Announcements

  • 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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  • Active attacker info sessions to be held at MIWSFPA Nov. 8 & Nov. 14

    (From The Brock News, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018)

    Would you know what to do if there was an active threat or shooter on campus?

    It’s a scenario most people could never imagine happening at Brock University, but one that Campus Security wants to ensure the community is prepared for.

    Campus Security at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) will be holding two information sessions for staff, instructors, faculty and students of the School this month to discuss emergency preparedness in an active attacker situation.

    Rick Fraser, Brock’s Manager, Emergency Management and Life Safety, will be presenting material on the active attacker protocol that has been adopted at the University during these sessions.

    The information and training sessions will take place in MWS 156 on:

    • Thursday, Nov. 8 from 8 to 9 a.m.
    • Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 1 to 2 p.m.

    No registration is required, but the sessions are currently limited to those who study or work at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, due to space limitations.

    For more information on the MIWSFPA sessions, contact Rick Tollar, Supervisor, Campus Security Services, at 905-688-5550 x 6399.

    Information on the active attacker protocol adopted at Brock University is available on the Campus Security website.

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  • VISA drawing instructor has works published in Concrete & Constraint

    Arnold McBay, drawing instructor in Brock’s Visual Arts Department, was recently published in the Penteract Press anthology ‘Concrete & Constraint.’ Pictured above is his work: For Alberto #1. 2018. Fixative transfer on wood panel.


    Three recent works by Visual Arts Department drawing instructor Arnold McBay have been published in the upcoming Penteract Press anthology ‘Concrete & Constraint.’ 

    The Press, which publishes experimental poetry leaflets and chapbooks, described the anthology and the collection of works as the following:

    “An anthology of international constrained & visual poetry: 64 full-colour pages of work from 24 poets. The anthology is split into two sections: “Procedural & Permutational,” which focuses on textual and spatial transformations, and “Prohibitive & Plastic,” whose focus is material and conceptual limitations.” 

    McBay’s work is published alongside Samuel Andreyev, Gary Barwin, Derek Beaulieu, Gregory Betts, Christian Bök, Luke Bradford, Franco Cortese, Clara Daneri, Lucy Dawkins, Anthony Etherin, Kyle Flemmer, Helen Frank, Ken Hunt, Nasser Hussain, Ross McCleary, Nick Montfort, Kelly Nelson, Sharon Phillips, Eric Schmaltz, Petra Schulze-Wollgast, Rachel Smith, Andrew Topel and Catherine Vidler.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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