Alumni

  • New grad honoured for textile artwork

    Victoria Reid was recently honoured for her artwork, which was on display at Rodman Hall Art Centre as part of the Turnin’ this Car Around exhibition in April.

    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    The eye-catching pieces were hard to miss.

    Made from everyday materials, the headless human forms could be seen cascaded down a wall within Rodman Hall Art Centre, drawing attention and sparking conversations among visitors.

    Created by Victoria Reid, the pieces were featured during the VISA 4F06 Honours exhibition, Turnin’ this Car Around, in April, but continue to earn the young artist praise.

    Visual arts graduate Victoria Reid has been awarded the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award. (Photo: Jimmy Limit)

     

     

    The June graduate was chosen to receive the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award for her work. The honour is given to a graduating student for a piece of textile art and is intended to support the student’s continued artistic development.

    Reid’s figures, made from yarn, fabric scraps, plaster and packing tape, challenge the viewer to see bodies as objects taking up space.

    “The bodies are not human without their contents,” says Reid. “These sculptures embrace the oddity and the awkwardness of the human body, focusing on the fact that we are weird masses of matter and, together with soul, we become beings.”

    Reid says for as long as she can remember, she has been intrigued by textiles.

    “They have so much personality and can be handled with a variety of different methods to morph them into something new,” she says.

    It was her grandmother who taught her how to weave, stitch, sew, knit and crochet at an early age.

    Reid applied these more traditional ways of working with textiles to new ideas to create her award-winning work and cites Walker’s own work as inspiration.

    “Marilyn I. Walker’s piece in the first floor hall inspired me greatly this year with the variety in colour and texture, and the stitching together of different fabric patterns and materials,” she says.

    Reid’s pieces are cast from her own body and lend drama to the philosophical question of the mind-body dichotomy, writes Associate Professor Derek Knight in the exhibition catalogue.

    “References to the human body are rarely benign and Reid is no different when she describes her plaster figures as symbolizing the existential dilemma between spiritual life and physical existence,” he writes.

    Reid will be continuing her arts education this fall at the University of Western Ontario, where she is enrolled in a Master of Library and Information Science program to study Collections and Archive Management.

    “I want my future career to work with, influence and inform my art practice,” says Reid, who continues to create, show and sell her art. She is also working with Brock Visual Resources Librarian Lesley Bell for the summer.

    “Being awarded the Marilyn I Walker Textile art award means so much to me,” Reid says. “Working with textiles in my art is what I do and being awarded for something that I have worked hard on and put so much energy into is a great feeling. It makes me feel not only proud of myself, but thankful for all of the friends, family, peers and instructors who have helped and supported me along the way.”

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  • Student completes music degree started 18 years ago in Mexico

    Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Molina will graduate from Brock Friday with a degree in Music.

    (from The Brock News,  Tuesday, June 05, 2018 | by )

    For 20 years, Luis Gerardo Molina worked his way up the corporate ladder of a growing computer software firm in his home country of Mexico.

    After high school, he had made what he viewed as a responsible decision to choose a stable career in technology over a fragile one as a classical pianist, but his love of music kept pulling at him like a magnet.

    Eventually, he gave in, and on Friday, June 8, at the age of 48, his career change will be official when he graduates from Brock University with a degree in Music.

    “It means everything,” said Molina. “That was a dream that I always wanted to make happen and I really struggled to get it.”

    Born into a family of talented musicians, Molina grew up around choirs and instruments, and by the age of six it was obvious he had a gift. At nine, he started working with a piano teacher and for eight years he attended a specialized school of music that turned his hobby into a craft.

    “I finished my high school and I had that dilemma many people face — should I devote my life to music? Is that a safe path for the rest of my life?” Molina said. “I decided to follow an alternative career. I always really liked the maths, so I decided to choose engineering.”

    A literal flip of a coin at the age of 17 made Molina choose computer engineering over civil engineering, and that set in motion a software career that lasted 20 years.

    But while his career progressed to the point of becoming a manager, so did his ongoing love of music. Having never truly given up his dream of being a professional pianist, Molina went back to the University of the Americas part time in 2000, completing two years of a four-year degree before realizing the workload wasn’t sustainable.

    Luis Molina’s music career has taken him to competitions and performances around the world.

    “It was just too much,” he said.

    But an invitation to an international piano competition in Paris in 2003 ramped up his duelling interests. After beating out nearly 100 competitors from 35 countries to win the contest, he was invited to more international performances and competitions, leading to the production of his first album of live recordings.

    “I got very good support from the company I was working for. The owner was a kind guy who was also involved in music and he always felt proud to tell them he had an employee with this background in competition and music,” said Molina, who traveled to the U.S., Germany, Russia, Poland and elsewhere over the years.

    “After doing all that, I decided the music is calling me more and more,” he said. “The company I was working for was growing and every day it was getting more complicated to do both things together.”

    Finally in 2015, the door opened to make music his full-time endeavour. He was hired as a pianist with a philharmonic orchestra in Mexico and went back to university for his third year of music school.

    Then, in 2017, a trip to Canada to visit friends in Niagara led to another big change.

    “I loved the Niagara region so I thought, if I’m going for my passion in music, I found the perfect place to do it,” he said.

    A tour of Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and a meeting with Associate Professor of Music Karin Di Bella confirmed that Brock was where Molina would finish his degree.

    “I fell in love with what I found here. And now that I’m almost done, I feel very lucky to have had this great opportunity in this great country and at this great University,” he said.

    Di Bella called Molina “the real deal.”

    “He possesses a rare combination of drive, discipline, musical maturity, technical facility, innate musicality and a true flair for performance,” she said. “Despite his many accomplishments, he is very humble and always eager to learn, making him a true joy to work with.”

    After graduating Friday in the final day of Brock’s Spring Convocation, Molina will move on to do his master’s in musical literature and performance at Western University.

    From there, a PhD and potentially a teaching career are in his sights.

    “I’ve been performing for more than 30 years and I want to continue doing that, but I’d like to share my perspectives and teach others,” he said.

    Molina credits his wife, Marcela Lagunas Burgos, herself a talented musician who plays the cello, as playing a major role in his career success.

    “We’re definitely on the same frequency. She has supported me with everything and all the decisions.”

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  • Irigaray Circle presents Horizons of Sexual Difference, June 14

    The Irigaray Circle will hold their 9th meeting and 2018 conference “Horizons of Sexual Difference” at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts from June 14-16, 2018.

    This three-day international interdisciplinary meeting of The Luce Irigaray Circle is devoted to scholarship/creative work on, or inspired by, the thought of the contemporary French feminist thinker, Luce Irigaray. The conference theme, Horizons of Sexual Difference, brings Irigarayan scholarship into dialogue with recent discourses (i.e., trans, queer, Indigenous) in an effort to discover generative and productive sites in thinking that open up feminist thought.

    Keynote Speakers include:

    Tawny Andersen
    Gwen Benaway
    Tina Chanter
    Rachel Jones
    Emily Anne Parker

    The conference is organized by Dr. Athena Colman and is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, Brock University.

    To register and for recent news see the conference registration webpage

    To download a copy of the poster

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  • Post-Industrial Ephemera: Soundings, Gestures and Poetics exhibition catalogue published

    CATHERINE PARAYRE, BROCK UNIVERSITY /
    REINHARD REITZENSTEIN, SUNY-BUFFALO, CURATORS

    The exhibition Post-Industrial Ephemera: Soundings, Gestures and Poetics took place in 2017 at Silo-City, Buffalo, NY as a joint project funded by the Agreement for Scholarly Exchange and Collaboration between the State University of New York at Buffalo and Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.

    The exhibition catalogue is now available for download.

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  • Breaking the Silence at In the Soil

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, May 03, 2018 by Matthew Melnyk)

    Students from Stamford Collegiate took to the stage at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre to present their original play, Breaking the Silence, as part of In the Soil Arts Festival on Friday, April 27. The public performance was sponsored by Brock University. The play — based on the stories of British Home Children who were torn from their families and sent to Canada for a ‘better life’ — earned Stamford the top prize at this year’s National Theatre School Drama Festival. Friday’s performance featured a quilt made up of historic photos of British Home Children.

    Stamford Collegiate at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Seen l to r: Colin Anthes, BA (Honours) Dramatic Arts and Psychology, Minor in Philosophy, 2014; MA Philosophy (Contemporary Continental Philosophy), 2016; Certificate in Public Law (in process) is an alumnus of Stamford Collegiate, an instructor at the Department of Dramatic Arts, Artistic Director of Essential Collective Theatre and founder of Twitches & Itches Theatre; Angela Menotti, program leader of Drama at Stamford Collegiate; and Ethan Yando, who has a placement at Stamford Collegiate as he completes his BA (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Minor in English Language and Literature, BEd Teacher Education – Intermediate Senior in 2018.

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  • Brock faculty, staff, students and grads performing at In the Soil

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, April 25, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    It’s a festival born out of love for the local community and the arts.

    In the Soil, the three-day, multi-layered and multi-disciplinary festival in St. Catharines, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend, and Brock has played an important role in its growth.

    The festival started as an idea sparked at a Centre for the Arts performance in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, where Annie Wilson (BA’03), Joe Lapinski (BA’99) and Sara Palmieri (BA ’03) wondered how they help showcase Niagara talent. Three more former Brock students came on board to found the festival in 2009: Deanna Jones (BA ’02), Natasha Pedros (BA ’04) and Jordy Yack.

    They wanted to bring people together with local artists to create a shared experience and celebrate Niagara’s arts scene.

    Brock’s support of In the Soil has been important from the start, says Wilson, who studied Theatre and English.

    “To have the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts right in the downtown core is a dream come true and so is the opportunity to collaborate with so many incredible profs and friends over there,” says Wilson. “Brock University has supported In the Soil Arts Festival from day one and the ongoing investment in us has allowed us to grow it into what it is today.”

    Suitcase in Point Theatre Company, a theatre group founded by graduates from Brock’s Dramatic Arts program, took over organizing the festival in 2012. The group worked to sharpen the festival’s interdisciplinary approach and now has a tradition of showcasing the latest work in theatre, literature, music, film, comedy and site-specific installations.

    Many Brock students, staff, faculty, and grads are exhibiting and performing at this year’s festival in various venues around the downtown core, including:

    • Adrian Thiessen (BA ’10), president and creative head of Fourgrounds Media, will be showing his piece “Please Do Not Disturb the Grapes,” which gives a bird’s perspective of Niagara wine country as part of Rhizomes at Silver Spire United Church.
    • We Who Know Nothing, a theatre group centred in the Department of Dramatic Arts and led by Associate Professor Gillian Raby, will be performing a short piece on colonialism and First Nations histories.
    • Also at Rhizomes, Twitches & Itches Theatre, an ensemble made up largely of Dramatic Arts graduates, will be presenting emerging theatre voices in “The Comments Section,” a collaboration between young artists.
    • Arnie McBay (MA ’13), Visual Arts Facilities Technician at MIWSFPA, and English Professor Gregory Betts will be showing “Signs of Our Discontent” (The Textures of Our Solitude). The site-specific installation at the corner of St. Paul and Garden Park responds to the fading advertisements painted on downtown buildings.
    • Fourth-year Visual Arts student Amber Lee Williams video performance “Self Portrait As A Female Fountain” explores themes of identity and is an extension of her exhibition “Hidden Mother” on until Saturday, April 28 at the MIWSFPA.
    • Dramatic Arts student Matthew Beard is the founder of Big Chicken Improv, an improv group that includes various Brock students. They will be performing long- and short-form improv on Saturday evening.

    Prior to the festival, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be hosting a special event on the evening of April 27 for students from Stamford Collegiate.
    The MIWSFPA is also a festival sponsor.

    What: In the Soil Arts Festival

    When: Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29

    Where: Downtown St. Catharines

    Tickets and event details: inthesoil.on.ca


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  • Art exhibit receptions to mark International Women’s Day

    The opening reception of “Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between,” Cat Stambolic and Sarah Martin, takes place Thursday, March 8 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Brock’s arts community will mark International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8 with two art exhibition receptions.

    On display at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Visual Arts Gallery and student exhibition space, “Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between” features the work of third-year Visual Arts student Sarah Martin and recent Brock Visual Arts graduate Cat Stambolic (BA ’17).

    The exhibition, which initially opened Feb. 15 and runs until Saturday, March 24, explores the disconnect between mind and body, deemed ‘silent areas.’

    Exploring the theme separately through their previous work, the pair came together to create the exhibit, which investigates “connections between mind and body; specifically, what happens if and when that connection is interrupted,” explained Stambolic.

    Both women are strong advocates of mental health.

    “Our work hangs in conversation with each other’s,” Stambolic said, and is “truly representative of the open dialogue we need to create regarding mental illness.”

    Her work featured in the show is directly related to her own sensory experiences, which resulted in feeling a disconnect from her physical body.

    “The process of making these pieces was a way to resolve these sensations and emotions, re-envisioning them as tangible sculptures,” she said.

    Martin uses her photographs to create visual representation of “restlessness and unconsciousness, how feelings of anxiety can create out-of-body experiences and feelings of existentialism.”

    Her work in this exhibit depicts women exclusively in order to “refocus the narrative of women creating work featuring women, instead of from a male perspective,” she said. “Using the female figure in a powerful way reclaims ownership of the female body and creates a new narrative of empowerment and self-reflection.”

    Both artists will be at the exhibition’s reception to discuss their work on Thursday, March 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.

    Also that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., is the opening reception of “Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui” at the Niagara Arts Centre, 354 St. Paul St.

    Featuring work from Brock’s Studies in Arts and Culture, and French Studies students, the exhibit explores contemporary expressions in art and literature, with pieces creating unusual stories mixing narrative and art-making.

    “Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui” will be on display at the NAC until Friday, March 16.

    For information on upcoming events, visit the MIWSFPA website.

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  • Exhibition – Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between, opens Feb. 15

    Brock Visual Art student Sarah Martin and Brock Visual Arts Alumna Caterina Stambolic present photographs and sculptures investigating the interruptions between mind and body.

    Exhibition: Thursday Feb. 15 to Saturday Mar. 24

    Regular visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1-5 pm.

    Opening Reception: Thursday Mar. 8, 5 – 8 pm

    Location: Visual Arts Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University

    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON

    This is a free community event!

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  • Two new exhibits open at Rodman Hall, including the work of curator and alumna Emma German

    Always Vessels, an exhibit by nine contemporary Indigenous artists, runs Jan. 27 to March 11 at Rodman Hall. Pictured is Nadya Kwandibens’ work — Emergence Series: Sugar Bush Sessions.

    (Source: The Brock News | Friday Jan. 26, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    The works of nine Indigenous artists will be featured in one of two new exhibits opening at Rodman Hall Art Centre on Saturday, Jan. 27.

    Curated by Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nehwegahbow, Always Vessels features nine contemporary Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee artists who express their art through a range of media, from beads to photography.

    Using a blend of traditional and modern approaches, the artists explore the processes of learning, making and analyzing how knowledge is transferred and made. The work, informed by contemporary translation of traditional knowledge, offers insight into the range of skills, techniques and knowledge unique to Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee cultures.

    The exhibit explores how belongings and possessions are meaningful objects that have the ability to carry, hold and transmit memory across time and space.

    Nahwegahbow will speak about the exhibit Saturday at 2:30 p.m. as part of Rodman’s Hot Talk series.

    Also opening on Saturday is Up close and in motion, an exhibit from Rodman’s permanent collection of nearly 1,000 works dating back three centuries. Curated by Brock alumna Emma German (BA ’14), the year-long, regularly changing exhibit will highlight the collection’s purpose as a tool for research, study and interpretation.

    The first installation of this exhibit focuses on recent acquisitions of contemporary Canadian art, many of which will be displayed for the first time.

    What: New exhibits opening: Always Vessels and Up close and in motion.

    Where: Rodman Hall Art Centre

    When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 2 p.m.

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  • World-class photographer with a Brock connection

    “One of Them Is a Human #1” by Maija Tammi won third place in this year’s Taylor-Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Tammi studied photography at Brock in 2008-09 with Visual Arts professor Amy Friend. (Image copyright Maija Tammi; Used by permission).

    (Source: The Brock News | Friday Dec. 15, 2017 by Alison Innes)

    At first glance, the photo is a portrait of a young woman.

    On closer inspection, the ‘woman’ isn’t human at all. It is, in fact, an android called Erica, developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories in Osaka University, Japan.

    The photograph, taken by Finnish artist Maija Tammi and titled “One of Them is a Human #1,” won third prize in this year’s prestigious Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

    The photograph also has a surprising Brock connection.

    Finnish artist Maija Tammi, who studied at
    Brock University in 2008-09

    Tammi spent a year studying film and art at Brock University in 2008-09. Although she already had a background in photojournalism, her experience at Brock, and in particular a course with Professor Amy Friend, encouraged her towards art photography.

    “The Visual Arts program at Brock offers an abundance of opportunity for one-on-one interactions in class with students and professors,” says Friend.

    Such interactions allow for personalized and concentrated instruction that allow students to reach their potential.

    “Maija flourished in this environment and took advantage of the surrounding community with her interactive installations and thought-provoking course projects,” says Friend.

    Tammi cites the film Five Obstructions, which she first saw in Friend’s course, as particularly influential.

    The 1967 film shows the remaking of the same story five times, each with a different obstruction. This process of rethinking and reframing inspired Tammi.

    “Once you have thought of a concept,” she explains, “you rethink it several times from different perspectives.”

    Tammi was immediately interested in the ways obstructions can encourage creativity and used the idea in her class project, redoing the same photograph multiple times with different obstructions.

    This experience in Friend’s course influenced her approach to photography. She gives herself obstructions, such as limiting her camera gear, to encourage her own creativity.

    Tammi is particularly attracted to portraiture, which she says tells us more about ourselves as viewers of the photograph than the subject of the photo as we project our stereotypes on them.

    One of Them is a Human #1 has attracted a lot of attention in the arts community. Although the Taylor Wessing contest rules state that the subject needs to be alive, Tammi’s photograph was accepted because it raises important questions about what it means to be human.

    “I’m very excited about the conversation that has arisen,” Tammi says. “It is time to think about what it means to be alive.”

    Tammi doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects; she is currently completing a practise-based PhD exploring representations of sickness in art photography.

    “I like topics that are very difficult and people don’t like to talk about,” she says.

    Friend, who exhibited work in the same show as Tammi in New York in August 2015, has been watching her former student’s success closely.

    “Her success is indicative of the connections that many students make with classmates and professors,” Friend says. “When I see opportunities that fit her areas of expertise I send them her way. These are the types of extended interactions that happen when we are given space to know our students.”

    Tammi’s work was one of three finalists chosen from more than 5,717 submissions. Selected submissions, including the shortlisted portraits and competition winner, are on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

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