Daniel Faria Gallery
Supported by the Ontario Arts Council
Daniel Faria Gallery is pleased to present Meirenyu, Steven Beckly’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Meirenyu is a transliteration of the Mandarin word for mermaid [美人魚]. Found in the myths of many cultures, mermaids are aquatic hybrids: half-human, half-fish. Neither fully belonging to land nor sea, they are transitional figures with transformative abilities. Closely entwined in human affairs, they are beautiful and seductive, dangerous yet vulnerable.
Drawing on symbols and themes from Beckly’s favourite underwater tales, Meirenyu casts an intimate gaze on the mermaid mythos to re-imagine our contemporary relationships with the ocean and the unknown. Working with images of light, water, and skin, Beckly cultivates a visual language of colours and textures by revealing poetic links between image and object, surface and space. Beckly’s photographs delicately hang, suspended in the gallery space, taking on three-dimensional forms that twist the orientations of up and down, left and right, front and back. Straddling photography and sculpture, his images connect the hybridity and fluidity of mermaids to broader issues of gender and sexuality. Printed on iridescent, opalescent, and translucent materials, they reflect an ethos of light, glamour, and transformation. In broader strokes, Meirenyu points to the power of myths in our understanding of the ocean and the unknown, while underscoring the need for new myths to reflect the global and environmental issues of today.