News

  • Jan. 18, 2021: Walker Cultural Leaders Series features artists Jamelie Hassan & Ron Benner

    The Walker Cultural Leader Series continues in 2021, beginning with an engaging talk from artists Jamelie Hassan and Ron Benner on Monday, Jan. 18. The series continues in a virtual format for the 2021 season.

    Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at 7 p.m.

    View the presentation premiere and join in the chat on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts YouTube channel.

    Jamelie Hassan, born in London, Ontario, of Arabic background, is a visual artist and long-time member of CARFAC who is also active as a lecturer, writer, and independent curator. She has organized both national and international programs including Orientalism and Ephemera, a national touring exhibition, originally presented at Art Metropole, Toronto and most recently Dar’a/Full Circle for Artcite Inc. Windsor, ON. She was one of the founders of two artist-run centres in London, Ontario: the Forest City Gallery (1973-present) and the Embassy Cultural House (1983-1990). Her work is represented in numerous public collections in Canada and internationally, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC ; and the Library of Alexandria ,Alexandria, Egypt. Other recent projects and group exhibitions where her works have been featured include, Here: Contemporary Canadian Art, curated by Swapnaa Tamhane, Aga Khan Museum (2017); Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971 -1989, curated by Wanda Nanibush, Art Gallery of Ontario (2016 – 2017); In Order to Join: the Political in a Historical Moment, organized by Museum Abteilberg in Monchengladbach, Germany (2013-14) and Mumbai, India (2015). Receipient of numerous awards, in  2001 she received the Govenor General’s Award in Visual Arts and in 2018 an honorary doctorate from OCAD University, Toronto. For more information visit:www.jameliehassan.ca 

    Ron Benner is an internationally recognized, London, Ontario – based artist whose longstanding practice investigates the history and political economy of food cultures. Benner originally studied agriculture engineering at the University of Guelph 1969/70. Finding himself ethically opposed to industrial agriculture and bioengineering, he began to travel and research the politics of food. In 1995, he began working with Rural Advancement Foundation International, Ottawa (RAFI). In 2000 he was awarded the Canada Council Studio in Paris. In 2005 he participated in Art, Geography and Invisibility at an international geography symposium in Olot, Catalonia, the University of Barcelona, Spain. In 2010 he was appointed Adjunct Research Professor in the Visual Arts Department, Western University, London, ON. Ron Benner’s mixed media installation works, including commissions of  photographic-garden installations, have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at Museum London, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Western University, London, Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario and many other galleries, museums and cultural institutions in Canada and internationally. His work is included in numerous public collections both in Canada and internationally including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. He has recently been appointed artist in residence in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, 2020-2023. 

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, Walker Cultural Leader

  • Brock Mitacs award winner takes a closer look at online conspiracy theories

    Originally published in  The Brock News  FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2020 | by 

    The images we encounter in everyday life have always had an important role to play in our lives. Now, as many daily activities have moved online, these images have the ability to reach a global audience thanks to digital technology.

    But how has this online shift affected the visual culture of conspiracy theories, and what are the implications for society during a pandemic?

    Brock University fourth-year student Ian Ball is examining these questions as part of his research on visual culture and online conspiracy theoriesBall is pursuing a double major in the History of Art and Visual Culture and Dramatic Arts and is a recipient of a Mitacs Research Training Award which he received in the summer.

    Guiding the research project is Linda Steer, Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    In his research, Ball has been collecting and analyzing visual images associated with online conspiracy theories. His interest in the subject stems from his area of study, a deep interest in folklore as well as being a fan of the science fiction genre.

    Through the examination and analysis of the images used in relation to conspiracy theories on popular social networking sites, including Facebook and Reddit, Ball has discovered some of the effects these images have on viewers and the emotional responses produced.

    According to Ball, this is especially timely given the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty people have been experiencing.

    “A world event that is disrupting the status quo, a lack of control socially, politically, intellectually or in our personal lives, all have the potential to make us feel uncertain,” says Ball. “Research has shown that these factors might play a significant role in conspiratorial beliefs.”

    Ball had originally considered writing an essay on this topic, but Steer suggested a blog because of the accessibility it offers readers.

    “It has been great to supervise Ian’s fascinating and timely research project,” Steer says. “In a world that feels unstable, where we are isolated and looking to social media for answers, images have a lot of power.”

    Ball’s research has uncovered themes relating conspiracy theories to collective experiences of fear, society’s want for protection, and the instinctual desire for control. His project is adding to the discourse on the visual culture of conspiratorial beliefs, a research area that Steer says is fairly new and still developing.

    “It is important that we understand how visual images create meaning: how and why they become attached to certain ideas and how those ideas circulate,” she says.

    Graduating in 2021, Ball plans to use this research project as a foundation for his master’s thesis, looking at the relationships between folklore, visual culture, social messaging, critical thinking and misinformation.

    Visit Ball’s research blog to learn more about the outcomes of his work.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock students create innovative video art in the age of COVID-19

    Caption: Pictured above, Brock students create pandemic video art for class VISA/IASC 2PN7 “Video Art”. Clockwise from top left: Lindsay Liboiron, Isolation; Ama Okafor, A Little Adjustment; Christy Mitchell, Saudade; Jamie Wong, Screen Recording 2020-11-04 at 1.46.14PM.mp4

    As most learning this fall has happened through a screen, Brock arts students have picked up their cameras to explore the new look of video art during a pandemic.

    Students taking Video Art (VISA/IASC 2P97) are virtually screening their reflective and experiential videos in a new series entitled “Video Art in the Age of COVID-19” that can now be viewed on the Department of Visual Arts website and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) YouTube channel.

    This project is led by Donna Szoke, media artist and Associate Professor in Studio Art at the MIWSFPA and supported by an Experiential Education grant from the Centre of Pedagogical Innovation at Brock University.

    As part of the creative and academic process to create the videos, students considered how the pandemic has changed video art and how new visual interfaces have marked this shift. They critically examined the new video aesthetic of the COVID-19 era, and how this has changed perceptions of individuality and collectivity.

    To watch the student-created videos and learn more about their research, please visit the project webpage Video Art in the Age of COVID-19.

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  • Visual Arts graduate wins coveted Audain Travel Award

    Pictured above: Brock graduate Brittany Reitzel, winner of the The Audain Travel Award 2020.

    In October of 2020, artist Brittany Reitzel (BA ’16, BA’ 19) received some very exciting news. The Brock graduate was named an honoured recipient of the prestigious Audain Travel Award for her series of works “Wallflowers”, small ceramic sculptures that document the cohesion of body and environmental expression.

    As part of her submission, Reitzel has proposed educational travel to Japan in the summer of 2021 to explore the practice and history of ceramic art. There she will meet with leading professors in ceramics education at the University of Tokyo and visit the renowned pottery towns of Mashiko, Arita and Hagi.

    The trip will conclude at Akasawa Natural Recreational Forest where she will complete a forest-bathing experience in which participants walk the forest to engage with the natural environment. Connecting to place and land is a key theme of Reitzel’s practice.

    “The research I will complete will aid me to further understand the history of ceramics as a material, and explore the ways clay, body and land are connected outside of Western perceptions”, she says. “This trip will help me further engage with how an area’s resources can impact artistic work”.

    Reitzel graduated from the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) at Brock University achieving a BA Honours, Major in Visual Art (2016) and Studio Art (2019). Currently, Reitzel is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia. She lives and practices her art in the Okanagan Valley, engaging with the land she studies on.

    “My art practice focuses on translating sensorial input of the experiences I have with the natural environment here in the Okanagan. I believe the more I can synchronize with the rhythm of nature, the stronger my work becomes”, she reflects.

    This process is extremely important to Reitzel. She expresses that she is a visitor on unceded Sylix lands and wishes to practice her art consciously and work in relation to her surroundings.

    During her time at Brock, Reitzel gained valuable learning experiences and mentorship from the faculty at the Department of Visual Arts. From her first impactful “art school” moment engaging with red clay, to discovering the power of experimental photography, this artist credits her rich experience at the MIWSFPA with giving her the opportunity to dig into her practice and grow as an artist.

    Although travel plans are on hold for now, Reitzel is busy working on her thesis MFA show, and scouting the terrain of the Okanagan for local clay to work with for future shows. Looking ahead, Reitzel is also working on applications for future artist residencies.

    Amid the uncertainty of 2020, Reitzel continues to move forward with her flourishing career, acknowledging the importance of collected experiences. She plans to be an educator in the future and is motivated to keep learning and creating.

    “I think life experience is so important for an artist, and vital to developing your work.”

    The Audain Travel Award, supported by the Audain Foundation in British Columbia, awards $7,500 annually to five students at the undergraduate or graduate level attending one of the partnering institutions. These include the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Okanagan, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design. This prestigious award encourages travel to view and study art, allowing honourees the opportunity to engage with different artist communities worldwide. (Source: audainprize.com/travel award).

    Brittany Reitzel scultpture

    Wallflower 4, porcelain, 10″ x 4″ by Brittany Reitzel, part of “Wallflowers” series

  • Walker Cultural Leaders Series: John Fekner, street and multimedia artist

    Next up in the 2020-21 Walker Cultural Leaders Series is famed street and multimedia artist, John Fekner.

    WALKER CUlTURAL LEADER: John Fekner

    • Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020
    • Presentation live at 7:00 p.m. on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts YouTube channel

    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA) is thrilled to present this compelling conversation between Fekner and Denise St. Marie. Fekner is a street and multimedia artist, who created hundreds of environmental, social, political, and conceptual works consisting of stenciled words, symbols, dates, and icons painted outdoors around the world. Since 1968, Fekner has addressed issues involving concepts of perception and transformation, as well as specific environmental and sociological concerns such as urban decay, greed, chemical pollution, mass media, and tributes to North America Indigenous Peoples. 

    “The social injustice and environmental issues we face today have roots in the civil rights and protests movements of the 60s’. As an undergraduate college student in New York (1968-1972), I participated in student demonstrations and peaceful moratoriums against the war in Vietnam. The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) spread through university and college campuses throughout the United States and the entire world”, Fekner says. “Grassroots organizations always do the footwork, shining the light of truth through the thick hedge of falsehoods and lies in our mainstream political dialogue. Most importantly, the solutions they seek are not expedient but are foundational in improving conditions for generations to come. In every instance, they challenge the fabricated narratives of the powers that be.”   

    More information about the Walker Cultural Leaders available online.

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  • Celebrated artist Birthe Piontek opens 2020-21 Walker Cultural Leader Series

    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA) is excited to announce the first offering of the 2020-21 Walker Cultural Leader Series (WCL). Artist and accomplished photographer Birthe Piontek will take the WCL virtual spotlight on an easily accessible digital platform:

    Walker Cutural leader: Birthe Piontek

    • Thursday, October 1, 2020
    • Presentation live at 11:00am on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts YouTube channel

    Born and raised in Germany, Birthemoved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. Birthe’s art practice explores the relationship between memory and identity, with a particular interest in the topic of female identity and its representation in our society. Her primary focus is photography, but she also utilizes other art forms like installation, sculpture and collage to investigate to what degree our complex identities can be visualized. 

    Her work has been exhibited internationally, in both solo and group shows, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany. 

    Birthe’s project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009 and was published as a monograph in 2011. Her most recent work, Abendlied, received the Edward Burtynsky Grant in 2018 and was nominated by Time Magazine as one of the best photo books in 2019. 

    Birthe is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the Audain Faculty of Art at  Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and a member of the  Cake Collective. 

    For this year’s WCL Series, Birthe is joined by an inspiring list of artists, innovators and cultural influencers who will be sharing their perspectives. For more information on the event details, please visit the full WCL Series listing. 

    Department of Visual Arts upcoming WCL virtual events:

    • John Fekner – November 1, 2020
    • Jamelie Hassan & Ron Benner – January 11, 2021
    • Johnathan Forrest – February 1, 2021

     

     

     

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  • New podcast challenges ideas of history of Western art

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  • Fall Visa Art Stores & Equipment Kiosk Announcement.

    We are happy to announce Visa student access to the services of the Visa Art Stores & Equipment Kiosk for the coming semester has been approved by Brock Administration. Students will access these services on-line and will be able to pick up their materials orders or loan requests in person in the MWS151 Foundation Studio. Please enter the MIWSFPA via the main lobby entrance (east end), bring a mask and have your Brock ID with you. This service will commence Monday, September 14.

    How to file your orders/loans:

    Kiosk loan requests are done by visiting this link:
    https://brocku.ca/miwsfpa/visual-arts/programs/visual-arts-facilities/equipment-request-form/

    Art Stores materials requests are done by emailing the Visa Art Stores at: VisaArtStores@brocku.ca
    Important note re. Art Stores orders: Art Stores orders are only available to students who have studio fee funds remaining on account from previous years. As first year students (ie. Visa 1p93, 1p95, 1p96 etc.) do not have funds remaining on account they are not able to order materials.

    Once you’ve filed your request it will be processed and you will be emailed when it is ready for pickup in MWS151. Loan/order pickups are available on the following days in MWS151:

    Mondays: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Tuesdays: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Wednesdays: 9:00 am to 1:00 & 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
    Thursdays: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Welcome to Visual Arts: Orientation for 2020!

    (a screen shot from the welcome by Professor Shawn Serfas. Watch the video below.)


    Brock University is launching the first-ever Virtual Welcome Week.
    During this year of the pandemic the Orientation activities are all online.
    Watch the welcome below and visit the official Orientation page for all the details!


    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA)

    Welcome new VISA students to our asynchronous orientation video! It’s always nice to put a name to face, so we took some time to prepare this video, so that you can get acquainted with some of the awesome people in the Department of Visual Arts. We look forward to meeting you in person in the near future. Stay safe, VISA.

    Professor Shawn Serfas, Chair of the Department will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Teams.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)


    The Department of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture are all part of the Faculty of Humanities.

    The Associate Dean, Dr. Neta Gordon, Professor of English, welcomes you to Brock University! She’s prepared an 11 minute video to introduce to you to the Faculty of Humanities:


    Michael Gicante is your Academic Advisor for studies at the MIWSFPA.
    He prepared this video for the April open House:


    Koreen McCullough is the Experiential Education Coordinator for the Faculty of Humanities.
    Watch her 3 minute presentation about Experiential Education opportunities at Brock University:


    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, the MIWSFPA is home to four academic programs. We are right next door to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on the main street of St. Catharines, St. Paul.

    Each program at the MIWSFPA is offering a special welcome to their students.  For example, if you are a beginning your studies as a major in Dramatic Arts, check out what that Department has scheduled for you and plan to join in the fun.  You are also welcome to join the activities of each program at the School even if you are only taking one course or beginning a minor program.  The activities and welcome messages from each program are listed below.

    Professor David Vivian, of the Department of Dramatic Arts (he teaches design and production for theatre), is the Director of the School:

    David will be hosting office hours on September 8, 2020, from 12-3:00 pm,on Teams.
    Drop in and say hi! (click here)


    We all wish you a very successful year at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

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  • Brock receives $655,000 to support early-stage research

    an excerpt from the article originally published in The Brock News on THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2020 | by Cathy Majtenyi

    Brock University researchers have been awarded more than $655,000 in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant program.

    “We are happy but in no way surprised by this level of success,” says Brock University Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon. “SSHRC’s investment in our researchers and scholars continues to enable Brock University to develop and contribute expertise on topics and problems of importance to society.”

    The 11 researchers and their projects receiving funding are spread out over the Faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and the Goodman School of Business.

    This year’s recipients of SSHRC’s Insight Development Grants are:

    • Antony Chum, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Understanding disparities in substance-use related crisis across sexual orientations in Canada”
    • Keri Cronin, Faculty of Humanities, “Navigating Niagara’s human-animal history”
    • William Hall, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Climates of inclusion: Creating positive interpersonal dynamics in STEM”
    • Valerie Michaelson, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “How do Indigenous undergraduate students experience the decolonization and reconciliation initiatives that are taking place in their university? A participatory action research study
    • Sylvia Grewatsch, Goodman School of Business, “Reimagining the role of government in catalyzing solutions to grand challenges: Lessons from a 20-year experiment”
    • Amna Mirza, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Do oral language skills predict reading acquisition? Profiles of EL1 and ELL second and third grade children and their response to vocabulary intervention”
    • Elizabeth Greene, Faculty of Humanities, “Entangled mobilities across the Mediterranean: Archaeologies of migrant displacement
    • Jason Hawreliak, Faculty of Humanities, “Accessible scholarship: Examining the role and impact of middle-state publishing in game studies”
    • Kemi Anazodo, Goodman School of Business, “A second chance in sight: Employer perspectives of employment for individuals with a criminal history”
    • Colin Rose, Faculty of Humanities, “Mapping the crimescape of renaissance Florence”
    • Shawna Chen, Goodman School of Business, “From thinking to doing to being: Women entrepreneurs and experiential programs”

    Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and ideas. Funding is provided for short-term research development projects of up to two years that are proposed by individuals or teams.

    Congratulations to Dr. Keri Cronin, Associate Dean, Faculty of Humanities (Research & Graduate Studies), Director, Humanities Research Institute
    Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence, 2019-2022 and Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts!

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