Not only is Carl a mannequin, but Carl’s girlfriend, possessor of an eternally fixed grin, is not quite real either.
Carl is muscular and easy to please; you’d call him the archetype of the strong-but-silent man, except that his face is a little too pretty to be manly.
It is also quite clear that Carl is not a man, but a mannequin.
The art of dating has only recently entered the world of art, where, in the words of Bill Jeffries, curator of Simon Fraser University Gallery, it constitutes “a sufficiently new phenomenon that a body of theoretical discourse has yet to develop around it.” Dating itself, he goes on to say, now has its theorists, one of whom, Natalie Flynn, claims to have traced the concept of dating as we know it to about 1910.
Before then, courtship rituals were part of chaperoned forms of social mixing such as church outings, picnics, sleigh rides, hay rides and community dances.
It is so evident that Bozic the artist and Carl’s girlfriend are separate identities that when the term “self-portraits” slipped from my tongue, I immediately tried to suck the words back in.
The Dating Portfolio, which shows through July, continues Bozic’s interest in questioning the lines that divide fabrication from fact, reality from artifice.
The tougher question posed by The Dating Portfolio, a series of 15 color images, is, Who is the woman constantly accompanied by Carl, the one looking in his eyes, wrapped in his embrace, enjoying the beach and the movies with him?
She is, apart from the wig, the exact resemblance of Susan Bozic, the artist who created the images.
There is certainly an aspirational quality to The Dating Portfolio that has come directly from Madison Avenue.
There are sleek dresses, postcard skies, fashionable clothes, a private jet.
In her latest series, "The Dating Portfolio," Vancouver photographer Susan Bozic has shifted from imagery of stuffed birds in blatantly contrived, theatrical settings to a different kind of animal — the amorous human.