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 Gillian Minaker
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 firstname.lastname@example.org