Announcements

  • Brock welcomes Indigenous artist, curator and scholar to MIWSFPA

    Originally published in The Brock News on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 03, 2021 | by 

    Caption: Suzanne Morrissette has joined the Department of Visual Arts at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, where she is teaching Studio Art. (Photo courtesy of Red Works Photography)

    First and foremost, Suzanne Morrissette is an Indigenous artist. Métis by way of the Red River Valley and Interlake regions in Winnipeg, Man., the artist, curator and scholar is a transplant to the territories of southern Ontario.

    She vividly remembers the work of Indigenous artists on the walls of her childhood home and in her father’s office space, as well as the murals on buildings in her community.

    “Growing up and being surrounded by this creativity was an exciting part of my everyday experience,” Morrissette says.

    She always knew that working in the arts is where she would land professionally.

    Working across disciplines in Indigenous and curatorial studies, Morrissette is the newest member of Brock’s Visual Arts Department, teaching Studio Art at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). A trained artist, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, a master’s degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University, and a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University.

    Morrissette has worked extensively in the field with Indigenous artists curating diverse shows with focuses ranging from perceptions of Indigenous political thought to relationships between land and place.

    As a studio-based artist and scholar, Morrissette is deeply engaged in research creation, committed to exploring how creative work can be used to find solutions to research questions or problems. Her identity as an Indigenous artist and curator has a lot to do with the type of research she is involved with, and also shapes the way she participates in projects.

    Engaging with Indigenous methodologies, histories and knowledge systems will be critical to her teaching and continued research work that she now brings to the Brock community.

    “At Brock, I see a great opportunity to continue the research and work that I am doing alongside colleagues who share a commitment to rigorous visual arts and studio arts-based research, and in a strong program and facility that is incredible for student research and work,” she says.

    Morrissette is currently working on a project close to her heart and personal history,  a research study with collaborators Richard Hill of Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Jamie Isaac of the Winnipeg Art Gallery entitled “Social Histories / Indigenous Art: Curating Social Work’s Influence on Winnipeg’s Indigenous Art of the ’80s and ’90s.”

    The project examines the relationship between the early developments of Indigenous social work that were taking place in Winnipeg in the ’80s and ’90s, and how these efforts supported concurrent developments in Indigenous arts.

    Even though it wasn’t necessarily in the mandate for these organizations, they supported the arts and creative practice in the community, Morrissette says.

    “My father and uncle were two of the people really involved in growing Indigenous social work capacity,” she says. “Our research team wants to learn about how this unstated but nonetheless important support of the arts came to be at that time.”

    In addition to work on the study, Morrissette is currently taking part in an exhibition out of Kingston’s Agnes Etherington Gallery featuring Métis artists, and is involved in ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art, a new initiative reflecting the city’s renewed commitment to public art.

    While she uses different mediums in her studio practice, Morrissette has recently been working with video and image projection in conjunction with audio recordings to create interactive experiences. As part of ArtworxTO, she aims to take over the walls and facades of Toronto’s trendy Junction neighbourhood at night throughout 2021.

    Ultimately, the motivation for Morrissette’s research and creative practice is born of her work as a Métis curator and artist.

    “I am working to address concerns that not only interest me and make me curious, but also to understand how I can contribute to healthier Indigenous communities in the future,” she says.

    She plans to develop a course at Brock over the next few years centred on Indigenous representation that will enrich the educational experience for all students at the MIWSFPA.

    “Issues of representation for Indigenous people are very important considerations for anyone with a creative practice, in any genre,” she says.

    Morrissette is strategizing long term with her goals at Brock, acknowledging the history of the University and ongoing moves toward Indigenization.

    “I bring a speciality in Indigenous art and I am mindful of the work done before my arrival. I am excited to learn what have my colleagues been working towards, who are the students, and how I can support Brock in its commitment to inclusivity and decolonization through my teaching and research practices.”

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

  • Art kits allow VISA students to hone skills at home

    Caption: The VISA Art Stores at Brock University has been providing access to course materials to students for more than 37 years.

    Half the battle in creating a beautiful piece of art is finding a spark of creativity and having the skills to bring it to life. The other half, however, is having access to the right materials and equipment to turn that vision into reality.

    Aspiring artists and scholars studying Visual Arts (VISA) at Brock University have continued to hone their skills despite the pandemic thanks not only to dedication to their disciplines, but also to staff and faculty who have made it possible.

    Studio Art instructors at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) have been challenged to reimagine drawing, painting, sound and video courses to suit an online setting. That has also meant ensuring students have access to the materials and equipment necessary to continue their studies.

    The results have been overwhelmingly positive, resulting in experiences that might not have been encountered by students in a pre-pandemic semester.

    The extensive efforts of the VISA faculty have been supported by two key players: Max Holten-Andersen, Instructor, Media Resource Co-ordinator, and co-ordinator of the VISA Equipment Kiosk, and Arnold McBay, Instructor and VISA Department Facilities Technician, who manages the VISA Art Stores.

    Central to the course work of Visual Arts students, the VISA Art Stores have provided Brock students access to art materials related to drawing, painting and sculpture courses since the mid-1980s. The Equipment Kiosk, established in 2015 after the move to the current MIWSFPA downtown campus, provides students with access to digital and analogue photography, sound and video equipment.

    Both outlets are usually staffed by student assistants during the day and evening, six days a week. Students visit for their materials and equipment needs, as well as for advice and mentorship from the managers, who are also both VISA instructors.

    With the switch to online course delivery, McBay and Holten-Andersen were met with the challenge of facilitating materials and equipment support for students in a manner that met provincial and Brock pandemic protocols, and without the students being on site.

    Fourth-year student Rea Kelly knows first-hand how important access to creative tools are for her degree.

    “Having the VISA Art Stores at the MIWSFPA has become a necessity for my four years at Brock as a Studio Art major,” she says. “I cannot count the number of times myself or my peers have run out of paint or drawing materials mid-class and have had to run to the art store for materials. I can’t imagine the school without it.”

    Answering the call for a solution, McBay developed kits in consultation with faculty that include all of the art supplies and materials students require to complete their course work and develop their art practice.

    The kits are available for convenient curbside pick up for local students and are shipped to those outside of the Niagara region. For students wishing to remain in their hometowns while continuing their educational experience, the kits have been essential.

    Similarly, Holten-Andersen, aware of the necessity of audiovisual equipment for supporting photography, sound and video courses, has added to the initiative.

    McBay and Holten-Andersen have established a central distribution point in the MWS151 Foundation Studio at the MIWSFPA. The room is large enough to allow for required physical distancing and is staffed by one student monitor during weekdays.

    Access to the room is limited to one student at a time using all pandemic protocols including required personal protective equipment. As a result, students can safely visit the distribution centre and access art materials and digital equipment, all in one place.

    “Despite the limitations of not being able to access the usual range of materials available in the VISA Art Stores and Equipment Kiosk, students have been able to meet all their project objectives through the distribution of materials kits at the pickup centre,” McBay says.

    Students have had to get creative with the supplies they have available to them.

    “These are real-life challenges that artists might face in their career, and circumstances students would not usually encounter in an academic experience prior to the pandemic,” McBay says.

    For audiovisual equipment, students are able to submit online equipment requests that are fulfilled within 24 hours, using MWS151 as the pickup hub where items get loaned out and returned. This method has shifted the equipment consultations from an in-person approach to a remote approach via email, phone or video conferencing.

    “At times, consultations are extremely necessary as I am able to provide expertise on what is the most suitable equipment for a production; and most importantly, what accessories are needed to properly support a production,” Holten-Andersen says.

    Although students have gained new experiences from the current circumstances, the two instructors look forward to resuming their previous mode of operation once it is safe to do so as per University and public health protocols.

    While the new system is working, Holten-Andersen says conversations had during in-person occurrences of the past are simply irreplaceable and certainly missed.

    “It is a precious moment to notice the realization in a student’s eye as they tap on the creative opportunities that professional equipment can grant,” he says.

    McBay echoes this sentiment.

    “We very much look forward to when the VISA spaces come back to life with the vigour, curiosity and vibrance students bring into our campus.”

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

  • 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

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

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

    WALKER CUlTURAL LEADER: John Fekner

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

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

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

    More information about the Walker Cultural Leaders available online.

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    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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  • New podcast challenges ideas of history of Western art

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  • Fall Visa Art Stores & Equipment Kiosk Announcement.

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

    How to file your orders/loans:

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

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

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

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

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

  • Welcome to Visual Arts: Orientation for 2020!

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


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


    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA)

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

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


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

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


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


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


    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

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

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

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

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


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

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