Impact & Mercury is also a metal

An exhibition featuring the work of Brock University Visual Arts students:


Grimard’s work offers an invitation to consider what deep and continuous returns to the self might resemble. Within this personal process and within the work itself, there is a careful consideration of the shape-shifting nature of material, emotion, colour, and form. Grimard brings into play the powerful metaphor of mercury which both guides his personal artistic practice as well as our own receptivity to the works, immersing viewers in what feels like continuously shifting liminal spaces of identity, fluidity and unpredictability. Being able to return to its original form, mercury’s unique properties have a direct affect on its behaviour, which mirrors the very curious ways that Grimard’s objects of introspection allow us the personal space to fluctuate, experientially, take on new forms, and return, again, back to the self.

by Richard DEAN Irvine

There’s storytelling and then there’s good storytelling – stories that leave you wondering, questioning, and eager to know more. Irvine’s work represents the dynamic and unique delivery of his own deeply personal story about healing, recovery, and repair following the impact that trauma and injury has had on his life. Through this on-going and ever-evolving body of work, we are invited to witness the path that exists beyond trauma – the momentum forward along that path; the rugged terrain, as well as the clearings, along the way. Irvine’s work represents a seriousness of purpose that at times feels random, playful, deep, and personal, all infused with a layer of intense emotional honesty.

Exhibition: Jan. 13 to Feb. 12, 2022
Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, MIWSFPA 

Gallery hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. (September – April)

Members of the Brock community are asked to RSVP for in-person viewing through ExperienceBU.

Open to the public, all Brock University protocols apply including proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Please email with questions.

visit virtual exhibit

360 VISA Gallery Preview



Artist Statement
Mercury is also a metal

During times of crisis or great social/institutional change, people react in a multitude of ways. Some develop changes in personality, which will have a long-lasting impact on their thoughts, behaviours and emotions. We use metaphors like ‘made of iron’ or ‘bending like a reed’ to describe how people cope, react and adapt… to describe ‘what we’re made of.’

Pure mercury [1] best describes who I am.  Mercury is obtained through a long, complex and violent process. Mercury will always revert to its original form.  Toxic in the environment, mercury is also an essential component of everyday objects like fluorescent lights. Its main characteristics are its fluidity, its high electric conductivity and its shiny, ‘quicksilver’ color. I was raised in a dysfunctional family where physical and emotional abuse was a daily occurrence, to the point of broken bones, a concussion and lasting psychological residue.  From November through to April, our mother gave us cough syrup to prevent any illness, not knowing (or caring) that it contained alcohol and codeine. Each spring, without realizing it, I would go through withdrawal. I would become unmanageable, with severe mood swings. Consequently, I would be punished with emotional and psychological abuse at school, hit at home, and blamed for my average school grades. The family doctor prescribed opiates to treat migraines caused by a concussion at age 14.

At 25, personality tests presented a flat personality [2], a first-quintile [3] intelligence [4] and emotional intelligence [5], which meant an exceptional adaptability to crisis and environment. I could learn and do anything if I put my mind into it. Unfortunately, my childhood psychological pattern (crisis – psychoactive substance – withdrawal – adapt – repeat), would lead to a similar career pattern: chosen occupation – education – excellence – crisis – psychiatric treatment – adaptation – repeat.

The last such cycle left me with permanent impairments. To find meaning and purpose, I turned to a side I had not explored – my artistic personality. I have already learned how to rise from ruin to slowly regain my full potential—being a professional artist is no different.

This exhibit is a concrete demonstration of a mercurial personality: fluid, shiny, unpredictable. At this stage in my recovery, my art—like myself—is a work in progress. My personal artistic style is eclectic and testament to my learning style: organic, kinesthetic, analytic and inquisitive. My curiosity is my drive, and my education is ongoing.

Art allows emotional recycling, neutralizing traumas to reach out to a universal audience. This exhibit is about hope, trust in oneself and faith in a better tomorrow.

[1] NA, ND. What is mercury? GreenFacts, facts on Health and Environment.

[2] MMPI (The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) and 16 PF (Personality Factors)

[3] Quintile: Bell curve divided into five equal parts; the top quintile represents the highest-scoring 20% (personal definition)

[4] Stanford-Binet intelligence scales adapted for French-Canadian adult version, predictor for highest education level capability.

[5] Emotional Intelligence test


Artist Statement

What if the impact was so great you couldn’t even talk to others or even yourself, but your mind never stopped talking inside, healing your mind and body?
You are that powerful.
I grew up in Barrie, Ontario. I always knew I had a creative side but I thought it was weird, or felt off, so I avoided my creative side, while growing up in a ‘tuff neighborhood.

I’m a realist. I stuck with my physical training routine my whole life, until I was 34 years old, hardening my body for a battle I didn’t know was coming. That was all that mattered; not marks, not success, but fitness and health. However, during my younger years, I used to watch a guy paint decals and designs on cars in our side-by-side driveway. He painted record albums on vehicles, and I would observe him for hours.
Sometimes in life, something so powerful can happen that makes us live lost, and learn to hate ourselves and see the worst of situations, living on what I refer to as ‘borrowed time.’
What if that view can be changed and instead, after injury, you catch and change the mechanism of injury into creativity – creativity that inspires yourself and others.
That’s who I am now – I am finding the real version of me, ‘the grounded lion’, using my brain, heart, and courage to keep moving forward, where forward leads.
Many of us live our lives not paying attention to what is right in front of us.
This space and exhibition is about opening opportunities; to show my work and share my passion, and journey. For me, the impact of this exhibition allows an opportunity to share where I have been and what I have learned, quite literally, through the reigns of a paint brush. The experience of the pandemic had shut me down, and as we all masked and unmasked, we have learned so much more about mental health.
This exhibition has allowed me take off one mask, while still wearing another, and I’m learning, loving, and embracing every minute of it.