Articles tagged with: Department of Visual Arts

  • Brock faculty honoured for local arts impact

    St. Catharines Arts Award winners (clockwise from front left) Emily Oriold, Monica Dufault, Kathyrn Sinopoli, Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Amy Friend and Frank Goldspink were recently honoured by the City of St. Catharines. (Photo courtesy of the City of St. Catharines)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The impact of faculty from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is being felt in the local community.

    Amy Friend, Associate Professor and Department of Visual Arts Chair, and Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Music, were each recently honoured during the St. Catharines Arts Awards and recognized for their respective contributions to helping the arts thrive locally.

    Friend received the Established Artist Award during the awards celebration held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Her work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, explores various methodologies through photography, installation and community-based collaborations. The focus of her work fluctuates with investigations relative to history, time, land memory, dust, oceans and connections to the universe.

    “The award is a wonderful nod to the work artists accomplish in this community and there are many of us,” Friend said. “I have grown as an artist in this region and have had opportunities to collaborate with many people. I would like to see even greater and consistent support for the arts in our community and schools. There is an abundance of amazing work happening here, but much more is possible.”

    Rensink-Hoff — Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers — was presented with the Arts in Education Award.

    Her contributions to the local arts community have resulted in many performances and partnerships, including the co-ordination of a performance by the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Singers under the leadership of guest conductor, Kanaka Maoli artist, activist and cultural bearer Jace Kaholokula Sapan.

    “It is a joy to be a part of a thriving arts community here in St. Catharines and I am humbled by this recognition, particularly on the heels of a challenging two and a half years,” Rensink-Hoff said. “I have seen in my students and singers just how life-giving their participation in the arts can be. Their passion and dedication to making music throughout the pandemic has been such a tremendous source of inspiration.”

    A full list of recipients of the St. Catharines Arts Awards is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Student, alumni art exhibition explores time through photography

    Give us a Moment, a Brock student and alumni art exhibit, is on display until Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Visual Arts Gallery of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Using analogue and digital photography, Brock artists are sharing their creative interpretations of memory and time in the University’s latest exhibition.

    Presented by the Department of Visual Arts (VISA), ‘Give us a Moment’ combines these themes, and the etched traces of daily life, through photographs that use old, new and experimental processes.

    Laurie Morrison, both a Brock University Librarian and student in the VISA program, says her work showcased in the exhibition is “intended to bring to mind how the past shapes the present moment.”

    She produced her images through an analogue method, which she describes as both slow moving and unpredictable. It was the uncontrollable nature of the process that she most enjoyed.

    Typical analogue photography consists of film and the use of chemicals to create a reaction producing an image. In this exhibition, the artists explore different methods of production as well as diverse materials for their works.

    “These processes are also erratic and prone to many unexpected results,” Morrison says. “Some artists may find this frustrating, but I find it heightens my interest. The unpredictability becomes part of the journey.”

    For alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22) the exhibition’s title brought with it two separate interpretations.

    “An audience giving their time to examine and explore the artwork validates the artist’s status, and by asking the audience to give us a moment, we are referencing the politics of viewing that dictate an artist’s success,” she says. “Yet in the context of the work each of us are creating, the title takes a new meaning. Each of our works references the past and the passage of time. The title becomes a question asked by the forgotten moments and memories contained within these images.”

    Luth’s inspiration for her experimental processes comes from her endless ambition to discover, create and explore development of photographs.

    “Understanding what makes a photograph is crucial. We can see that photography is all around us and has been throughout all of history,” she says. “There is no single photographic process, but many to be explored — each with their own history and thematic implications.”

    VISA student Emily MacDonald’s work focuses on the time-based photographic process and examines time itself.

    “This show reminds the viewer of the existence of time, whether it is the time they spend with the images or the time that goes into these pieces, as majority of the images are created through a time-based photographic process,” she says.

    MacDonald’s creations revolve around time, memories and space that are significant to her. She applies both analogue and digital processes for her work, noting a distinctive difference with each image she creates using analogue methods.

    “With digital photography, you can shoot a photo as many times as you want. With analogue photography, you must think about the images you take. I sit and look through my viewfinder, observing my subject and the surrounding area until I feel ready to take the photo.”

    Give us a Moment, which is open to the public, will be exhibited until Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, please visit the Current Exhibitions web page.

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  • Local arts awards give nods to Brock faculty

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke engages with a class in her Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games exhibition space.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The nominees for this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards include some familiar faces from the Brock community.

    Associate Professors Rachel Rensink-Hoff, from Brock’s Department of Music, and Amy Friend and Donna Szoke, from the Department of Visual Arts, have each been recognized for their contributions to the arts.

    Rensink-Hoff, who conducts the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and is the Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers, was nominated for the Art in Education Award. The past Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada and past President of Choirs Ontario, she maintains an active career as an adjudicator, workshop clinician and juror both locally and across Canada.

    A woman wearing all black leans against a wall covered in vines.

    Art in Education Award Nominee and Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

    Friend and Szoke were each nominated in the Established Artist Award category.

    Friend, Chair of Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, has exhibited in a generous roster of national and international exhibitions, including the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition (U.K.), Gexto Photofestival (Spain), DongGang Photography Museum (Korea) and many more. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications such as California Sunday Magazine (U.S.), Archeology of Photography – Lux (Poland), Musée Magazine (U.S.) and Wired (U.S.).

    Szoke is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been shown in public art, interactive video installation, outdoor site-specific installation, publications, film festivals and galleries in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. She has received numerous research awards and grants for her work, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017, she was awarded the Brock Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

    A female holds flowers under a tropical shelter with glass and film on a table.

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts

    Chair Amy Friend works on cameraless images in the field.

    Friend and Szoke recently collaborated for a shared exhibition this past summer in conjunction with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Small Movements showcased their two projects, both funded by Brock’s VPR Canada Games Grants.

    City of St. Catharines Cultural Co-ordinator Ashley Judd-Rifkin says the awards celebrate the best of the local artistic community. “The outstanding individuals and organizations that have been nominated for the arts awards are all very deserving. Their commitment, creativity and contributions have made St. Catharines a more beautiful, vibrant and exciting place to live.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be livestreamed from Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. Details for the livestream will be shared through the City’s social media channels closer to the event.

    A full list of nominees is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Brock art exhibition inspired by Canada Games mascot, local wildlife

    Fourth-year Brock Visual Arts student and research assistant Emily MacDonald examines the camera-less photographs created for the Small Movements exhibit.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Many aspects of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have inspired projects across Brock University — and the event’s mascot, Shelly, is no exception.

    The turtle’s impact has gone beyond the Games to influence two Brock projects now being showcased as part of an ongoing exhibition.

    Presented by Brock’s Department of Visual Arts (VISA), in conjunction with the Games, Small Movements highlights the work of Associate Professors Amy Friend and Donna Szoke. The exhibition was funded by the University’s VPR Canada Games grants.

    Szoke’s work, which saw her collaborate with Grade 1 and 2 students at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School in St. Catharines, creates a connection between the 2022 Canada Games, the local community and turtle conservancy.

    As part of the project, students experienced a virtual field trip to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), where they learned about the organization’s important work and visited a hospital for recovering and resident turtles, as well as a nursery with eggs and hatchlings.

    Following their visit, students were given the opportunity to colour their own images of turtles, which were then scanned and animated by VISA fourth-year student Emily MacDonald and alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22). The scanned images were used to create an animation, which was then gifted back to the children, animators, the OTCC and the Canada Games.

    Painted Turtles from Donna Szoke on Vimeo.

    “The children’s approaches to drawing and painting are refreshing in their naiveté, gesture and palette,” says Szoke. “By inventing a platform for generating turtle images created by children, our research-creation team created a turtle animation meant to engage and inspire.”

    Meanwhile, Friend’s project investigates and bridges a connection between sports and Niagara’s regional ecosystems, with a specific focus on turtles. Also inspired by the Canada Games mascot, the project examines watersports that take place in habitats shared with turtles. It includes camera-less photographs, water samples from across the Niagara region, a sound component and digital photography.

    Friend used analogue photo practices to produce camera-less photographs with her creative research team, including research assistants Laurie Morrison and Sarah Martin (BA ’19). Morrison, a first-year VISA student, and Martin, a VISA alumna, worked on capturing and printing the project’s images. Morrison secured light-sensitive photo paper to a kayak, allowing an interaction to take place between paper and water, while Martin collected samples from local waterways and helped to edit and print images with Friend.

    Friend’s work also includes photos that were taken at the surface of the water with a digital camera.

    “The photographs were shot at the water’s surface, precisely where the paddles enter the water and where turtles swim,” she says. “My thought process for this approach was to establish a relationship between the act of paddling or rowing through the water and the movements made by turtles as they move through the water.”

    Research assistant and recent graduate Qiushuang Xia (BA ’22) took photographs across the region’s waterways. Xia also captured the sound component that accompanies the project, recording from some of the same sites that were explored to create the images in the exhibition.

    Small Movements is open now until Oct. 1 at the Marilyn I. Walker Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space. There will be a reception with the artists on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. More information is available on the exhibit web page.

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  • Visual Arts prof commissioned for New York Times Magazine

    Image caption: A process image by Amy Friend, part of her body of work commissioned by The New York Times Magazine in 2021.

    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2022 | by 

    When artist and Brock University Professor Amy Friend was contacted by the deputy art director for The New York Times Magazine inviting her to collaborate on an article, she was immediately intrigued.

    Friend, Chair and Associate Professor of Visual Arts (VISA), was struck by the enduring nature of the theme of the piece — focused on loss — written by author Meg Bernhard, and was thrilled to be commissioned for her photography by the weekly publication boasting 4.4 million print readers and a digital readership of 7.7 million. 

    The article “What if There’s No Such Thing as Closure” discusses the work of social scientist and academic Pauline Boss surrounding various types of loss. Specifically, the 87-year-old scholar is well known for her theory of ‘ambiguous loss’ developed in the 1970s with roots in family psychology.

    Boss’s academic research on the subject has seen a resurgence in relevance and popularity given the world events of the past few years, most notably the COVID-19 global pandemic and associated trauma and loss experienced by many, often without the ability to grieve and mourn as was previously done in many cultures. 

    Friend said the framework of ‘ambiguous loss’ resonated with her because of her recent inability to communicate with her father after he had a stroke.

    A slightly blurred photograph with a man lifting a young child wearing swim trunks up in the air while the child waves his right arm. They are standing against a backdrop of trees and dramatic white lines strike through the image from top to bottom.

    A process image by Amy Friend, part of her body of work
    commissioned by The New York Times Magazine in 2021.

    “This commission bridged with my personal experience given that loss is not necessarily death-specific,” she said.

    Friend worked with the art director in a collaborative manner and greatly enjoyed the creative editorial process.

    “This was particularly engaging for me, as creating art can sometimes be a solitary process,” she said. “I thought through the conversations and responded to the feedback from the NYT Magazine team.”

    Engaging with this type of professional process relates back to the classroom for Friend, as such collaborations introduce students to the possibilities of how fine arts practice integrates with mainstream media. It also demonstrates to aspiring student artists the importance of being paid for the creative work they do.

    “Creative practice enters the world through multiple avenues. It folds into the cultural sector, holds a place in the economy and is a vital component of societal interaction,” said Friend.

    In addition to The New York Times Magazine, Friend recently had her work featured in Aesthetica Magazine from her bodies of work “Tiny Tears Fill An Ocean and Multi-verse,” and Musee Magazine, a photography magazine with a section focusing on women in photography.

    Friend has international exhibitions coming up this spring in Paris at In Camera Gallery and at Bildhalle Gallery in Amsterdam. In June (pending travel restrictions), her work will be shown Ricami Gallery in Trapani, Sicily, where she has been invited to give an artist’s talk to local communities. This would not be her first introduction to the Sicilian culture; she has artwork in the permanent collection in the Foundation Orestiadi in Gibellina.

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  • New Visual Arts course examines the anatomical body in historical texts

    Image caption: VISA 3V91 Inside Out – Revealing the Anatomical Body will examine images of the anatomical body in historical medical texts, such as this wooden female anatomical figure (Europe, 1601-1700) from the Science Museum, London, care of Wellcome Collection under a Creative Commons license.

    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2022 | by 

    A new course open to all Brock University students will critically examine anatomical illustrations throughout history and unpack what these visual representations reveal culturally, socially and artistically.

    Offered in the upcoming Spring/Summer Term, VISA 3V91 — Inside Out — Revealing the Anatomical Body is a new course developed and taught by Linda Carreiro, Associate Dean of Fine and Performing Arts and Professor of Visual Arts.

    Based out of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), VISA 3V91 is offered as a half course and is open to students across campus. No previous art history knowledge or artistic skills are required to enrol.

    Students will critically examine ‘flap anatomy’ found in historical medical and popular texts dating back to the 1500s, whereby images of layers of the body are peeled open to reveal muscle, organs and skeletal structures. Carreiro is interested in how this convention started, how it evolved and what the implications are from a socio-political perspective.

    The evolution of models and images in historical medical texts is a research specialization for Carreiro, and she is thrilled to bring her learnings and insights to Brock students.

    “Some of the images and models are absolutely stunning from an artistic perspective,” she says, “but these devices convey so much more than how the anatomical structures fit together.”

    Carreiro says it is important to examine who ended up on the dissection table in order to create these images, and what these images might reveal about that particular context.

    “Looking at images of public dissection theatres and profiles of anatomists can provide some of these insights,” she says.

    Students can expect to engage in critical readings, discussions and writing, with the opportunity to engage in studio work. Students must have a minimum of 5.0 overall credits and a minimum 60 per cent overall average or permission of the instructor to register for the course.

    Registration for Spring/Summer courses is now open through the Admissions website.

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  • Visual Arts prof creates public art reflecting themes of COVID-19 pandemic

    Image caption: The Breathing Tree by Donna Szoke, made from stainless steel, LED lighting and electronics, was installed in the lobby of OpenText Corporation’s offices in Waterloo.  Photo by Tony Hafkenscheid.

    One of Canada’s biggest software companies recently selected a Brock University professor and artist to create a public art piece reflecting on themes of ‘loss’ during the pandemic.

    Donna Szoke, Associate Professor of Studio Art at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) was chosen by OpenText Corporation to create new artwork dedicated to their employees impacted by the pandemic and pay tribute to the lives lost to COVID-19.

    The Waterloo-based company wanted to commission and support a Canadian artist, and put out a national call for the project in 2021. Szoke was immediately drawn to the unconventional call for public art creation within a corporate context.

    Through a creative and personal exploration of themes related to the pandemic and their impact on mental health, Szoke created her proposal and drawings for The Breathing Tree. Inspired by the concept of ‘box breathing,’ used to calm anxiety, and Szoke’s desire to be in nature, the idea for a back-lit sculpture in the form of a tree came to life.

    The tree sculpture is made of stainless steel that was digitally cut and mounted to the wall in the OpenText lobby that employees pass by every day. The artwork, which appears as a tree and its reflection, invites viewers into a meditative moment while taking in the piece.

    With a resemblance to lungs, the sculpture also connects with the respiratory nature of COVID-19. Lit from the rear, the piece glows with soft purple and blue lights that dim and brighten in six-second intervals. The timed coloured lights subtly invite viewers to breathe along with the tree.

    “As a testament to the lives lost from COVID-19, it gives us an introspective moment with nature, grounding us in our own breathing and our own lived moment where life, loss, love, grief and resilience are inextricably bound,” Szoke said in her artist statement.

    Szoke worked with local fabricator Ramm Design to cut the steel for the sculpture, and with Hamilton-based electrical engineer and artist Jim Ruxton to create the timed electronics lighting the work in a very collaborative process. A holder of a technical diploma in Foundry, Szoke was familiar with the steel material, although the cutting techniques used were new to her.

    Szoke’s artworks become teaching tools for her Studio Art courses. In the Visual Arts course VISA 3Q91 — Research Seminar, Szoke models the process of creating public artwork from design inspiration through to fabrication, including the techniques and tools she employs in the process.

    The virtual opening for The Breathing Tree was held in December, with 10,000 OpenText employees in attendance. The permanent installation includes a plaque sharing details of the piece.

    Szoke has also recently received a Canada Games grant as well as an Ontario Arts Council grant for new work, both coming up in 2022-23.

     

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  • 19th century Niagara revisited through new online exhibits

    Originally posted in The Brock News | MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2021 | by 

    Image caption: “Admiring tourists viewing the falls, from Prospect Point, Niagara, USA.,” Niagara Falls Stereo Cards Collection, RG 599, Brock University Archives and Special Collections.

    Brock University students have journeyed to the past collecting images of Niagara in the 1800s and are showcasing their findings in digital exhibits now on view for the community to enjoy.

    Throughout the Fall Term, students enrolled in VISA 2P90 Art in Revolution: Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture took a deep dive into the visual culture of 19th century Niagara while learning how to use CollectionBuilder, Open Source software used by museums, galleries and libraries around the world to build digital collections.

    Led by Keri Cronin, Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, the idea to build online exhibitions with students was sparked by the Digital Scholarship Institute workshop in May offered by Brock’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL).

    Cronin attended the Digital Scholarship Institute and learned to use the software herself to build online exhibits using basic coding and metadata. She knew the skills would be extremely useful to students.

    “In this contemporary climate, knowing how to build an online presence for an exhibit is a vital, professional skill for students on their career path,” Cronin said. “This is important experiential education — future employers will be impressed.”

    Cronin said bringing the project to fruition was a team effort. The class worked in close collaboration with Digital Scholarship Librarian Tim Ribaric, who supported their technical training on CollectionBuilder. The DSL is the centre of digital scholarship at the University.

    Students also worked with David Sharron, Head of Archives and Special Collections in the Brock University Library, who provided access to the archives for students to research and collect materials from Brock’s digitized collection.

    Sharron said the Library has been digitizing parts of the collections for more than 15 years and when Cronin wanted to develop a major assignment based on these records, it was a quick ‘yes.’

    “There are millions of records that represent Niagara and its history in Archives and Special Collections. It is always a thrill to see what subjects and materials appeal to the modern student and what they can do with them,” said Sharron. “Projects like this bring these historical materials into the digital world in new and exciting ways.”

    Cronin agreed, saying that “traditionally we look at Europe, not Niagara. Students loved engaging with the local history. It gave them an opportunity to learn about key themes relating to 19th century life, art and visual culture.”

    Student Madeline Collins created an online exhibition entitled Modernizing the Landscape – Industrialization at Niagara Falls and called the project unique and illuminating.

    “I’ve never done anything like it,” she said. “Metadata and archival research are kind of like the behind-the-scenes of art history, so it was amazing to get a detailed, hands-on opportunity to try it out.”

    Other examples of student exhibits include Hydroelectric Power Niagara Falls by Ella Sexton examining the relationship between hydroelectricity and Niagara Falls; The Tipped Inkwell by Rachel Stangl looking at 19th century penmanship; A Fond Sigh of Friendship by Abigail Leeder displaying imagery and literature found in a ‘Friendship Journal’; and Don’t Slip and Niagara Fall by Riley Cuddy-Colbon, a collection of images of past extreme winters in Niagara Falls.

    Cronin commended the students for sticking with the project, admitting that CollectionBuilder is a tough platform to use and has its challenges.

    “The students worked through the learning curves, trusted the process, and have created something very special that they will use in their portfolios moving forward.”

    To view all of the student digital exhibits, please visit Cronin’s website.

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  • Visual Arts graduates featured in upcoming exhibition

    Image caption: Artwork featured in Beneath the Skin, an art exhibition opening Nov. 30 showcasing the work of studio-based artists and Rea Kelly and Angelina Turner.

    Originally published MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2021 | by 

    A new exhibition will see the return of two Brock University graduates showcasing their artwork and creative research in the space where they once studied.

    Beneath the Skin runs from Tuesday, Nov. 30 to Saturday, Dec. 18 featuring participating artists and Studio Art graduates Rea Kelly (BA ’21) and Angelina Turner (BA ’21). The opening reception will be held Thursday, Dec. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    The exhibition examines themes related to human anatomy and the psyche with the intention of encouraging audiences to delve deeper into their physical and emotional identities.

    “The theme of my work is rooted in challenging the viewer’s perception of how portraits, and even ‘selfies’ as an extension, are typically used to understand an outward appearance, status and social identity,” said Kelly. “Instead, my work focuses on the internal lived experience.”

    Turner said she took images of anatomy and intertwined them with other natural organisms to highlight the concept of interdependence in the world.

    “Many members of society, especially since the rise of smart technology, speak to feelings of loneliness and isolation,” she said. “But we aren’t alone, and I hope through my work I can show that to viewers.”

    The Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space is located on the first floor of the MIWSFPA at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines. The gallery is open to the Brock community and wider public Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. (September through April).

    Brock students and staff are encouraged to RSVP through ExperienceBU to attend the exhibition and opening reception. All Brock University protocols apply including mandatory full COVID-19 vaccination and masks for all visitors. Community visitors are asked to enter the building through the main entrance for check-in at the Security desk.

    Questions can be directed to the Visual Arts Gallery at visagallery@brocku.ca

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  • Brock Visual Arts Gallery showcasing work from students and faculty reopens

    Image caption: Visual Arts students view works of art from faculty exhibition Apart We Were Together, the first in-person art show to be held in the Visual Arts Gallery since it closed due to the pandemic.

    Originally published in The Brock News on | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2021 | by 

    After a year and half, the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) has recently reopened its doors to the Brock University community and wider public to view in-person exhibitions.

    The latest show running in the gallery is a student exhibition featuring the work of Visual Arts students Sarah Formosa and Rabia Choudhary. Intricate Connections (Sarah Formosa); Unruly Growth (Rabia Choudary) opened Thursday, Oct. 21 and runs until Nov. 19.

    Choudhary called it “thrilling” to be sharing her work publicly.

    “These pieces were created during the pandemic and explore my struggles with identity, and coming to terms with who I am,” she said. “It is such a privilege to share my work with the Brock community.”

    Formosa agrees that sharing her work in a public show is an exciting opportunity.

    “I have officially heard my first gasp from a child, entering a space that holds something that I’ve created,” she said. “I hope visitors enjoy these works and that there might be an opportunity to leave the gallery having gained another perspective on life.”

    The first exhibition to be mounted in the space was a Visual Arts faculty exhibition opened in September entitled Apart We Were Together. Exhibiting artists were Associate Professor and Visual Arts Department Chair Amy Friend, Associate Professor Derek Knight, Assistant Professor Troy David Ouellette and Associate Professor Donna Szoke.

    The concept of the show was loosely borrowed from celebrated author and philosopher Jacques Rancière’s book The Emancipated Spectator, which explores the idea of ‘apart we were together’ investigating outcomes when an artist is separated from their work and the viewer.

    The exhibition included photography, video projections and multimedia installations made of fibre-optic cable. Exhibiting artists drew on pandemic-related themes for their works such as separation, the loss of connection, solidarity and nostalgia.

    As stated in the Exhibition Introduction, the artists acknowledged that even with the closure of galleries, theatres and other areas of cultural production during the pandemic, there was always the possibility of “wonderment and dialogue” within the arts.

    The ‘apart we were together’ theme underscored the importance of solidarity, especially during challenging times. Though the in-person exhibition has closed,  a virtual exhibition can be viewed online.

    The Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space is located on the first floor of the MIWSFPA at 15 Artists Common in downtown St. Catharines. The gallery is open to the Brock community and wider public Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. September through April.

    Brock students and staff are encouraged to RSVP through ExperienceBU to attend the exhibition. All Brock University protocols apply including mandatory full COVID-19 vaccination and masks for all visitors. The visiting public is asked to enter the building through the main entrance for check-in at the Security Desk.

    Questions can be directed to the Visual Arts Gallery at visagallery@brocku.ca

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