"Early on in my work I was committed to the single image. I was attempting to develop a certain photographic language: images that straddled the boundaries of painting and photography. After that period, I was involved in reviewing and understanding my work by working with my (and other) images in archive form."
Photography and typography have always been a passion for the Montreal based artist, Angela Grauerholz. At the heart of her practice is a romantic sensibility linked to her Northern German heritage and a long time interest in feminism, conceptual art, and a range of theoretical perspectives on photography. In her work she explores memory, along with ideas related to collections and archives
Grauerholz studied graphic design at the Kunstschule Alsterdamm in Hamburg and literature and linguistics at the University of Hamburg. She moved to Canada in 1976 and received a Master's degree in photography from Concordia University in 1980. In 1980 she was a co-founder of ARTEXTE, centre d'information en art contemporain, an important archive for Canadian art. Since 1988, she has been teaching at the École de design, Université du Québec, Montréal where since 2008 she is the director of the Centre of Design.
In her early work, Angela Grauerholz developed a photographic language often associated with old or historical photographs. Drawn from reality these "timeless" photographs that drift between the past and the future, serve to reflect the viewer's own thoughts, emotions and memory. (The Library, 1993). In these works she manipulates focus, exposure, framing and other formal devices to create the qualities of a snapshot or the impression that the world is being viewed through a melancholic haze. The diverse subject matter depicts commonplace scenes including landscapes (Jewish Cemetery, 1994), waiting areas, places of arrival and departure, and images of people (Jean Blodgett, 1984). In the 1990's, Grauerholz practice shifted from the singular, stand alone photograph to projects that incorporated multiple images with installation and sculpture: her thematic concerns explored ideas related to archives and collective memory. In these works she questioned her need to take more photographs and brought order and context to the profusion of images she had taken over the years. She explored systems for accessing and contextualizing her own work as well as her large collection of visual and textual materials of photographs, postcards, brochures, texts, newspaper clippings, art, literature etc. Amassed over the years, this collection could be read as a reflection of her understanding of art and artistic practice. In 2008, she digitized her archive and put it online with the web-based work www.atworkandplay.ca launched in 2009.
Grauerholz was awarded Quebec's Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas (2006) for her accomplishments in the arts.