Articles tagged with: Donna Szoke

  • Term to culminate in student art exhibitions at Rodman Hall

    Visual Arts students, from left, Gianna Aceto, Emma Mary Sked, Amber Williams, Cynthia Richards, Teresa Badgley and Sarah Martin will have their exhibitions on view in two back-to-back exhibitions beginning Friday, March 22 at Rodman Hall Art Centre.


    (From The Brock News, March 20, 2019 | by Sarah Ackles)

    After spending a semester immersed in studio practice, six Brock Visual Arts students are bringing two unique exhibitions to Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    At the Bottom of Everything runs from Saturday, March 23 to April 7 and features the work of Cynthia Richards, Emma Mary Sked and Amber Lee Williams. There will be an opening reception for the exhibition on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m.

    The second exhibition, oh, that’s nice, features Gianna Aceto, Teresa Badgley and Sarah Martin. It will be on view from Saturday, April 13 to 28, with the opening reception taking place on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m.

    The two exhibitions are the culmination of the VISA 4F06 Honours Studio course, where students engage in the entire process of art making, from concept and creation to exhibition.

    The course is a unique experiential learning opportunity that gives artists access to a dedicated studio space with professional mentors. The students learn the value of their individual work in a collaborative event and, upon graduation, become practising artists with practical experience putting on a show in a professional art gallery.

    Students in the course were mentored by Visual Arts Associate Professors Donna Szőke and Shawn Serfas.

    The students were also visited in studio by Acting Director and Curator Marcie Bronson, of Rodman Hall; Associate Professors Derek Knight and Amy Friend; Adjunct Professors Donna Akrey and Candace Couse; professional artists Alejandro Cartagena and Heather Hart; and Brock alumni Bruce Thompson (BA ’11) and Natalie Hunter (BA ’11), who all provided critique and insight to help students fine-tune and focus their work.

    Rodman Hall’s Administrative Assistant Danny Custodio and Installation Assistant Lauren Regier (BA ’14) also offered support and guidance.

    Exhibitions like these are a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate to build connections between the community and the breadth of talent and creativity at Brock University.

    “If collectively their goal is to develop a focused body of work from concept to public exhibition, then these two unique exhibits capture the exceptional vitality and daring of the emerging artist,” Knight said.

    Both exhibitions and opening receptions take place at Rodman Hall Art Centre, 109 St. Paul Cres. in St. Catharines.

    Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

    For more information, visit the Rodman Hall Art Centre website.

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Events, News

  • Brock prof unveils Invisible Histories at Toronto exhibition

    Invisible Histories, by Brock researcher and Visual Arts Chair, Professor Donna Szoke, is installed at the John B. Aird Gallery and CONTACT Gallery in Toronto until Nov. 23. Her work is pictured above: Donna Szoke, Invisible HistoriesGeo-loactive smart phone/tablet app, 2015


    (From The Brock News, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 | By: )

    The work of Brock Professor Donna Szoke on the hidden history of nuclear waste is being featured in a Toronto group exhibition that opened last week.

    Szoke, a researcher and Visual Arts Chair, has her work on display as part of Digital Animalities — a two-venue exhibition of artworks that examines how human-animal understandings and relationships are changing through the use of ubiquitous media and new technologies.

    The exhibition is part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada(SSHRC)-funded research project titled “Digital Animalities: Media Representations of Nonhuman Life in the Age of Risk,” led by Jody Berland of York University.It brings the work of artists and researchers together to highlight the challenges and opportunities for new understandings of animals in contemporary digital culture.

    Co-curated by Giovanni Aloi, Matthew Brower and Curatorial Assistant Seb Roberts, Digital Animalities divided the works into two exhibitions: Mapping (at the James B. Aird gallery) and Rendering (at CONTACT Gallery).

    Szoke’s Invisible Histories (a geolocative smartphone/tablet app she developed in 2015) is featured in the Mapping exhibition.

    The free app maps nuclear waste at a Niagara Falls, N.Y., storage site, where more than 270,000 mice used in radioactive experiments have been buried.The app brings public awareness to the fact that there is radioactive evidence of secret atomic testing that took place during the infamous Manhattan Project in Niagara.

    Users are guided through the app to the rodent burial site through the leadership of green, glowing 3D mice that become more prevalent on-screen as the site grows near.Szoke said it’s ironic, because no one actually wants to go towards nuclear waste, but the mice guide users to their graves to reveal their tragic end.

    Szoke was awarded the 2017 Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

    Her artistic work includes media art, interactive animation, installation, drawing, experimentation and printmaking.

    Digital Animalities runs at the John B. Aird Gallery and CONTACT Gallery in Toronto until Nov. 23.  The Invisible Histories app is available for free download at the iTunes store (OsX) and Google Play (Android).

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Beloved Visual Arts staffer inspires Art History award

    Lesley Bell, right, sits with Visual Arts Chair Donna Szőke, one final time in the Learning Commons at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts before Bell’s retirement. The department marked her retirement with the creation of the Lesley Bell Award, to be presented to the Art History student entering third year with the highest average.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)
    When you walk into the Learning Commons at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), you are greeted by the always-smiling face of Lesley Bell.

    The long-time Co-ordinator enthusiastically helps students, staff and faculty alike on their quests for knowledge, is always eager to explain how a piece of software works and has no shortage of stories to share about art, the University or life in general.

    It is her passion for the work that she does, and for the people she works with, that inspired the Visual Arts Department to pay tribute to Bell’s legacy with a student award named in her honour.

    Created in recognition of her retirement at the end of August, the new Lesley Bell Award will be presented annually to the third-year History of Art and Visual Culture major with the highest average.

    Donna Szőke, Chair of the Visual Arts Department, said the award is a fitting way to recognize student accomplishment as well as Bell’s time with Brock, both academically and professionally.

    “Lesley has been an invaluable resource to our department,” she said.  “Her constant generosity of spirit, curiosity and kindness has touched the lives of the many students, instructors and staff of Visual Arts, as well as Brock as a whole. We celebrate Lesley with this award.”

    Bell, who has been employed with Brock for 34 years, is the longest-serving staff member in the Visual Arts Department.

    She remembers her journey through the ranks at Brock fondly, starting from her decision to enrol as a student in 1983.

    While working part time as a waitress, Bell would always share her love of the arts with her coworkers. As a mature student in her 30s, however, she was skeptical about going back to school.

    After some prodding from coworkers — and realizing there was a night class at Brock that she could attend which wouldn’t interfere with her work schedule — she decided to enrol.

    “I started an art history class with Sylvia Osterbind, a fine arts librarian who also taught the Art History course for a fledgling program in History and Studio Arts at Brock,” Bell recalled. “Sylvia was a formidable teacher. I sat at the back of the class and watched her stride in front of two projected images of ancient art in her sensible shoes, waving her pointer and lecturing with her succinct German accent.”

    From that point on, Bell was “hooked.” She would close down the bar, working until the wee hours of the morning, and then wake up for early morning seminars.

    “I suddenly noticed ‘classical’ architectural elements on the buildings on St. Paul Street when riding the bus home from Brock, and I met some people who are still important friends,” she recalls fondly. “I started Brock thinking I was not smart enough for university, but that course showed me that I had a mind that could ask questions, and I had eyes that could see the creative world around me.”

    After graduating with an Honours B.A. in Visual Arts from Brock University in 1988, Bell then continued her studies and earned a Master of Library Science degree from Western University in 1993.

    From there, she returned to the place where it all started and began working at Brock as a Visual Arts resource co-ordinator.

    Over time, her job would evolve to include oversight of the Brock University Art Collection and the former Sean O’Sullivan Art Gallery on the main campus.

    Bell would eventually conceive and help design the Learning Commons in the new MIWSFPA building in downtown St. Catharines, where her duties expanded to include managing the equipment kiosk and supervising student monitors. She constantly worked to develop opportunities for the space to further benefit students and the community, and never stopped striving to make it a more inclusive place to study and congregate.

    Bell is not one to boast about her accomplishments or bask in the spotlight, however. Especially, she says, when she was simply “doing her job.”

    But when it comes to the student award in her honour, she is proud that her legacy will serve to inspire future students to also pursue their passions.

    “I don’t know if I can say this emphatically enough: this award means more to me than the decades of service to Brock and is a legacy that actually stuns me,” she said. “We are all here because of the students that we train, nurture and mentor.  However, we seldom get a chance to know that we ‘make a difference.’ So, it is deeply significant to me to be given this gift from the department.”


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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Symposium to focus on depictions of animals in literature, art and society

    Visual Arts Professor Donna Szoke will be awarded with the Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity at the HRI Spring Symposium on Tuesday, April 17. Szoke’s work with animals includes her current piece, Midst, which uses video projectors and fog machines to create animations of large animals on a wall of fog.

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, April 09, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    The Elephant in the Room will be the topic of discussion next week at the annual Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Spring Symposium on Tuesday, April 17.

    This year’s theme, “The Elephant in the Room: Making Space for Animals in Our Research and Teaching” explores the use and depictions of animals in history, literature, art and society. Faculty members from the Faculties of Humanities and Social Science will share their work on critical animal studies and human-animal studies.

    Symposium organizer Associate Professor Keri Cronin hopes this year’s topic will bring together researchers from across the University to start important interdisciplinary conversations and make the work already being done more visible.

    “Brock is, in my opinion, the place to be for animal studies,” says Cronin. “But because those of us researching and teaching these topics are so spread out and scattered across campus, it’s hard to get a sense of just how deep this research runs.”

    These HRI events are essential to maintaining the Faculty of Humanities’ sense of community, says Michael Carter, Associate Dean of Humanities and Director of the Humanities Research Institute.

    “The symposia provide wonderful opportunities for interaction and mutual support of our diverse research and creative agenda,” he says.

    The HRI was created to encourage the development of research programs and initiatives within the Faculty, as well as to generate public awareness of the diversity of humanities research by faculty and graduate students.

    This year, Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke will be awarded the 2017 Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity at the symposium. Szoke’s artistic work includes media art, interactive animation, installation and printmaking.

    Szoke’s multidisciplinary work has included creating a free smartphone app, “Invisible Histories,” which maps nuclear waste at the Niagara Falls, N.Y. Storage Site, where more than 270,000 mice used in radioactive experiments have been buried.

    More recent work by Szoke has included “Bold as Love,” a site-specific response piece at Rodman Hall Art Centre, and “Knitting Cigarettes,” an ongoing performance art piece of public knitting.

    The 2017 HRI Spring Colloquium will be held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Tuesday, April 17. The full schedule is available online.

    What: HRI Spring Symposium, “The Elephant in the Room: Making Space for Animals in Our Research and Teaching”

    Where: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    When: Tuesday, April 17, 1 to 4:30 p.m.

    Limited parking available on site. Members of the Brock University community and guests are welcome to park on a first-come first-served basis. City parking lots are available nearby.
    See www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages.asp

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Rodman Hall hosts Visual Arts honours exhibitions

    The opening reception for the first instalment of the honours exhibitions on Friday, March 23 drew a large crowd to the Rodman Hall Art Centre. Photo: Danny Custodio.

    Graduating students from the Honours Studio course (VISA 4F06) have been busy all semester creating their pieces for the two-part Brock University Department of Visual Arts Honours Exhibition. Students were mentored by Rodman Hall Art Centre gallery staff and Visual Arts Professors Donna Szoke, Shawn Serfas, Derek Knight, and Donna Akrey.

    The first instalment of the honours exhibition: Just Resting My Eyes is currently on display at the Rodman Hall Art Centre (109 St. Paul Crescent). The current exhibition features work from students: Denise Apostolatos, Victoria Morinello, Jill Newman, Jacob Primeau, and Aaron Thompson.

    These honours exhibitions are vital to students’ education in the Brock Visual Arts program because “the nature, purpose and intended outcome of Honours Studio is that once the students graduate from the art program, they become practicing artists. Art making, as a practice of research-creation, is inherently experiential learning” says Szoke.

    The collaboration with the professional team of the Rodman Hall Art Centre is a essential learning experience for Brock Visual Arts students. Akrey says the Rodman Hall staff’s “consultation with each student teaches them the importance of the entire process of art making and exhibiting, and the importance of their individual work in a collaborative event.” Serfas adds that the importance of having Rodman Hall embedded into the Bachelor of Arts program is that “it gives our students a distinctive experiential learning opportunity.”

    Knight says that the audience can expect to see “broad cultural themes with emphasis on the impact of mass media, environmental or social issues” throughout the work created by these honours students in this two-part exhibit.

    The second instalment, Turnin’ This Car Around, is set to be exhibited from Saturday, April 14 to Sunday, April 29, with the opening reception on Friday, April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. This upcoming exhibit will feature pieces by Rachel Dove, Lauren Mucciarone, Victoria Reid, Brittany Thomas-Clapp, and Lorraine Zandvliet.

    For more information about Rodman Hall Art Centre and their programs see brocku.ca/rodman-hall


    see the article by John Law in the St.Catharines Standard: Brock’s top art students gather for one last show

    see the video report by Stephen Parr for YourTV Niagara

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  • HRI Spring Term Symposium: The Elephant in the Room

    Image: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals.

    The Humanities Research Institute will be hosting its Spring Symposium on Tuesday, April 17, 12:30 to 4:30 pm at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts room 406. The public is welcome to attend! No registration required.

    This year’s theme, “The Elephant in the Room: Making Space for Animals in Our Research and Teaching,” explores the use and depictions of animals in history, literature, art, and society. Faculty members from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Science will share their work on various aspects of animal studies, including critical animal studies and human-animal studies.

    Opening remarks: Michael Carter, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities

    Session I: 1:00 p.m.

    Chair: Keri Cronin (Visual Arts)

    • John Bonnett (History), “Turns, Convergences and De-Stabilization: Is the Animal turn the next Big Thing in History?”
    • Barbara Seeber (English Language & Literature), “Animals and the Country House Tradition Revisited in Mary Leapor and Jane Austen”
    • Elizabeth Neswald (History), “Feeding the Dog”
    • Adam Dickinson (English Language & Literature), “Anatomic: Microbes, Chemicals, and Metabolic Poetics in the Anthropocene”

    Coffee/tea break: 2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

    Session II: 2:45 p.m.

    Chair: Keri Cronin (Visual Arts)

    • Kendra Coulter (Labour Studies), “The Elephants are Working: Animals, Labour, and Care”
    • Keri Cronin (Visual Arts), “Surveillance or Sanctuary?: The Power and Potential of Live Cams for Humane Education”
    • Lauren Corman (Sociology), “Vile Creatures: Abject Animals at the Limits of Society and Culture”

    Presentation of Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity to Professor Donna Szoke

    Donna Szoke (Visual Arts), “Invisible Animals”

    Closing remarks: Carol Merriam, Dean, Faculty of Humanities

    Limited parking available on site. Members of the Brock University community and guests are welcome to park on a first-come first-served basis. City parking lots are available nearby.
    See www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages.asp

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors

  • Donna Szoke’s work featured in New Media Caucus.

    Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts, Donna Szoke’s work is discussed in the on-line journal New Media Caucus in an article by Lisa Moren, Professor of Visual Art and Graduate Program Director of Intermedia + Digital Art, MFA Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County [UMBC]. Her interactive video installation and all watched over by machines of loving grace is a humorous intervention in the dystopian reality of contemporary dataveillance and societies of control.

    Image courtesy of Tim Nohe.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News