Events

  • Exhibition explores link between childhood trauma and mental illness

    Emma Mary Sked’s childhood greatly impacted her mental health as an adult.

    And now, the Brock Visual Arts student is channelling her life experiences into a new exhibition opening Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Maybe You Should Drive is a mixed media exhibition featuring a collection of art books and brightly coloured fabric animals depicting the fragility and comfort of childhood, and the lived experience of adults with mental illness.

    The exhibition features work that culminated from the artist’s studies in the VISA 3F99 Independent Study course at MIWSFPA. Sked completed the project under the guidance of Visual Arts Associate Professor Shawn Serfas.

    “VISA 3F99 engages a heightened level of creative and critical literacy for our undergraduate students,” Serfas explained. “Emma’s exhibition explores the complex relational narratives between mental health and creativity.”

    Sked felt it important to use her own experience with mental illness and addiction as inspiration for the featured work.

    “When I was a kid I moved a lot, which really impacted how I coped with things and I now struggle with anxiety and depression,” she shared. “Now that I’ve grown up, I’ve met people who have developed mental illness that they also have to cope with every day and they will be able to relate to this work and make connections to their own life.”

    Sked chose to explore the use of art books and tactile objects for this project so that viewers could interact with the subject matter on a more immersive level.

    She also hopes the exhibition will encourage others to share their own experiences in order to find support and develop their own coping mechanisms.

    “It’s not just about the negative impacts of these issues,” she stressed. “It’s about bringing hope to people and showing them that they aren’t alone.”

    Maybe You Should Drive will be installed in the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the MIWSFPA from Nov. 13 to 27.

    An opening reception will also be held in the Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m.

    The event is free and suitable for all audiences.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Exhibitions, 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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  • Public talk and exhibition explore selfies and homeownership

    In his exhibition running until Nov. 7, Alejandro Cartagena has curated a selection of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s vast collection of publicly shared selfies. (Photo courtesy of Alejandro Cartagena, from the official website of the office of the President of Mexico)


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    While acclaimed artist Alejandro Cartagena’s work focuses mainly on suburban life in Mexico, the themes expressed in his photographs bear uncanny resemblances to issues also currently impacting Canadians.

    Brock Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend said it’s that universality that made Cartagena’s work so appealing and was why she invited him to this year’s Walker Cultural Leaders Series at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Alejandro Cartagena, an international award-winning artist, self-publisher and editor who lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico, will present a lecture and exhibition as part of the Walker Cultural Leaders Series Oct. 17. (Photo courtesy of Alejandro Cartagena)

    “I’ve seen Cartagena’s work making an impact in how he is able to question political issues, mostly focused in Mexico, but I think there is a really universal message in what he is presenting,” she said. “It’s also important for students and the public to interact on a personal basis with a successful, working artist. To see that these are real people making real work in the real world — and it’s creating a dialogue.”

    Cartagena is presenting an exhibition, Presidential Guide to Selfies, and giving a public lecture titled Visualizing space and some ideas of homeownership 2006 to 2018.  The exhibition opening reception and the lecture both take place on Wednesday, Oct. 17 and are free and open to the public.

    Hosted in the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, Presidential Guide to Selfies asks people to question the motives behind Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s vast collection of publicly shared selfies.

    Cartagena has curated a selection of these selfies (currently posted to the President’s Official website) as a means to examine whether these images are being shared to show the Mexican President’s engagement with the people of his country, or whether it is merely an exercise in vanity as he ‘poses with his fans.’
    Cartagena has also created an accompanying photobook for this exhibition in which he details the events surrounding each selfie.

    Friend noted that in an age of cell phones and social media, and with Canada’s own Justin Trudeau often affectionately and critically called ‘Prime Minister Selfie,’ the exhibition’s exploration of politics, social media connectivity and celebrity culture is exceptionally timely.

    Following the gallery opening, Cartagena will explore the interdependence of humans and landscape in the face of urban expansion in a lecture drawing from his own body of work.

    Carpoolers, for example, is comprised of a series of photographs taken of migrant workers travelling around Mexico in the beds of pickup trucks.

    In his public lecture on Oct. 17, Alejandro Cartagena will explore issues of home and ownership through the use of his work such as Carpoolers, which documents migrant workers riding in the back of vehicles. (Photo courtesy of Alejandro Cartagena)

    The images of hardworking labourers travelling from job to job during the harvest season can conjure connections to Niagara’s own large migrant worker population.

    In Ontario alone, tens of thousands of migrant workers come to farms, orchards and greenhouses as part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program every year. They work and live in communities in the Niagara Fruit Belt, often spending six to eight months working in the agricultural hub of the province.

    “The idea of ownership floats around in Cartagena’s work, looking at suburban Mexican homes, border issues, migrant issues, issues of poverty and wealth,” said Friend. “It’s quite poignant now, in particular with what is happening with migration issues worldwide, and it also makes us question how we treat our own migrant workers. How do we decide how housing is built? Do we even know what is happening here in Canada?”

    The lecture is being held in the Robertson Theatre at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Steve Solski, Executive Director, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, said hosting the event in conjunction with the MIWSFPA is another example of the close community partnership between the two establishments.

    “The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and our neighbours at the Marilyn I. Walker School have together truly become the cultural hub for our city and region,” said Solski. “The synergy between bringing together the very best artists from across our country and world paired with nurturing and developing local artists and young creative minds, is key to our thriving arts community.”

    Tickets to the lecture are free, but registration is required by visiting the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website.  The exhibition runs until Nov. 7.

    Presidential Guide to Selfies
    Exhibition opening: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 5 p.m., VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, MIWSFPA
    Exhibition runs: Oct. 4 to Nov. 7

    Visualizing space and some ideas of homeownership 2006-2018
    Wednesday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m., Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    The Walker Cultural Leader series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Engaging, lively and erudite, these sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society. Please join us. This education program is generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker.

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  • Michael Snow’s work featured at MIWSFPA

    Lesley Bell (BA ’88), former Learning Commons Co-ordinator at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), has been researching the history of Michael Snow’s Timed Images, Frame Three piece that has recently found a new home at the School.


    (From The Brock News, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    Just in time for Culture Days this weekend, the work of internationally regarded artist Michael Snow has found a new home at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Previously installed in the C-Block of Brock’s Mackenzie Chown Complex, Snow’s Timed Images, Frame Three, can now be viewed on the second floor of the Walker School.

    “Having the work of such a culturally significant artist on display in our building promotes interaction and connection between our two Brock campuses and with the community,” said MIWSFPA Director Elizabeth Vlossak. “The piece inspires us to remember our history, both as a university and a city, as we look ahead to the future.”

    Framed within a mirror, the photograph features a staged image of then-President James A. Gibson, Professor Ian Shaw, Brock student Anna Bernardo, Professor Peter Peach (seen as a mirror reflection) and Students’ Union Vice-President Fred Ford. They are photographed walking in front of a mirror frame that still hangs on the wall in D-Block today.

    Frame Three is part of a larger installation that Snow created for Brock University during the construction of the Mackenzie Chown Complex in 1972. Working with architect Raymond Moriyama, Snow created a number of multimedia pieces that interacted with one another in various locations around the building.

    When the installation was active, a video camera placed across the hallway captured footage of anyone walking by Frame Three, and then transmitted that footage to a live-feed video monitor further down the hallway.

    Lesley Bell (BA ’88), former Learning Commons Co-ordinator at the MIWSFPA, has been conducting extensive research on the installation. She said the work was ahead of its time, with technological elements that undoubtedly sparked the interest of students on campus at that time.

    “I wonder if Snow knew how much fun it would be for students — I imagine it would have been a gas,” she said of the installation. “People tell me that students would look at themselves in one frame and then run down the hall to see themselves in another one, making whoever is going by a part of the installation.”

    Bell is also working with a videographer to complete a documentary about the work, its rich history at Brock and its commentary on the sweeping changes many universities were undergoing at that time.

    Scott Henderson, Associate Professor in Communication, Popular Culture and Film, has also done his own research on the installation, even taking his students on popular “Snow Walks” to introduce them to Snow’s work and foster discussion on the ideas explored within his pieces.

    “In this photo, there is a beautiful layering of people, and that’s reflective of the way that knowledge constantly builds and of its fluidity,” he said of Frame Three. “I imagine the work to relate to the notion of a student arriving with their preconceptions of who they are, who they will encounter and how that constantly changes. Their time is fleeting, but they have become part of the broader history, and whatever they said or did adds to the knowledge base of the University in the future.”

    Although the installation no longer functions as it once did, Henderson argues that it remains as relevant today as when it was first installed.

    “We could be disappointed by the decay of Timed Images, except that it is a piece about time and its impact on us,” explained Henderson. “The natural transformation of change is that the piece itself has decayed, which works exactly with what the piece wanted to say. It invites that discussion about our history and having it on display at the MIWSFPA allows it to still function the way it was meant to function, to remind us that time is constantly moving.”

    Snow is an internationally-regarded filmmaker, sculptor, visual artist and musician who has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Order of Canada and a Doctor of Laws degree from Brock University in 1974.

    His work has been presented at museums and galleries around the world and is perhaps best known locally for Flight Stop at the Toronto Eaton Centre (1979) and The Audience (1988-89) at the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre).

    Timed Images, Frame Three is currently installed in the MIWSFPA, with viewings taking place Friday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30 from 1 to 5 p.m., as part of Culture Days, and any time during normal school operating hours.

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  • Three to Eight exhibition to support student scholarships

    Professor Murray Kropf is exhibiting his most recent collection of paintings in Three to Eight, an exhibition opening Tuesday, Sept. 4 in the VISA Gallery at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The paintings are being sold to support student scholarships. (Photo by Lorraine Zandvliet)


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, August 28, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    When Brock Associate Professor Murray Kropf puts brush to canvas, his inspiration tends to stem from an academic problem he is currently working through.

    In Three to Eight, his new exhibition opening Tuesday, Sept. 4, Kropf challenged himself to create movement in a piece by using only tone, hue and intensity and painting on square canvases with a very limited colour palette.

    “I was trying to find a better way to teach students about colour theory,” he said of the work that he began last year in early fall. “I was looking for a way to create a harmonious and structured composition that is asymmetrical, but still balanced, using only a palette of between three to eight colours.”

    The result was a series of paintings — the first purely abstract of his career — that Kropf will be selling to fund visual arts scholarships for students in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    While he is mainly a location and still-life painter, Kropf said he welcomed the change of pace for this work.

    “It went better than I thought it could,” he said of his first stab at abstractionism. “It’s always a problem for painters approaching a canvas, because it’s blank, but everything that came out of this was a surprise and that was lovely. It was a refreshing thing to do.”

    He also said the process will “further inform his teaching” in the future, making him more “appreciative” of what can be accomplished with a limited range of colours.

    Assistant Professor Amy Friend, Chair of the VISA Gallery Committee, said this is the first time a professor has hosted a solo show as a fundraising initiative since she has been involved with the gallery operations.

    “To showcase the work that Murray, one of our senior professors, accomplishes behind-the-scenes in his studio, is really important,” she said. “It also shows the way that art can support community, the generosity of our relationship with our students and the ongoing need to fund student studies.”

    Kropf, who has been teaching at Brock for more than 30 years, said simply that it was “time” to give back to the students and the institution he has been connected to for so long.

    “I want to show my gratitude to my students, to my colleagues, and to the university because I have been very lucky to work here, and I’ve enjoyed it a great deal,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to contribute to awards for students because I’ve been a student and I know how badly support is needed.”

    Three to Eight will be displayed in the VISA Gallery, located on the first floor of the MIWSFPA, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4, with an opening reception taking place Friday, Sept. 7. The reception will run from 4 to 7 p.m., also in the gallery, and is free and open to the community. The VISA gallery is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    All proceeds from the sales of Kropf’s pieces will be donated to scholarships for students in Visual Arts immediately after the exhibition.

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  • First-year VISA orientation activities planned for September 4 and 7

    As a new student enrolled in the Department of Visual Arts, you are invited to The New Student Welcome and Academic Orientation as your official welcome to Brock University on September 4! The orientation begins at 8 a.m. in the Ian Beddis Gym, where you’ll hear from President Gervan Fearon and enjoy an inspirational keynote to begin your day and kick-start your term. Afterwards, you are welcome to connect with your faculty and upper year student mentors to receive important information about academic supports and resources. Then, go check out the vendor and welcome fair, take a campus tour and to locate your classes, and get an orientation to the Brock Library. *Don’t forget to register for this orientation at Experience BU.

    You are invited to then also attend the Faculty of Humanities orientation session, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Brock’s main campus.

     


    FIRST-YEAR MIWSFPA MIXER AND LUNCH
    OPEN TO STUDENTS IN ALL DEPARTMENTS AT THE MIWSFPA

    SEPTEMBER 4

    12 TO 1:30 P.M.

    MIWSFPA LOBBY

    DOWNTOWN ST. CATHARINES

    15 ARTISTS’ COMMON


    There will also be a special orientation planned for VISA students specifically, taking place later that week:

    VISUAL ARTS orientation

    Sept. 7:  3 to 4 p.m.
    Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Lobby
    15 Artists’ Common
    *This will be followed by an opening of Murray Kropf’s new exhibit, Three to Eight, at 4 p.m. in the VISA Gallery

     

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  • Closing Reception for International Scholar Canan Demir

    Closing reception : Canan demir
    July 23, 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Lobby
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, On

    Everyone is invited to attend a closing reception featuring Visiting International Scholar Canan Demir, from Abant İzzet Baysal University, Turkey.
    Demir’s İNSTALLATIONS intervention will be available for viewing and a meet-the-artist reception will follow, where guests can learn more about her work. Refreshments will be served and the event is open to all members of the community. It is family friendly and takes place on July 23 from 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

    Demir has been working at the school as a Visiting International Scholar since last August, completing the research project “Analysis of Recycling Efforts at Canadian Universities and the Use of Scrap Materials in Sculpture Classes.” The VIS program invites scholars and researchers from abroad, who are interested in an international research and scholarship opportunity, to visit Brock and collaborate with faculty and students in a range of academic activities.

    Demir’s installations utilize found and repurposed scrap materials with a focus on the memories tied to these items. The installations will be on display for viewing outside of the front entrance to the MIWSFPA building from now until the closing reception.

     

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  • Moulding a masterpiece

    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    Brock Visual Arts students have been busy pouring, carving and cutting in preparation for their sculpture exhibition taking place Wednesday, July 4. Angelina Turner, a third-year Concurrent Education student, checks the silicone mould she made for her poured plaster bottle sculpture. Students have been working with cardboard, plaster, soapstone and styrofoam over the course of the semester as they explore the fundamentals of 3D work. They meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. twice a week to design, construct and analyze sculptures in VISA2F05 Introduction to Sculpture. Students will be completing a final project in their chosen medium for the class exhibition at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts gallery.

    GLEANERS

    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA)
    VISA GALLERY and Student Exhibition Space

    OPENING RECEPTION: WEDNESDAY, JULY 4: 3PM TO 6PM

    JULY 5 TO 21, THURSDAYS TO SATURDAY: 1-5 PM

    Upcoming exhibition takes a closer look at trash

    What if a cardboard box wasn’t just a box? Or a discarded bottle not a bottle?

    Students at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) hope to challenge our relationship with everyday objects in their upcoming exhibition Gleaners.

    The sculpture class has been gleaning materials from dumpsters and garbage cans to create new works of art with materials that are often used, misused, and taken for granted.

    “We are running out of landfills for our trash, and because of our carelessness, items are wasting in the ground,” says student Angeline Turner.

    “By using mostly found and recycled materials, the artists are making an effort to not only the help the environment but also to show that by thinking outside the box, we can reduce waste.”

    The exhibition opens with a free public reception on July 4, 3-6 p.m. in the VISA Gallery at MIWSFPA and will be available during normal gallery hours July  21.

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  • NCDSB’s Young Artists Gallery on view until June 23

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts proudly hosted the opening evening of the Niagara Catholic District School Board’s Young Artists Gallery on June 6th. 80 student artists were chosen to display their work in an exhibit at the school and celebrate their accomplishments with their families, teachers and friends. Mayor Walter Sendzik and NCDSB Director Jon Crocco addressed the crowd before awards were distributed to recognized students.

    The exhibit will be on display at the MIWSFPA until June 23rd. The gallery will be open to the public Wednesdays-Saturdays from 1pm-5pm for viewing.

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  • New book explores the art of animal advocacy

    Associate Professor of Visual Arts Keri Cronin examines the role of visual images, such as Edward Landseer’s A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society (exhibited 1838), in animal activism in her new book,  Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870-1914.

    (Source: The Brock NewsTuesday, May 22, 2018 | by )

    It was while searching for a set of lantern slides many years ago that Keri Cronin inadvertently found inspiration for her latest book.

    The slides never materialized but what Cronin, an associate professor in Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, did find was an abundance of material on animal advocacy.

    That material has helped to form her latest publication, Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870-1914, which explores the use of visual art material in campaigns for animal advocacy.

    Art for Animals cover

    Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870-1914 is the latest book by by Associate Professor Keri Cronin.

    Influenced in part by authors who looked at visual culture in other social justice movements, such as suffrage and civil rights, Cronin’s book explores how animal advocacy images were created, circulated and consumed, and the impact that had on ideas about the humane treatment of animals.

    “Visual culture played an important role in defining campaign goals, recruiting membership, raising funds, and, ultimately, sustaining and challenging dominant ideas about nonhuman animals,” writes Cronin.

    Her biggest challenge has been locating archival material to piece together the stories of animal advocacy.

    “For so long, the history of human-animal relationships was not a particularly valued area of research, and archival collections often reflect this,” says Cronin, who hopes the book will lead people to recognize relevant print material they might have in their own collections.

    The cheap, mass-produced pamphlets created and distributed by animal advocacy groups in the late 19th and early 20th century often weren’t considered valuable enough to save.

    The field of animal-human relations, however, has recently seen an explosion of interest both within the University and the broader public. Cronin notes that although her book deals with historical material, many of the key points have relevance for how images are used in animal advocacy today.

    “It is high time we turn our attention to how animals have always been part of our stories, histories, labour and societies,” she says.

    Art for Animals asks us to think about the ways in which visual images can both shape and challenge dominant narratives about non-human animals.”

    A public book launch will be held for Art for Animals on Wednesday, May 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Mahtay Café, 241 St. Paul St. in St. Catharines.

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