Arnaud Maggs, who started out as a graphic designer and began his art career in middle age, died Saturday, November 17 in Toronto. He was 86.
Interested in systems of classification and taxonomy, the conceptual photographer's first exhibit was a grid of deadpan, mug-shot-like photographs of friends and fellow artists.
He turned his lens in a similar conceptual fashion on Joseph Bueys in 100 Profile Views, as well as documenting objects, book and scrapbook pages and the backs of envelopes, usually exhibited in a grid format.
It sounds rigorous, but Maggs's work also contained a healthy dose of humour. His recent shows at Susan Hobbs Gallery included architectural diagrams that portrayed admired artists and a fitting valedictory series of 19th-century-style self-portraits in which he posed as Pierrot from commedia dell'arte.
Maggs received the Governor General's visual arts award in 2006 and the Scotiabank Photography Prize during this year's Contact Photography Festival, which honours him with a 2013 exhibit that we hope includes elements of last summer's career retrospective at the National Gallery in Ottawa.