Alumni

  • 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. For more information, please visit:www.ronbenner.ca

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

  • Humanities podcast features Visa Art History Associate Professor Linda Steer.

    The sixth episode of Foreword, a new podcast from the Faculty of Humanities, explores the complexities of drug photography with Linda Steer, Associate Professor of Visual Arts.

    Steer discusses her research on the complicated connections between empathy and photography in art and documentary photographs of drug use from the 1970s to present. Her research encourages people to engage more empathetically with issues of drug users and drug use. She has examined the work of drug photographers Chris Arnade and Tony Fouhse through the lens of entangled empathy, which encourages being responsive and responsible to others in a way that promotes agency and positive change.

    Episodes are released every Wednesday on AppleGoogle Podcasts, Spotify and Podbean. Transcripts are being made available on the Faculty of Humanities website.

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

  • Visual Arts and Interactive Arts and Science grad wins Daytime Emmy

    Karlee Morse (BA ’11) has been recognized with an Emmy for her special effects makeup on the children’s program Dino Dana.

    (Published WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2020 | in the The Brock News by )

    Karlee Morse (BA ’11) wasn’t sure at first what she wanted to do when she graduated from Brock University.

    But the Brock alumna has clearly found her calling having won a Daytime Emmy last month for Outstanding Special Effects Costume, Makeup and Hairstyling for her work on an episode of the children’s show Dino Dana.

    Morse worked with a team of three artists to transform four actors into dinosaurs for the episode of Dino Dana. Working from CGI illustrations and the costume design by Christine Toye, Morse seamlessly transformed the actors.

    “It’s just amazing,” she said of her win. “Truthfully it was really hard. It was a lot of work.”

    Morse started her career in film and television as an assistant for the art department on a production called Android produced by Sinking Ship, the same company that produced Dino Dana.

    “From there, I just made connections and once I started focussing on prosthetic work, they brought me in to do some specific episodes,” she said.

    Morse didn’t plan on working in special effects make up while she was completing her combined major in Visual Arts and Interactive Arts and Science.

    “I kind of fell into it,” she said. “I wanted to do concept work for video games, but I realized I’m not content working on the computer for more than an hour. I thought about it and the happiest I was when I was working in the studio.”

    Morse said she loved working in Brock’s painting studio and sculpture classes.

    “I’m so thrilled for Karlee,” said Donna Szoke, Associate Professor of Visual Arts, who taught Morse at Brock. “She has always had a deep love of drawing. Film makeup and special effects makeup is such a wonderful continuation of her lifelong pursuit of drawing and sculpting.”

    After her time at the University, Morse went on to do Sheridan’s special effects makeup program, where she now teaches.

    “I didn’t realize this was a career at all,” she said. “It’s like painting, but on people’s faces. It’s like sculpting, but on a living model.”

    Morse finds herself working in the video game industry from a different perspective than she had originally thought. As a makeup artist, she does life casting— making casts of actors’ body parts — and placing motion capture markers on actors for game giant Ubisoft.

    Morse has worked on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Far Cry 5, and the newly released Far Cry 6.

    “My favourite part of this career is that every day is vastly different,” said Morse. “I usually have multiple things on the go and it’s just fun. I get to go to cool places, meet people and do cool things.”

    Morse has stayed connected with her passion for sculpture and is currently working on some custom sculptures for a corporate client. She sculpts in oil-based clay, then makes a silicon mold and casts the sculpture in resin.

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    Categories: Alumni, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Translations, an invitational photography exhibition to begin the new decade

    image: Sarah Martin

    Translations

    An exhibition of photography by visual arts students.
    A reception will be held on January 15, 2019 – 5 p.m to 8 p.m.
    Presented in the VISA Art gallery and Student Exhibition Space of the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines.

    Translations is a curated show consisting of photographs created with analogue, experimental and digital processes.  The combination of the photographs is intended to instigate a reflection on the practice of creativity and what it means to make photographs.  It is also an exhibition that contemplates what a photograph is and how we each see and experience photographs. The students were individually invited, and work was individually selected for the exhibition by Professor Amy Friend of the Department of Dramatic Arts.

    Work in the exhibition includes photographs by students  from the Department of Visual Arts and other programs at Brock University.

    The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    Click on the images to download the posters.

    see the short video produced by YourTV Niagara

    The participating artists include:

    Tabitha Holloway, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art
    Chance Mutuku, Bachelor of Kinesiology
    Sarah Martin, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art With First-Class Standing
    Amber Lee Williams, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art
    Kaitlyn Roberts, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art, Minor in French Studies

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    Categories: Alumni, Events, Exhibitions, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Visual Art professor’s work chosen for prestigious U.K. exhibition

    “Wayfinding in Cold Light from the Multi-Verse Series” by Amy Friend, an Assistant Professor in Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, is one of just 55 photographs included in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, U.K.

    (published in The Brock News TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 2019 | by  )

    Nearly 4,000 portraits by more than 1,000 photographers from 70 countries were submitted, but only 55 were chosen for this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition in the United Kingdom.

    One of those portraits is by Amy Friend, an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Art.

    The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is a prestigious annual award that attracts amateur and professional photographers alike. Only 55 of the 3,700 submissions were chosen for the exhibition. Three photos are shortlisted for the top award of £15,000 (approximately $25,000 CAD).

    “Having my work included in the Taylor Wessing Portrait Exhibition is an exciting adventure in my creative practice,” said Friend. “I had been working on this long-term project for several years, so it is uplifting to see this new work recognized. The piece has personal connections, which extends this recognition in a meaningful way.”

    Friend’s series Multi-Verse draws on her own and found photographs featuring diverse subject matter and imagery from across several time periods to explore the idea of a multi-verse. The series references both the idea of alternate realities and the numerous stories or ‘verses’ the viewer encounters in the photographs.

    She uses experimental photographic methods and manual manipulation to alter photos. While they are not overtly political photographs, her works references darker elements such as floodwaters and images of soldiers.

    “I reference the past, the here and now, the visible and invisible, literally and poetically, albeit not through overtly political photographs,” said Friend. “The medium of photography has always had a currency of possibility. In this series I work to find meaning in the chaos, to be with it and to look for an alternate story from where we are — a multiverse.”

    The exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 5 and carries through to February 2020. The exhibition will then go on tour throughout the U.K.

    In 2017, a portrait by Finnish artist Maija Tammi, who studied under Friend, won third place in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Events, Exhibitions, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • First students to complete entire four-year degree at downtown MIWSFPA graduate June 14

    Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    The first group of students to have completed their entire four-year degree at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ downtown St. Catharines facility crossed the stage at Spring Convocation on Friday, June 14.

    Sixty-three students from Brock’s Departments of Music, Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts graduated from the downtown arts school, which opened its doors in 2015. Nine students who minored in programs at the MIWSFPA will also graduate on Friday.

    The milestone is not lost on the 2019 graduating class.

    “It’s a cool honour to be part of Brock history and I’m grateful to have trained in such a professional environment,” said Emma McCormick, who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts, Performance Concentration. “I feel that I’ve gained a lot of skills that will serve me in my career, specific to the learning I received at the MIWSFPA.”

    The London, Ont. native is the recipient of the Jean Harding Prize, which is awarded to the student who achieves the highest standing in fourth-year Dramatic Arts. She plans to remain in St. Catharines after graduation, where she will continue her studies in Brock’s Adult Education program and working in the performing arts sector.

    Providing students like McCormick with a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility was the vision of the School’s namesake, the late Marilyn I. Walker.

    When the famed textile artist and philanthropist donated $15 million to Brock University in 2008, she envisioned the creation of an arts facility that would revitalize downtown St. Catharines and encourage students to study and practice the arts here in the Niagara region.

    Her generosity and foresight allowed for the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building to be converted into the new home for the Departments of Music, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, which had previously been housed at Brock’s main campus.

    The $45.5-million project also received a $26.2-million investment from the Ontario government, numerous private and corporate donors, and relied heavily on the insight and contributions of hundreds of partners such as then-Dean of Humanities, Rosemary Hale, and the City of St. Catharines.

    MIWSFPA Director Elizabeth Vlossak, who joined the School on an interim basis from the Department of History, said she has seen first-hand the impact the facility and its programming has on students.

    “Although the School is a cultural hub that acts as a living, breathing connection between the city’s past and future, it’s also so much more than that,” she said. “In my short time here, I have seen how these incredible facilities and engaged, passionate faculty benefit our students.”

    Graduand Alyssa Shanghavi, of St. Catharines, said she appreciated the availability of unique practice spaces on campus for music students like herself, which allowed her to focus on her studies and hone her skills on the trombone.

    The Bachelor of Music recipient said being around other artists all the time and in such close proximity to the downtown core was an invaluable complement to her education.

    Gianna Luisa Aceto, a graduand from Mississauga, said that as a painter, she “enjoyed and most definitely appreciated the space the MIWSFPA provided.”

    As well as making new friendships and plenty of memories, Aceto attributes the successful completion of her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art to the artistic identify she forged while studying at the School.

    “One of the biggest takeaways for me is finding my passion, my niche,” she said.
    “I struggled a lot in finding out what I wanted to create and the reasons for creating it. My time spent within the walls of the MIWSFPA allowed me to uncover that knowledge.”

    She also said she has an undeniable gratitude for her professors, and that “the drive they instilled in me has not gone unnoticed.”

    Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam said this milestone serves as time to reflect on the importance of the arts and its ability to create healthy and flourishing communities.

    “This first class of students to have spent their entire Brock careers in this splendid facility serve this mission in downtown St. Catharines and in the broader community, but they have also been a defining force within the MIWSFPA itself,” she said. “They have been largely responsible for creating the culture of the School as a place to learn, create and serve as a community. Their impact will last a very long time, and we are proud to see their graduation day.”

    Longstanding former MIWSFPA Director Derek Knight echoed Merriam’s sentiments.

    The Associate Professor said the class of 2019 should receive their degrees with pride having been part of an extraordinary university experience and contributing to the legacy of the arts, both at Brock and in the community.

    With the MIWSFPA’s fifth anniversary on the horizon, the School will continue to offer students unique teaching and learning experiences while honouring the spirit of its benefactor, he said.

    “What was interesting about Marilyn is that she was always very curious and engaged with how we, the faculty, envisioned the future,” Knight said. “She thought it was our job to rise to the challenge and define the potential of what she had given to us in the form of this extraordinary gift. I think, in many ways, we’ve done that.

    “Now, we are charged to think about not only what we will offer today, but in the long-term, and how we will define pedagogy and the School’s identity long into the future.”

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    Categories: Alumni, News

  • 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: 4F06 Honours Exhibition, Alumni, Current Students, Events, News

  • Brock alumna returns to speak with VISA students

    Brock alumna, Natalie Hunter, spent the afternoon with VISA 4F06 students as they discussed their upcoming exhibitions. Back row from left: Teresa Badgley, Amber Williams, Shawn Serfas, Sarah Martin
    Front row from left: Gianna Aceto, Emma Hutchison-Hounsell, Cynthia Richards, Natalie Hunter


    On Feb. 7, Brock Visual Arts students in the VISA 4F06 Honours course were visited by Brock alumna Natalie Hunter (BA ’11) to discuss their upcoming exhibitions that begin in March. Hunter and the students discussed the pieces they are working on and how to move forward in order to create a cohesive exhibition. During each student’s session, they received a small piece of translucent film that Hunter used in her exhibition, Staring into the Sun, which is currently on view at Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    During her time at Brock, Hunter was part of the VISA 4F06 Honours course, where students work all year to put together an exhibition in Rodman Hall. Staring into the Sun features photo-based sculptures and installations that explore the relationship between memory and physical space. The exhibition runs until April 28.

    At the Bottom of Everything, the first of two Visual Arts Honours exhibitions, runs from March 23 to April 7, with the opening reception on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at Rodman Hall.

    The second exhibition runs from April 13 to 28, with the opening reception on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at Rodman Hall. More details to come.

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    Categories: 4F06 Honours Exhibition, Alumni, Current Students, Events, News