Rodman Hall Art Centre has three summer student positions available, please check the link below for details on these positions:
Faculty & Instructors
Visual Arts students in Assistant Professor Amy Friend’s Introduction to Digital Photography class were given the chance to interview six successful, creative professionals from around the world thanks to an Experiential Education Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant. The class is pictured engaged in discussion with Dornith Doherty, a Texas professor who documents and collages seeds and tissue samples.
What’s it like to create a photographic archive of plant seeds and tissue samples that could one day ensure humanity’s very survival?
What about travelling the world to capture award-winning images of the rapidly melting polar ice caps or soldiers in conflict zones?
Students in Brock’s Introduction to Digital Photography class learned all of this and more, directly from creative professionals this past semester.
Thanks to an Experiential Education Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant, Assistant Professor Amy Friend was able to invite six professionals in the field of photography from around the world to visit her class via video chat.
Visual Arts students researched and subsequently interviewed guest speakers one-on-one, before ending each session with a group discussion.
The exercise provided valuable insight into the artistic process and the challenges involved with working in different areas of photography, Friend said.
“The students responded quite well; you could see a sense of excitement,” she said. “They heard interesting stories about how artists work through their processes and different insights about how and why specific choices are made, and the methods used to get this work out into the world.”
Participating artists included Dornith Doherty, a professor and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow from North Texas who documents and collages plant seeds and tissue samples in her Archiving Eden project; Cig Harvey, an artist whose work has been exhibited at major museums and collections in the United States and Europe; Spanish artist Alfonso Almedros; award-winning photojournalist Louie Palu, whose work has been featured in National Geographic and numerous international collections; Jacqueline Bates, Photography Director of The California Sunday Magazine; and British-American mixed-media artist and author Phillip Toledano.
Fourth-year Visual Arts student Rachel McCartney was tasked with interviewing Toledano, whose work is similar to what she aspires to create herself one day.
“Interacting with visiting artists in a classroom setting was an extremely useful and gratifying experience,” she said. “It allowed for direct one-on-one communication and to dissect the brain of someone who is a successful future version of what I aspire to be.”
The grant was one of 18 that were awarded in 2018-19 to support the development of new experiential learning courses and experiential opportunities within existing courses.
The Teaching and Learning Innovation Grants were supported financially by Experiential Education at Brock and external funding through the province’s Career Ready Fund.
Sandy Howe, Associate Director, Experiential Education, said the new interview series went “above and beyond” expectations and offered a “highly impactful” experiential learning opportunity for participating students.
“It’s always amazing to me to see faculty members trying something new in their courses and how this impacts their own learning and engagement with their teaching,” she added. “This is an excellent example of how different types of experiences can be used to improve both teaching and learning.”
Friend said the calibre and range of artists who participated also exposed students to the range of career opportunities that exist for someone with a Fine Arts and Photography background.
“It was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my teaching strategies,” she said. “I was stunned by how much information the students were able to learn in a short period of time.”
For McCartney, the experience armed her with more confidence as an artist and a wealth of advice for ensuring success in her future career.
“I find it really important that we constantly look for new ways to teach and learn because it promotes better student engagement,” she said. “Actively changing the curriculum to integrate new ways of learning creates a more personalized education that is beneficial to students. I’m very thankful to the artists who participated and immensely thankful for Professor Friend for organizing this experience.”
Applications now being accepted for Visual Arts Student Assistants/Monitors for Fall/Winter 2019-2020.
• Must be a Brock University Visual Arts major (priority given to upper year students)
• Able to consistently lift up to 30 lbs
• Knowledge and interest in the Arts
• Strong communication skills
• Team oriented, willing to support where the greatest need is
• Flexible – hours may vary. Call-in shifts may occur
Duties include: Monitoring/clean-up duties of assigned areas, and other related duties assigned by supervisor.
Compensation: $14.00/hour. Apply by: Fri, April 26, 2019.
To apply send resume & cover letter to Monika Lederich at firstname.lastname@example.org (please use your Brock student email account) with you student number, major, year of study & relevant qualifications.
You may also apply on-line at the Brock HR page: https://brocku.wd3.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/brocku_careers/job/St-Catharines-Downtown-Campus/Student-Assistant-Monitor-Visual-Arts-Student-Monitors_JR-1002509-1
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.
Keri Cronin, Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, will take on the role of Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Humanities starting July 1. (Photo credit Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals.)
Keri Cronin has always been invested in sharing the research of Brock’s Faculty of Humanities in far-reaching ways. And in her new role as Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, she intends to continue down that path.
“There is so much great work being done here in the Humanities,” says Cronin, Associate Professor with the Department of Visual Arts.
“A lot of people hold misperceptions about what it is we do and the value and relevance of this work to the ‘real world.’ Using public platforms to highlight our stories and the excellent research being done here is, I believe, more important than ever.”
Cronin, whose position as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities begins July 1, values making academic research accessible to a wide and diverse audience.
“I look forward to supporting faculty and graduate students in developing knowledge mobilization plans that make sense for their areas of expertise,” she says.
Cronin’s own research trajectory has been a blend of the traditional and the non-traditional. In addition to her academic publications, including the 2018 publication of Art for Animals, Cronin has embraced online opportunities to share her research.
The Unbound Project, a multimedia initiative Cronin co-created with Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals, uses video, photography, interviews and social media to tell the stories of women who are working in animal advocacy.
“The Unbound Project has a very large and international reach,” Cronin says. “Using our website and social media channels, we are able to share these women’s stories widely.”
Cronin has also curated an online exhibition for the National Museum of Animals & Society. Be Kind: A Visual History of Humane Education was launched in 2012 and is used by teachers and professors in classrooms around the world.
Social justice and transdisciplinary work are key for Cronin. She is a faculty member in the Social Justice and Equity Studies graduate program and was a founding member of Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute, where she worked to showcase Humanities-based approaches to social justice work.
“Dr. Cronin is an accomplished scholar and teacher, with an excellent record of service to the University and the Faculty already,” says Dean of Humanities Carol Merriam.
“I’m very pleased that she will now put her skills and talents available to her colleagues in this new role. She is a fitting successor to Dr. Michael Carter, who has done very good work in the role since 2016.
Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke will talk about her work when Brock Talks returns to the St. Catharines Public Library Jan. 15. (Image courtesy Donna Szoke; Shot / Counter Shot: Self-portrait as mother. Grimsby Art Gallery Commission, Digital print on Hahnemuhle, Editioned print, 47 x 61 cm. 2018.).
Gladiators of Pompeii, the planet’s artistic inspiration and the invisible history of radioactive mice will be highlighted by Brock experts during an upcoming public lecture series.
Brock Talks returns to the St. Catharines Public Library on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The free series connects scholars in Brock’s Faculty of Humanities with the local community.
The January talk, “Invisible Animals,” features Associate Professor Donna Szoke, whose work examines the human relationship to animals through prints, videos, art installations and media artwork. Szoke contributed to a Toronto exhibition on Digital Animalities this past November.
Her work includes a free app mapping nuclear waste at a Niagara Falls, N.Y., storage site, where more than 270,000 mice used in radioactive experiments have been buried. Her most recent piece, Midst, uses video projectors and fog machines to create animations of large animals on a wall of fog to explore issues of encroachment of cities into wild space.
Szoke will talk about her work as “research-creation” and explore how making art is a form of doing research and creating new knowledge.
The Second Brock Talks session of the year will take place Feb. 27 and feature Earth Sciences Professor Francine McCarthy. In her presentation, “Scientific Insights from Poets, Painters and Philosophers,” McCarthy will explore research as a creative endeavour and look at how artists interpret and draw inspiration from the natural world.
The final Brock Talks event this season takes place March 12, when Classics Instructor Nadine Brundrett will speak on “Spectacular Games in Ancient Pompeii.” Brundrett will share how the destruction and preservation of the city of Pompeii in 79 CE by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius offers insight into the daily lives of ancient Romans, including diverse spectacles used to provide entertainment. In addition to gladiatorial combat, bull fighting, boxing, Greek athletics and even pantomime acting were common practice.
Brock Talks is a collaboration between the Faculty of Humanities and the St. Catharines Public Library. The series connects community members with current Humanities scholarship at Brock.
All talks are held at 7 p.m. in the Mills Room, Central Library and are free.
What: Brock Talks, a free public lecture series
When: Jan. 15, Feb. 27 and March 12
Where: St. Catharines Public Library, Central Branch, 54 Church St., St. Catharines
Brock Visual Arts Professor Linda Steer’s research on drug photography has been published in the March edition of the International Journal of Drug Policy.
In 2016, Ohio police released a photo of an American couple overdosing in their vehicle while a young child sat in the back. The image quickly went viral and attracted international attention.
The predominantly negative conversation surrounding the image, and others like it, left Brock Visual Arts Professor Linda Steer wondering if viewing these photographs with more empathy could be key to changing discourse on drug users and altering drug policy in North America.
Chosen for publication in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Steer’s article “Entangled empathy, drug use, and photographs of suffering” examines contemporary drug photography in the hopes of encouraging people to think outside of the box about drug use and users.
“This research is very timely because every day we’re seeing a news story about the dangers of fentanyl or some other opiate,” said Steer, who teaches art history at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). “There is a lack of understanding about what people that use drugs go through, and about drugs in general. It’s a kind of hysteria.”
In the article, Steer examines the work of two contemporary photographers: Chris Arnade and Tony Fouhse. Both are middle-aged, white men, who photographed female drug users they met on the street.
Steer looked at the artists’ work through the lens of ‘entangled empathy,’ a concept developed by American Philosophy Professor Lori Gruen. To Gruen, empathy is about more than simply being understanding and compassionate about another’s situation. Rather, it entails being responsive and responsible to that person in a way that promotes agency and positive change.
Drawing from that idea, Steer studied how Arnade‘s and Fouhse’s photographs were created, circulated and received by viewers and compared how different settings, locations or mediums impacted the viewer’s engagement with empathy.
“I found photographs with captions or text that worked to create a narrative had a better chance of creating empathy,” she said. “I also found that we can still have empathy when the power dynamics are quite uneven and that photographs shared on Facebook can sometimes provoke people to engage with their own experience of addiction in relation to the photograph.”
Steer hopes the article will create dialogue about the role photographs of drug use play in shaping public opinion, and the opinion of policy-makers and government agencies.
“Overall, photographic projects that show drug use have the potential to engage viewers with empathy and can be very useful in creating drug policy,” she said. “Policy-makers might see these kinds of photographs and notice how they can elicit empathy for people who are misunderstood or maligned. That can have a positive impact on policy.”
Steer said having her work published in the journal is especially meaningful as this marks her first peer-reviewed article in a new field of research. The interdisciplinarity of her work is also important, she noted, as the journal typically publishes research from science-based disciplines.
“I was really honoured for this work to be chosen as I think it speaks to how important photographs are and that we need to look more closely at the relationship between science and culture,” she explained. “Even scientific research is culture – so we’re bridging the gap between humanities and the sciences with this type of work.”
She added that this research also showed her that “a lot more work has to be done” in this field of study.
“Not just on empathy,” she added, “but on how it is related to politics, policy and how images create ideas about how we see others.”
“Entangled empathy, drug use and photographs of suffering” is currently available for free download on the International Journal of Drug Policy website.
Brock instructor Donna Akrey is part of the exhibition Hamilton Now: Object at the Art Gallery of Hamilton until May 20. (Photo by Taien Ng-Chan.)
As Donna Akrey knows all too well, art is woven into the fabric of any strong community.
The textile work of the Brock University Visual Arts instructor is part of a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) that celebrates an influx of new artistic talent in the city.
The Hamilton Now series, curated by Melissa Bennett, began in June with Hamilton Now: Subject, which focused on the culture and creativity in the city and spoke to who the artists are as individuals. The exhibit ran until Nov. 18, with artists using different mediums to explore aspects of their own identity.
The series’ second exhibition, Hamilton Now: Object focuses mainly on sculptors.
Hamilton Now: Object, which is now on display at the AGH and features Akrey’s work, emphasizes material exploration and awareness of the physical environment. The exhibit, which includes pieces by the collective art group band Persons, also features an interactive digital project that incorporates a sculptural map of Hamilton.
Akrey recently moved from Montreal, where she found herself a part of a very strong arts community. Once she arrived to Hamilton, she was pleasantly surprised by the welcome she received.
“The community is very strong, supportive and positive,” she said. “I’m honoured to be showing work alongside other amazing Hamilton artists.”
Akrey’s piece, Hamilton Yards, is a series of fabrics digitally-printed with a custom-made repeating pattern of photo images. Akrey spent time wandering the neighbourhoods of east end Hamilton and documenting the spots that interested her.
“I have wanted to make textile work for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity,” she said. “Through these works, I continue to address mapping, place and location in Hamilton specifically.”
Alongside Akrey, the exhibition includes pieces by Christopher Reid Flock, Destiny Grimm, Hamilton Perambulatory Unit, Svava Thordis Juliusson, Carmela Laganse, Laura Marotte and Taien Ng-Chan.
On Thursday, Jan. 17, Akrey will be joined by Thordis Juliusson and Ng-Chan in the first of two panel events. The artists will lead guests through a series of sculptural activities, “object-oriented storytelling” and mapping exercises.
Hamilton Now: Object runs until May 20 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The official opening is Sunday, Feb. 3. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday.
For more information, visit the Art Gallery of Hamilton website.
Brock Visual Arts Associate Professor Amy Friend had her work featured at the renowned Paris Photo last month, which highlights the work of artists around the world.
How many female photographers have been omitted from history books — their stories never told and their work never shown — simply because they were women?
That’s a question Brock Visual Arts Associate Professor Amy Friend has been asking herself quite frequently.
It has also been front of mind for the French Ministry of Culture and for independent curator Fannie Escoulen, who recently featured the work of Friend and other female photographers throughout history in a new photo book, Elles X Paris Photo.
Friend’s Ruth, October 1936, was showcased alongside images from other female photographers, ranging from early 20th century photographic pioneers to contemporary artists of today.
The goal of the project is to draw attention to the systemic barriers that women have historically faced in the field, and to promote the work of an emerging generation of artists that are still largely underrepresented today.
“To be featured among these other female artists was particularly special because it means that my vision and my perspective matter,” said Friend. “We have been historically approaching imagery that has been primarily constructed and presented from a male standpoint.
“This project allows us to consider what it means for women artists like myself to present their view of the world, what barriers still exist that prevent female artists from holding a place in the history books, and what has to change in the future to overcome those barriers.”
Ruth, October 1936, was composed using a found, vintage photograph of a woman firing a gun.
As with the other photos in her Dare alla Luce (Italian for ‘to bring to light’) series, Friend pierced tiny pinholes in the photo before shining light through and re-photographing it to create an orb-like optical effect.
“This image was especially fitting for the book because all we know about that woman in the photo is her name and that somewhere in the world, in 1936, she was shooting a gun. That’s all we know,” said Friend. “Her history was forgotten.”
Elles X Paris Photo debuted this fall at Paris Photo in Grand Palais, Paris. Considered to be the largest photography fair in the world, Paris Photo showcases the work of artists from hundreds of galleries around the world.
Friend, who was recently listed among an elite lineup of ‘7 Female Photographers You Should Know from Paris Photo’ in Artsy, exhibited work from Dare alla Luce, as well as doing a book signing for her latest monograph Stardust, from L’Artiere, Publishing.
“It was important to engage with people and artists from all over the world; making connections, talking about ongoing projects and celebrating,” Friend said of being part of the fair. “I could also interact with work coming out of galleries and countries that I might never get to see otherwise. It was an enriching experience.”
Curt Richard, a student in VISA 3M90, surveys the exhibition that he and 52 other students have completed over the course of the semester. Manifestos in a Room is a collaboration between students in French, Visual Arts, and Studies in Art and Culture. It will be on display at Rodman Hall Art Centre until Dec. 30.
Two Brock art exhibitions now on display are working to celebrate and amplify community voices.
Manifestos in a Room and Sauti za Afrika/African Voices/Voix Africaines were each created to engage with Northern Oracle, an exhibition by Heather Hart currently being featured at Rodman Hall Art Centre.
Through the exhibition, which includes an indoor rooftop installation, Hart asks visitors what they want to say to the world and advises them to shout it from the rooftop.
Reflecting on Northern Oracle, 53 students in Visual Arts, Studies in Arts and Culture, and French came together to create their own statements, whether poetic, absurd or political. The expressions — in both English and French — were used to create Manifestos in a Room, on display in Rodman Hall’s Studio Gallery.
Students worked throughout the fall semester to bring the exhibition, curated by Associate Professor Catherine Parayre and instructor Donna Akrey, to life.
“It really helps to collaborate in one’s art practice,” said Akrey, whose art students were involved in the project.
“We also did an assembly line production to create some of the work, which was fun and rewarding. I was impressed with how the 3M90 students embraced this project and made sense of it for the viewing public.”
For the participating French students, the exhibition was a “great opportunity to practice writing constraints for fun,” said Parayre. “Students produced facetious manifestos, writing eloquently on a light-hearted topic. It allowed all of us to put our creative forces together and share a common space.”
The exhibition includes a visual component as well as a three-minute audio track created by the students.
Over at Brock’s main campus, the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures (MLLC) is hosting Sauti za Afrika/African Voices/Voix Africaines, an exhibition meant to amplify the voices of the African diaspora in Niagara. Featuring 12 different languages, the exhibition combines modern writing with ancient traditions of communication.
The display features instruments and figurines used for communication, such as a conch shell, similar to the one used to call for revolution in Haiti, and miniature replicas of Burundi drums used by royalty to communicate with their people.
Also included is an intricately carved cow horn used to call people to come and hear the chief speak in certain regions of Africa, said Department Chair and Associate Professor Jean Ntakirutimana.
Ntakirutimana worked with members of Niagara’s African diaspora and Sofifran (Solidarité des femmes et familles immigrantes francophones du Niagara) to collect people’s hopes, dreams and concerns to include in the display. Members have also loaned their personal objects for the exhibition.
The display is a precursor to an event by the same name coming up in February. Co-hosted by Sofifran, MLLC and Studies in Arts and Culture, the event will be held at Rodman Hall and will also engage with Northern Oracle.
Sauti za Afrika/African Voices/Voix Africaines is a part of the Museum in the Hallway project, curated by Parayre. Located in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Mackenzie Chown A-block), the project features rotating monthly displays.
Both African Voices and Manifestos in A Room will be on display until the end of December. Northern Oracle will be at Rodman Hall until March 3.