I am thrilled to have made the shortlist for the 2nd annual Phillip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize, which is awarded to a post-secondary student who is working with photography, film or video. Shortlisted artists are in a group exhibition at Presentation House Gallery from April 7 to 28, 2017.
I have two pieces in the show – the above pictured Memory Block, which is a large, projected pinhole composite of Commercial Drive accompanied by stories shared by several local folks about their memories of the neighbourhood, as well as a pinhole print from a separate project. I have also made a limited edition artist book to accompany Memory Block, and it’s for sale in the gallery bookstore. Thank you to Memory Block contributors: Kristine A., Michelle Buchanan, ISC, Wayde Compton, Donna Dykeman, Terrie Hamazaki, Nancy Pang, Nadene Rehnby and Michelle Sylliboy.
There are ten other fantastic artists in the show: Durrah Alsaif, David Biddle, Ryan Ermacora, Laura Gildner, Natasha Habedus, Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes, Brian Lye, Brittany Nickerson, Brandon Poole, Tori Schepel. So it’s really worth making the trek over to see the work!
Big thanks to PHG’s Michèle Smith, Diane Evans and Alexander Muir for all their help with the installation, and to the jury: Stan Douglas and curators Grant Arnold (Vancouver Art Gallery) and Helga Pakasaar (Presentation House Gallery).
More info about the show here: http://presentationhousegallery.org/exhibitions/now/
It’s been a while since I updated here and I have a few things to report, including some catch-up. I’ll start with a fun project I did that doesn’t really fit in the portfolio section of the site….
Elevator Oaths was an interactive text installation I did in the fall of 2015. I posted this form in the elevators of the Dominion Building, where I used to work, at Cambie and West Hastings, situated at the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), the tourist district of Gastown (basically the DTES made to sound not-impoverished) and the downtown business district. I asked people to make a promise that they would fulfill by the end of the week.
I posted the forms for the first half of the week, occasionally (sometimes frequently) replacing forms and pens that were removed.
Later in the week I posted new forms that listed all the promises that had been made in the elevators, and asked people to report on whether they had fulfilled their promises. I then compiled all the responses and created an infographic. I am a graphic designer by trade but for this piece I chose to (heavily) adapt an infographic template that is readily and freely available from a website geared toward making graphic design “accessible” to communicators. Partly this was so it would not become a graphic design project, and partly in keeping with the democratic theme.
The overall project started with my interest in exploring what are called “performative utterances” — a term coined by JL Austin which means words that perform an action eg. “I bet,” “I promise,” “I claim” etc etc. One of Austin’s conditions for a “felicitous” (true) performative utterance is that the context has to be mutually agreed upon. The Dominion Building has a lot of elevator camaraderie so I thought I’d see if I could build on that to make the elevator a place where you can make a commitment that you’ll keep, with your neighbours as witnesses to your oaths.
I was also inspired by the work of Stephen Willats who in 1972 created the West London Social Resource Project. He collected and exhibited data from apartment block residents in such as way as to generate empathy and collaboration. I was really intrigued by that and wondered if oath-making could be a way to build community and empathy among our building-mates.
And I was curious as to whether a building full of creative and progressive types would pick up on language borrowed from the recent swearing in ceremony for the federal government and what they’d make of it. Whether that energy of change (even if it’s just of the Anything-But-Conservative stripe) would find its way into our promises (it didn’t seem to, huh). And of course, two years and several major broken promises later, this question of felicitous oath-making seems even more important.
I am also really interested in the Dominion Building’s specific location at the edge of the DTES and how a building full of what has been called the “creative class” is implicated in the gentrification of this area – even those of us working in the social change sector – we’re not immune to a tasty gentrified pastry from time to time, or the like. I wondered whether my office neighbours (many of whom work for progressive organizations) would make comments about social change, particularly about poverty, in light of the highly visible inequality present immediately outside our doors. This is not meant as an accusation or self-flagellating hand-wringing. I was just curious about all of those things, and wanted to explore these questions.
Installation view of The Blanks, 2015
My first solo show opens at the Campbell River Art Gallery on Thursday August 13 in the Discovery Gallery.
Are you sure? is a work of graphic memoir, a genre I have been working in throughout my visual art and filmmaking practice. I’ve been using analog and low-fidelity formats such as photo-transfer, found photos and handmade books to explore the pitfalls of memory — the gaps, distortions and competing versions of the same events. I’m interested in how, like it or not, these mismemories in turn form new stories about the original events, and can even shape self-perception.
Many of the stories in this project revolve around my early childhood in and around the Comox Valley, so I’m delighted to be exhibiting in Campbell River, so close to my own personal history.
I’ll also be teaching a community workshop on August 15 & 16 on photo-transfer techniques. More info here.
Thanks to curator Julia Prudhomme and gallery director Kristine Anderson for all their support with this show.
I’m also happy to be exhibiting alongside the absolutely brilliant painter Suzo Hickey who will be showing Like the Back of My Hand, a new collection of her stunning urban landscapes. She’ll be in the Main Gallery.
Installation view of Likes to show off, 2013
Opening: 6:30-9:00 pm, with refreshments!
Show runs August 13 to September 25.
Gallery hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 – 5 pm, open till 8:30 pm Thursday evenings
Location: 1235 Shoppers Row, Campbell River, BC
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1659847127586996/
In April of this year I attended a two-week residency at Art Print Residence in Arenys de Munt, a small town outside of Barcelona. My wonderful hosts were Ariadna Abadal and master printmakers Jordi Rosés and Clàudia Lloret. Photographer Milena Rosés Lloret was my Spanish teacher and Barcelona host (and very helpfully advised me to make pa amb tomàquet—shown above—for breakfast).
I’m not a printmaker — this was a research and development residency for me — but it was such a privilege to spend time in Jordi’s and Clàudia’s print studio, where I could photograph them at work with fellow residents Marlene Moris, Jacqueline Aust and Kimberly Nguyen. Also, there were turtles.
This trip was a big deal for me — my first trip to Europe, but also a much-needed break from the intensity of my studies. When I entered art school over six years ago (I am studying very part-time, it’s kind of like a really structured art practice), my approach to photography was one of experimentation and play. As I became more focused, I became less spontaneous and experimental and only produced work that had a concept, a reason for existing. Barcelona allowed me to get back to taking photographs for the love of it. I also did several pinhole photographs, and I’ll post a few in the fall.