Shary Boyle and the Meeting of the Self

With the exhibition In front of the palace of the Me, Canadian artist Shary Boyle uses theatrical and playful references to address various contemporary themes. The self put forward excessively with social networks in particular, and all this range of beings asking only to be accepted and honored in this world.

There’s a lot to see and understand in what makes up this (too short) exhibition of new pieces from the Scarborough-born designer in suburban Toronto. With the theater, its mechanisms and its characters as a backdrop, the installation is presented in eight segments, like eight tableaux composing a play that she would have written under the theme of the self.

An inventive and original way for the multidisciplinary artist to present to visitors his way of working art: by combining painting, sculpture, drawings and characters made of wax, ceramic, porcelain, terracotta, sandstone…

Shary Boyle's work Sainte cephalore.

Photo courtesy, Tom Hafkanscheid

Shary Boyle’s work Sainte cephalore.

Here, the inner self and the outer self confront each other, sometimes on paper, sometimes in the form of an enormous whiter-than-white doll or a wax automaton puppeteer pulling the strings of various character-metaphors of human contradictions.

Waxwork by Shary Boyle titled Judy.

Photo courtesy, Tom Hafkanscheid

Waxwork by Shary Boyle titled Judy.


From the dressing room to the stage, we discover the star of the show (remember to bring a dollar coin to make her dance), the puppets, the parade (while the collective action of one can become the riot of the other), the orchestra (it is possible to choose the soundtrack of the exhibition) and the finale while mirroring sending us back to our own gaze.

This theatrical and human journey is colorful, lively, singular, and sometimes necessarily confronting.

The new exhibition In front of Shary Boyle’s Ego Palace is presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until January 15, 2023.


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