Creative or Physical Practice

Develop artistic, physical, technical, management or production skills through intensive embodied and/or practice-based experiences.

“Five solid hours a week in the studio really helped me hone my practice and push myself to experiment with new and different techniques!”

– Joe Student, Visual Arts student

Creative or Physical Practice at Brock

Consider these examples of creative or physical practice experiences designed by faculty and instructors at Brock.

Instructor: Amy Friend, Assistant Professor

Course: VISA 1P20 – Introduction to Photography for Non-Majors

Program: Elective for any undergraduate student

introduction to photography

Students in VISA 1P20 participated in several field experience engagements and fulfilled a Creative Practice workshop resulting in the production of tintype portraits, a historic photography process widely utilized in the 1800’s. To develop a broader understanding of portraiture in photography students participated in multiple field experiences by visiting several locations prior to the workshop.

The initial field experience took students to the Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Space (Toronto), which featured an exhibition by Canadian-Swiss artist, Marie-Jeanne Musiol. This location/artist was included in the course to introduce students to the experimental processes Musiol uses to produce her photographs. Musiol employs electromagnetic exposures with plant matter and light sensitive photo paper to create her photographic imagery. The processes utilized for these camera-less photographs complemented other areas of study such as biology, physics, and chemistry while informing students about alternate photographic processes. As this course is taken by students outside of the Visual Arts program, exposing students to this multi-faceted production enhances cross-discliplinary interest from students studying in related areas. Importantly, the photographs directly aligned with the first assignment for the course, requiring students to make camera-less analogue photographs using a lumen-printing process. This process involves the exposure of analogue photographic paper to UV light with a selection of plant material to establish a visual result via chemical reactions between plant material, light and photo-paper. Students experimented with foliage and natural acids from fruit/food to establish colour variations and overall final results.

The following field experience included an appointment at the Art Gallery of Ontario for a prearranged visit to the Special Collections. Students met with Dr. Julie Crooks, Curator of Photography, to view a selection of portraits. This interactive learning connected with their upcoming portrait assignment and served to enhance their knowledge of photographic portraiture across history.

For their final field experience trip which culminated in creative practice on site, students participated in a workshop where they produced wet-plate collodion portraits. Artist and instructor Philip Chan led the workshop at Gallery 44 in Toronto. The workshop provided hands-on experience for students as each portrait is “one of a kind”. The level of complexity involved in producing each portrait aided their understanding of early photographic methods, particularly when compared to today’s instant capture on cell-phone cameras. Following this experiential studio-based workshop, David Sharron (Head of Archives and Special Collections at Brock), prepared a presentation of photographic imagery and objects for students to view. Here students were able to see historic locally made tintype portraits from the late 19th century using the same process performed in the workshop at Gallery 44.

At the end of all field experiences and studio projects, Professor Friend called the students’ attention to the institutions that house art, photographic material and archives in her final lectures. Students explored where and how these objects and materials became a part of collections and were assigned readings to compliment the complex narratives that are involved in the management and presentation of art and archival collections.

Students were assigned a 2-stage project that incorporated a creative and research-based presentation relating to their field experience and creative practice during the workshop.