Birthe Piontek has gained attention in recent years for her evocative photographic still life and portraiture, which often cleverly challenges our assumptions about intimacy, subjectivity, and mortality. Found photographs and object have long played an important role in Piontek's work, but until recently, their arrangement has always resulted in a photographed image. Miss Solitude marks a decisive shift in the artist's practice, presenting viewers with a series of new work comprised entirely of assemblages and installations. Through manipulations of vintage prints, embellished household objects, hair, textiles, and footwear, Piontek considers the photograph as fetish and talisman, and investigates its role as assistive device in both the fabrication and disavowal of femininity, memory, and desire.
Originally from Germany, Birthe Piontek moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany. Piontek's project The Idea of the North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. She was nominated for the AIMIA AGO Award 2014, and her recent project Lying Still was shortlisted for the Edward Burtinsky Grant in 2015.