Articles by author: gminaker

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

  • 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: 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.


    • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Walker Cultural Leader

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader

  • New podcast challenges ideas of history of Western art

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    Categories: Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, News, Podcast, Uncategorised