Alumni

  • Rodman Hall readying for two exhibition openings

    The work of Brock alumna Natalie Hunter will be featured in one of two exhibitions opening Jan. 31 at Rodman Hall. Hunter’s Staring into the Sun runs until March. (Image: Natalie Hunter, “Songs of May” (detail), 2018, Giclée prints on transparent film.)


    (From The Brock News, January 28, 2019 | By: Alison Innes)

    Two powerful exhibitions featuring the work of clients from Start Me Up Niagara (SMUN) and Brock alumna Natalie Hunter, respectively, will open at Rodman Hall Art Centre Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.

    The first of two new Rodman Hall offerings, the Art Me Up Niagara group show is a play on the name of the organization that works with individuals facing significant life challenges, such as poverty, addiction, homelessness, mental illness and unemployment.

    SMUN participants have created artwork in response to Rodman Hall’s current Northern Oracle installation, which aims to inspire people to share their message, whatever it might be, with the world and have their voice heard.

    “In developing the public programs activating this installation, I was guided by inquiry into why this work might be important to the Niagara community, and homelessness immediately arose as a critical issue,” says Elizabeth Chitty, Interim Grants and Programming Officer at Rodman Hall. “We will all benefit from seeing and listening to the artistic voices of those with lived experiences of homelessness in St. Catharines.”

    The second exhibition, Hunter’s “Staring into the Sun,” features photo-based sculptures and installations that explore the relationship between memory and physical space.

    Hunter (BA ’11) uses vibrant colour filters and multiple photographic exposures in her creation process. The works are printed on translucent films that hang, ripple and drape to interact with architectural features of the exhibition space.

    Each viewer’s experience of the pieces, which allude to enduring routines and the passage of time, shifts with subtle changes in light.

    Hunter will give a public talk about her work on Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at Rodman Hall.

    In addition to the launch of the Art Me Up Niagara showcase, another event will be held this week related to the Northern Oracle exhibition. Rodman Hall is partnering with the American Sign Language Community of Niagara to present a public lecture by deaf Bahamian photographer and graphic designer Will Henfield at the art centre on Friday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

    A full list of community events related to the ongoing “Northern Oracle” exhibition by Heather Hart can be found on the Rodman Hall website.

    The Art Me Up Niagara and Staring into the Sun exhibitions run until Feb. 10 and April 28, respectively.

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  • Join us for an Artist Talk with Phil Irish Jan. 30

    Artist Phil Irish


    The Department of Visual Arts is pleased to welcome Phil Irish to the MIWSFPA for an artist talk on Jan. 30.

    Phil Irish, from Elora, Ontario, makes paintings that are both fierce and beautiful. He is known for cutting paintings into fragments, and installing those pieces to make architecturally scaled collages that engage your senses and your mind.  His new work is influenced by his time on an icebreaker in the Canadian arctic, with Canada C3, a 150-day expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage that took place from June 1 to Oct. 28, 2017.

    He has shown in commercial galleries, artist-run centres, and public galleries, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Guelph, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Whyte Museum, Lonsdale Gallery and Angell Gallery, and was twice shortlisted for the Kingston Portrait Prize.

    He holds degrees from Guelph (BA) and York (MFA) and teaches studio at Redeemer University College.

    Irish will present at 1 p.m. on Jan. 30 in room 416 of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    The talk is free and open to the public.

    Registration is not required, but space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

     

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

  • Brock grad returns to MIWSFPA for first solo exhibition

    Brock alumna Kylie Haveron (BA ’18) is hosting her first solo exhibition, Not Dark Yet, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) beginning Wednesday, Jan. 9.


    (From The Brock News, Thursday, January 3, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    As Martin Luther King Jr. once famously said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

    His message encapsulates the inspiration behind the first solo exhibition of Brock alumna Kylie Haveron (BA ’18), opening at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) this month.

    Running from Jan. 9 to 26, Not Dark Yet reflects on the dichotomy between lightness and darkness and the struggles we face in our daily lives.

    The exhibition is on at the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the MIWSFPA, with an opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 10.

    “I look at how we believe day can bring a purpose, a connection and sense of certainty, while nightfall can bring anxiety as it signals the end of the opportunity for the day and a sense of waiting for the light of the next day to bring us answers,” Haveron explained.

    Haveron’s exhibition consists of a combination of drawings, sculpture and installations that explore the way that physical lightness and darkness can impact the lightness and darkness we experience within ourselves.

    She said the timing of the show is ideal, as the lack of sunlight during the winter months can trigger symptoms of depression in some individuals, often known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

    While many of her pieces are gritty and gloomy, the Brock grad hopes her work will inspire viewers to “let the light into their lives.”

    “Although I look at how extended periods of darkness can make us feel the darkness inside of us, I do have some pieces that give us ways to find the light,” she said. “We must not let the darkness determine our fate and our life, because the light can bring opportunity to have better outcomes.”

    Haveron is also looking forward to returning to her alma mater to showcase her first professional exhibition.

    “Hosting a solo show is a good learning experience and I’m happy I get to do it at Brock, where I have a lot of friends and am part of a supportive community,” she said.

    Not Dark Yet runs from Jan. 9 to 26 in the VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the MIWSFPA. The gallery is open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.

    An opening reception, also in the gallery, will be held Thursday, Jan. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.

    This event is free and open to the community.

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  • Beloved Visual Arts staffer inspires Art History award

    Lesley Bell, right, sits with Visual Arts Chair Donna Szőke, one final time in the Learning Commons at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts before Bell’s retirement. The department marked her retirement with the creation of the Lesley Bell Award, to be presented to the Art History student entering third year with the highest average.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)
    When you walk into the Learning Commons at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), you are greeted by the always-smiling face of Lesley Bell.

    The long-time Co-ordinator enthusiastically helps students, staff and faculty alike on their quests for knowledge, is always eager to explain how a piece of software works and has no shortage of stories to share about art, the University or life in general.

    It is her passion for the work that she does, and for the people she works with, that inspired the Visual Arts Department to pay tribute to Bell’s legacy with a student award named in her honour.

    Created in recognition of her retirement at the end of August, the new Lesley Bell Award will be presented annually to the third-year History of Art and Visual Culture major with the highest average.

    Donna Szőke, Chair of the Visual Arts Department, said the award is a fitting way to recognize student accomplishment as well as Bell’s time with Brock, both academically and professionally.

    “Lesley has been an invaluable resource to our department,” she said.  “Her constant generosity of spirit, curiosity and kindness has touched the lives of the many students, instructors and staff of Visual Arts, as well as Brock as a whole. We celebrate Lesley with this award.”

    Bell, who has been employed with Brock for 34 years, is the longest-serving staff member in the Visual Arts Department.

    She remembers her journey through the ranks at Brock fondly, starting from her decision to enrol as a student in 1983.

    While working part time as a waitress, Bell would always share her love of the arts with her coworkers. As a mature student in her 30s, however, she was skeptical about going back to school.

    After some prodding from coworkers — and realizing there was a night class at Brock that she could attend which wouldn’t interfere with her work schedule — she decided to enrol.

    “I started an art history class with Sylvia Osterbind, a fine arts librarian who also taught the Art History course for a fledgling program in History and Studio Arts at Brock,” Bell recalled. “Sylvia was a formidable teacher. I sat at the back of the class and watched her stride in front of two projected images of ancient art in her sensible shoes, waving her pointer and lecturing with her succinct German accent.”

    From that point on, Bell was “hooked.” She would close down the bar, working until the wee hours of the morning, and then wake up for early morning seminars.

    “I suddenly noticed ‘classical’ architectural elements on the buildings on St. Paul Street when riding the bus home from Brock, and I met some people who are still important friends,” she recalls fondly. “I started Brock thinking I was not smart enough for university, but that course showed me that I had a mind that could ask questions, and I had eyes that could see the creative world around me.”

    After graduating with an Honours B.A. in Visual Arts from Brock University in 1988, Bell then continued her studies and earned a Master of Library Science degree from Western University in 1993.

    From there, she returned to the place where it all started and began working at Brock as a Visual Arts resource co-ordinator.

    Over time, her job would evolve to include oversight of the Brock University Art Collection and the former Sean O’Sullivan Art Gallery on the main campus.

    Bell would eventually conceive and help design the Learning Commons in the new MIWSFPA building in downtown St. Catharines, where her duties expanded to include managing the equipment kiosk and supervising student monitors. She constantly worked to develop opportunities for the space to further benefit students and the community, and never stopped striving to make it a more inclusive place to study and congregate.

    Bell is not one to boast about her accomplishments or bask in the spotlight, however. Especially, she says, when she was simply “doing her job.”

    But when it comes to the student award in her honour, she is proud that her legacy will serve to inspire future students to also pursue their passions.

    “I don’t know if I can say this emphatically enough: this award means more to me than the decades of service to Brock and is a legacy that actually stuns me,” she said. “We are all here because of the students that we train, nurture and mentor.  However, we seldom get a chance to know that we ‘make a difference.’ So, it is deeply significant to me to be given this gift from the department.”

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  • New grad honoured for textile artwork

    Victoria Reid was recently honoured for her artwork, which was on display at Rodman Hall Art Centre as part of the Turnin’ this Car Around exhibition in April.

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

    The eye-catching pieces were hard to miss.

    Made from everyday materials, the headless human forms could be seen cascaded down a wall within Rodman Hall Art Centre, drawing attention and sparking conversations among visitors.

    Created by Victoria Reid, the pieces were featured during the VISA 4F06 Honours exhibition, Turnin’ this Car Around, in April, but continue to earn the young artist praise.

    Visual arts graduate Victoria Reid has been awarded the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award. (Photo: Jimmy Limit)

     

     

    The June graduate was chosen to receive the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award for her work. The honour is given to a graduating student for a piece of textile art and is intended to support the student’s continued artistic development.

    Reid’s figures, made from yarn, fabric scraps, plaster and packing tape, challenge the viewer to see bodies as objects taking up space.

    “The bodies are not human without their contents,” says Reid. “These sculptures embrace the oddity and the awkwardness of the human body, focusing on the fact that we are weird masses of matter and, together with soul, we become beings.”

    Reid says for as long as she can remember, she has been intrigued by textiles.

    “They have so much personality and can be handled with a variety of different methods to morph them into something new,” she says.

    It was her grandmother who taught her how to weave, stitch, sew, knit and crochet at an early age.

    Reid applied these more traditional ways of working with textiles to new ideas to create her award-winning work and cites Walker’s own work as inspiration.

    “Marilyn I. Walker’s piece in the first floor hall inspired me greatly this year with the variety in colour and texture, and the stitching together of different fabric patterns and materials,” she says.

    Reid’s pieces are cast from her own body and lend drama to the philosophical question of the mind-body dichotomy, writes Associate Professor Derek Knight in the exhibition catalogue.

    “References to the human body are rarely benign and Reid is no different when she describes her plaster figures as symbolizing the existential dilemma between spiritual life and physical existence,” he writes.

    Reid will be continuing her arts education this fall at the University of Western Ontario, where she is enrolled in a Master of Library and Information Science program to study Collections and Archive Management.

    “I want my future career to work with, influence and inform my art practice,” says Reid, who continues to create, show and sell her art. She is also working with Brock Visual Resources Librarian Lesley Bell for the summer.

    “Being awarded the Marilyn I Walker Textile art award means so much to me,” Reid says. “Working with textiles in my art is what I do and being awarded for something that I have worked hard on and put so much energy into is a great feeling. It makes me feel not only proud of myself, but thankful for all of the friends, family, peers and instructors who have helped and supported me along the way.”

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  • Brock faculty, staff, students and grads performing at In the Soil

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, April 25, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    It’s a festival born out of love for the local community and the arts.

    In the Soil, the three-day, multi-layered and multi-disciplinary festival in St. Catharines, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend, and Brock has played an important role in its growth.

    The festival started as an idea sparked at a Centre for the Arts performance in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, where Annie Wilson (BA’03), Joe Lapinski (BA’99) and Sara Palmieri (BA ’03) wondered how they help showcase Niagara talent. Three more former Brock students came on board to found the festival in 2009: Deanna Jones (BA ’02), Natasha Pedros (BA ’04) and Jordy Yack.

    They wanted to bring people together with local artists to create a shared experience and celebrate Niagara’s arts scene.

    Brock’s support of In the Soil has been important from the start, says Wilson, who studied Theatre and English.

    “To have the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts right in the downtown core is a dream come true and so is the opportunity to collaborate with so many incredible profs and friends over there,” says Wilson. “Brock University has supported In the Soil Arts Festival from day one and the ongoing investment in us has allowed us to grow it into what it is today.”

    Suitcase in Point Theatre Company, a theatre group founded by graduates from Brock’s Dramatic Arts program, took over organizing the festival in 2012. The group worked to sharpen the festival’s interdisciplinary approach and now has a tradition of showcasing the latest work in theatre, literature, music, film, comedy and site-specific installations.

    Many Brock students, staff, faculty, and grads are exhibiting and performing at this year’s festival in various venues around the downtown core, including:

    • Adrian Thiessen (BA ’10), president and creative head of Fourgrounds Media, will be showing his piece “Please Do Not Disturb the Grapes,” which gives a bird’s perspective of Niagara wine country as part of Rhizomes at Silver Spire United Church.
    • We Who Know Nothing, a theatre group centred in the Department of Dramatic Arts and led by Associate Professor Gillian Raby, will be performing a short piece on colonialism and First Nations histories.
    • Also at Rhizomes, Twitches & Itches Theatre, an ensemble made up largely of Dramatic Arts graduates, will be presenting emerging theatre voices in “The Comments Section,” a collaboration between young artists.
    • Arnie McBay (MA ’13), Visual Arts Facilities Technician at MIWSFPA, and English Professor Gregory Betts will be showing “Signs of Our Discontent” (The Textures of Our Solitude). The site-specific installation at the corner of St. Paul and Garden Park responds to the fading advertisements painted on downtown buildings.
    • Fourth-year Visual Arts student Amber Lee Williams video performance “Self Portrait As A Female Fountain” explores themes of identity and is an extension of her exhibition “Hidden Mother” on until Saturday, April 28 at the MIWSFPA.
    • Dramatic Arts student Matthew Beard is the founder of Big Chicken Improv, an improv group that includes various Brock students. They will be performing long- and short-form improv on Saturday evening.

    Prior to the festival, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be hosting a special event on the evening of April 27 for students from Stamford Collegiate.
    The MIWSFPA is also a festival sponsor.

    What: In the Soil Arts Festival

    When: Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29

    Where: Downtown St. Catharines

    Tickets and event details: inthesoil.on.ca

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  • Art exhibit receptions to mark International Women’s Day

    The opening reception of “Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between,” Cat Stambolic and Sarah Martin, takes place Thursday, March 8 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Brock’s arts community will mark International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8 with two art exhibition receptions.

    On display at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Visual Arts Gallery and student exhibition space, “Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between” features the work of third-year Visual Arts student Sarah Martin and recent Brock Visual Arts graduate Cat Stambolic (BA ’17).

    The exhibition, which initially opened Feb. 15 and runs until Saturday, March 24, explores the disconnect between mind and body, deemed ‘silent areas.’

    Exploring the theme separately through their previous work, the pair came together to create the exhibit, which investigates “connections between mind and body; specifically, what happens if and when that connection is interrupted,” explained Stambolic.

    Both women are strong advocates of mental health.

    “Our work hangs in conversation with each other’s,” Stambolic said, and is “truly representative of the open dialogue we need to create regarding mental illness.”

    Her work featured in the show is directly related to her own sensory experiences, which resulted in feeling a disconnect from her physical body.

    “The process of making these pieces was a way to resolve these sensations and emotions, re-envisioning them as tangible sculptures,” she said.

    Martin uses her photographs to create visual representation of “restlessness and unconsciousness, how feelings of anxiety can create out-of-body experiences and feelings of existentialism.”

    Her work in this exhibit depicts women exclusively in order to “refocus the narrative of women creating work featuring women, instead of from a male perspective,” she said. “Using the female figure in a powerful way reclaims ownership of the female body and creates a new narrative of empowerment and self-reflection.”

    Both artists will be at the exhibition’s reception to discuss their work on Thursday, March 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.

    Also that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., is the opening reception of “Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui” at the Niagara Arts Centre, 354 St. Paul St.

    Featuring work from Brock’s Studies in Arts and Culture, and French Studies students, the exhibit explores contemporary expressions in art and literature, with pieces creating unusual stories mixing narrative and art-making.

    “Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui” will be on display at the NAC until Friday, March 16.

    For information on upcoming events, visit the MIWSFPA website.

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  • Exhibition – Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between, opens Feb. 15

    Brock Visual Art student Sarah Martin and Brock Visual Arts Alumna Caterina Stambolic present photographs and sculptures investigating the interruptions between mind and body.

    Exhibition: Thursday Feb. 15 to Saturday Mar. 24

    Regular visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1-5 pm.

    Opening Reception: Thursday Mar. 8, 5 – 8 pm

    Location: Visual Arts Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University

    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON

    This is a free community event!

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  • Two new exhibits open at Rodman Hall, including the work of curator and alumna Emma German

    Always Vessels, an exhibit by nine contemporary Indigenous artists, runs Jan. 27 to March 11 at Rodman Hall. Pictured is Nadya Kwandibens’ work — Emergence Series: Sugar Bush Sessions.

    (Source: The Brock News | Friday Jan. 26, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    The works of nine Indigenous artists will be featured in one of two new exhibits opening at Rodman Hall Art Centre on Saturday, Jan. 27.

    Curated by Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nehwegahbow, Always Vessels features nine contemporary Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee artists who express their art through a range of media, from beads to photography.

    Using a blend of traditional and modern approaches, the artists explore the processes of learning, making and analyzing how knowledge is transferred and made. The work, informed by contemporary translation of traditional knowledge, offers insight into the range of skills, techniques and knowledge unique to Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee cultures.

    The exhibit explores how belongings and possessions are meaningful objects that have the ability to carry, hold and transmit memory across time and space.

    Nahwegahbow will speak about the exhibit Saturday at 2:30 p.m. as part of Rodman’s Hot Talk series.

    Also opening on Saturday is Up close and in motion, an exhibit from Rodman’s permanent collection of nearly 1,000 works dating back three centuries. Curated by Brock alumna Emma German (BA ’14), the year-long, regularly changing exhibit will highlight the collection’s purpose as a tool for research, study and interpretation.

    The first installation of this exhibit focuses on recent acquisitions of contemporary Canadian art, many of which will be displayed for the first time.

    What: New exhibits opening: Always Vessels and Up close and in motion.

    Where: Rodman Hall Art Centre

    When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 2 p.m.

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  • World-class photographer with a Brock connection

    “One of Them Is a Human #1” by Maija Tammi won third place in this year’s Taylor-Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Tammi studied photography at Brock in 2008-09 with Visual Arts professor Amy Friend. (Image copyright Maija Tammi; Used by permission).

    (Source: The Brock News | Friday Dec. 15, 2017 by Alison Innes)

    At first glance, the photo is a portrait of a young woman.

    On closer inspection, the ‘woman’ isn’t human at all. It is, in fact, an android called Erica, developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories in Osaka University, Japan.

    The photograph, taken by Finnish artist Maija Tammi and titled “One of Them is a Human #1,” won third prize in this year’s prestigious Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

    The photograph also has a surprising Brock connection.

    Finnish artist Maija Tammi, who studied at
    Brock University in 2008-09

    Tammi spent a year studying film and art at Brock University in 2008-09. Although she already had a background in photojournalism, her experience at Brock, and in particular a course with Professor Amy Friend, encouraged her towards art photography.

    “The Visual Arts program at Brock offers an abundance of opportunity for one-on-one interactions in class with students and professors,” says Friend.

    Such interactions allow for personalized and concentrated instruction that allow students to reach their potential.

    “Maija flourished in this environment and took advantage of the surrounding community with her interactive installations and thought-provoking course projects,” says Friend.

    Tammi cites the film Five Obstructions, which she first saw in Friend’s course, as particularly influential.

    The 1967 film shows the remaking of the same story five times, each with a different obstruction. This process of rethinking and reframing inspired Tammi.

    “Once you have thought of a concept,” she explains, “you rethink it several times from different perspectives.”

    Tammi was immediately interested in the ways obstructions can encourage creativity and used the idea in her class project, redoing the same photograph multiple times with different obstructions.

    This experience in Friend’s course influenced her approach to photography. She gives herself obstructions, such as limiting her camera gear, to encourage her own creativity.

    Tammi is particularly attracted to portraiture, which she says tells us more about ourselves as viewers of the photograph than the subject of the photo as we project our stereotypes on them.

    One of Them is a Human #1 has attracted a lot of attention in the arts community. Although the Taylor Wessing contest rules state that the subject needs to be alive, Tammi’s photograph was accepted because it raises important questions about what it means to be human.

    “I’m very excited about the conversation that has arisen,” Tammi says. “It is time to think about what it means to be alive.”

    Tammi doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects; she is currently completing a practise-based PhD exploring representations of sickness in art photography.

    “I like topics that are very difficult and people don’t like to talk about,” she says.

    Friend, who exhibited work in the same show as Tammi in New York in August 2015, has been watching her former student’s success closely.

    “Her success is indicative of the connections that many students make with classmates and professors,” Friend says. “When I see opportunities that fit her areas of expertise I send them her way. These are the types of extended interactions that happen when we are given space to know our students.”

    Tammi’s work was one of three finalists chosen from more than 5,717 submissions. Selected submissions, including the shortlisted portraits and competition winner, are on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

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