO, the subjects are painted with warmth, the way Latour imagines her sister’s emotions towards her loved ones.

The paintings that the subjects engage with come from established institutions in Canada or abroad. Picasso, Indigenous art, and other work is shown. This mise en abyme of art in the series raises Latour’s question: "Can a work of art exist without a viewer?"

Curiously, the last painting Latour made in the series is an auto-portrait, or rather, a painting modeled from her sister’s photograph. Unlike the rest of the series, Latour is included in her sister’s experience, but it is also the only painting with the subject posing in front of the painting instead of viewing it. Perhaps the subject’s lack of engagement with a painting that's simply a background for Latour’s artwork answers the question raised through the series.

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