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Janice Guy

Janice Guy, Independent Art Fair, New York
May 5 – 8, 2022
Spring Studios

Janice Guy was one of three women in a class of fifteen students at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she studied with Klaus Rinke and Bernd and Hilla Becher. For thirty years her early artwork remained in storage, held by fellow student and close friend Thomas Struth. When they finally saw the work in its entirety again in 2008, both were astonished by the sheer volume of work that Guy had made during her years in Düsseldorf.

In her 2019 review in The New Yorker, Andrea Scott writes, “You can see [Bernd and Hilla Becher’s] typological influence in Guy’s untitled, hand-tinted series from 1976) [ . . . ] if Guy was typologizing any subject, it was the female psyche [ . . . ].”

She had been focused on creating art that upends the male gaze: by working as both artist and model, voyeur and active participant, Guy invites the viewer into an infinite, illusory loop of both watching and being watched. In her best-known photographs, her torso is twisted and torqued like warped metal. The camera serves as her cyborg double—at once an extension of her body and a surrogate eye.

 In her multipart works, Guy records incremental variations of gesture and position. Such repetitive acts of self-transformation, recorded and disseminated by the camera, predict today’s performative exploration of identity online.

 Janice Guy (b. 1953) has had solo exhibitions at Higher Pictures (2019); Cleopatra’s (2015); and White Columns (2008). She was included in several group exhibitions during and after completing her studies. Her first solo show was held in 1979 at Galerie Ricke, Cologne. In the late 1980s Guy’s primary medium would continue to evolve from photography, to gallery and artist residency director, to cofounder of the New York galleries Murray Guy (1998 – 2017) and Higher Pictures Generation (2020 – current). Publications include Janice Guy (Hunters Point Press, 2018) and a monograph by MACK is forthcoming. Guy lives and works in New York City.