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Gerda Osteneck


  • born in 1954 in Vulcan, Alberta
  • parents emigrated from Latvia in 1953
  • B.F.A. in progress, Film and Video, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, (1990- ); Communications and History, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia (1974-75)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Born to Baltic German parents, photo-collage artist Gerda Osteneck has devoted most of her artistic production to the examination of a family history that is partially lost since the death of her parents in 1991. Osteneck received a large part of her photography education working as a technician in photography labs, learning from the sheer volume of photographs to which she was exposed. Taking a leave in 1994, she travelled to eastern Europe with the help of a grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, in search of her family's past. Stemming from this experience are numerous collage works that combine family photos and European postcards in Osteneck's own version of a family album that was to some extent denied her by a mother who felt that her daughter's curiosity about the past was "indecent." "Despite the precision of her decorative layout, Osteneck's collages remain invitingly elusive, straying form family history into the construction of identity and the imprecise, messy changeability of memory. Her choice is strategic, as she has pointed out: "As there are an infinite number of possible perspectives from which to photograph a place or thing, there are as many ways of perceiving history, the story of an event" (Helen Marzolf, 1995). Learning to make her own paper in order to provide a more dynamic surface for her collage, Osteneck moved on to creating sculptural work that incorporates her collage images as surface. Pondering her mother's own history as a nurse during the Nazi occupation of Poland, Osteneck has also become concerned with the stories of women, in particular immigrant women, their daughters, and the pasts that they simultaneously deny and carry with them. She has also touched on the Holocaust in her work, Auschwitz, Poland (1994), a collage using photographs that she took of the former concentration camp on her 1994 trip.



1995 Photo-Collage
Photographers Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


1993 Snip Shots
Saskatchewan Cultural Society Club Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan


1985 Layers of Light
S.C.E.S. Club, Regina, Saskatchewan


1982 Hues Gallery, Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Skeena: A River Remembered
Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, British Columbia

Skeena Dream
Highliner Hotel, Prince Rupert, British Columbia



1997 Becoming Bootless
Neil Balkwell Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan


1997-93 Small Works Show
Photographers Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


1996 C.D. Fundraiser
Neutral Ground Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan

Ethni-City Postcard Show
Neutral Ground Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan

Rosemont Show and Sale - 25th Anniversary Show
Rosemont Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan


1995 In Focus
Rosemont Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan


1993 Bookworks
AKA Artists Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


1992 Student Show
Neil Balkwell Centre, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan


1986 International Exhibition of Miniature Art
Del Bello Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Summer Group Show
Rosemont Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan

9th Annual Show and Sale
Rosemont Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan


1985 Erotic Art Show (x2)
S.C.E.S. Club, Regina, Saskatchewan

Rosemont Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan

National Exhibition Centre, Hazelton, British Columbia


1984 Erotic Art Show
S.C.E.S. Club, Regina, Saskatchewan


1981 Museum of Northern British Columbia, Prince Rupert, British Columbia



Marzolf, Helen. "A critical difference." Blackflash 13, no. 2 (Summer 1995): 16-17.

Oberlander, Wendy. The Exchange 10, no. 9 (November 1993): cover.

---. Skeena: A River Remembered. Vancouver, British Columbia: Raincoast Books, 1982.


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