Articles tagged with: Amy Friend

  • Visual Arts prof’s work seen across Time and The Atlantic

    The Atlantic’s online publication of Amy Friend’s image, taken from Friend’s Assorted Boxes of Ordinary Life series.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2023 | by Charles Kim

    Amy Friend has gained widespread recognition for her unique and captivating photography.

    The Brock University Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts has been commissioned to create images for some of the world’s most notable publications, including The New York Times Magazine in March and more recently, Time magazine and The Atlantic.

    Heavy is the Crown,” an article written by Eliana Dockterman featured in Time, highlights the resurgence of interest in the late Princess Diana’s life following the airing of the fourth season of the popular Netflix series The Crown. The article examines the implications the show may have on the public reputation of King Charles and the monarchy.

    3. A full-page magazine featuring a sliced-up image of King Charles with a painting of Queen Elizabeth II in the background.

    Time’s feature of Amy Friend’s image. (Source Photo: Tim Graham — Photo Library/Getty Images)

    Friend was approached by Time magazine photo editor Whitney Hollington Matewe to create a visual image to accompany the article. She began the process by sifting through a library of stock pictures made available to her by the editorial team.

    After collaborative discussions, the editorial team and Friend selected a shot of young King Charles in front of a painting of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

    “What I love about the portrait of Charles is the painting of the Queen quietly behind him, watching,” says Friend. “It places Charles as the new head of the royal family, with the legacy of the Queen following him.”

    Friend created cuts through the image, shining light through the perforations to allow windows of illumination into the final product.

    “Working with the print and slicing into the image is a bit unsettling. I’m destroying a photograph of a king,” says Friend. “It made me consider the power of imagery, especially portraiture. The royal family has always edited and controlled the photos released to the public with great scrutiny.”

    Following the assignment with Time, Friend was contacted by The Atlantic, which hoped to publish her works alongside an article written by MIT physicist and novelist Alan Lightman.

    How the Human Brain is Wired for Beauty,” published Dec. 5, discusses recent research on how the human brain processes beauty. It also visits the idea of atoms and how they can be traced back to stars from the galaxy’s past. This connection reveals how every particle can be linked to not only the past but also the future.

    Friend says there was a deep connection with many elements of the article and she found herself drawn to Lightman’s research, particularly the connections between stardust and history. Caroline Smith, The Atlantic’s Creative Director, felt Friend’s work was a good fit for the subject.

    1. A woman with brown hair smiles with a white backdrop behind her.

    Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts Amy Friend’s latest commissions now appear in The New York Times Magazine, Time magazine and The Atlantic. (Photo courtesy of Amy Friend)

    “Some of the featured visuals are a part of my Assorted Boxes of Ordinary Life series, says Friend. “One piece of work depicts family whom my mother had captured on Super 8 film. I projected this film clip onto old mirrors covered in dust.

    “The article suggests that we all come from stardust,” she says. “I imagine the specks of dust as remnants of the stars. I used these dust particles in a visual manner to represent our presence and our absence.”

    Friend says working on editorial commissions is always a fresh and exciting experience. She found that each project had diverse outcomes that are not always expected. Each commission, she says, provides the space to reconsider her work and evaluate the visuals that audiences encounter in editorial publications.

    “When you work with an editor, there’s a lot of back and forth that goes on. Ultimately, we come to an agreement on the final product, but in the process of doing so there’s learning that I take back and that is distinctly important for me.”

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  • Brock faculty honoured for local arts impact

    St. Catharines Arts Award winners (clockwise from front left) Emily Oriold, Monica Dufault, Kathyrn Sinopoli, Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Amy Friend and Frank Goldspink were recently honoured by the City of St. Catharines. (Photo courtesy of the City of St. Catharines)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The impact of faculty from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is being felt in the local community.

    Amy Friend, Associate Professor and Department of Visual Arts Chair, and Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Music, were each recently honoured during the St. Catharines Arts Awards and recognized for their respective contributions to helping the arts thrive locally.

    Friend received the Established Artist Award during the awards celebration held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Her work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, explores various methodologies through photography, installation and community-based collaborations. The focus of her work fluctuates with investigations relative to history, time, land memory, dust, oceans and connections to the universe.

    “The award is a wonderful nod to the work artists accomplish in this community and there are many of us,” Friend said. “I have grown as an artist in this region and have had opportunities to collaborate with many people. I would like to see even greater and consistent support for the arts in our community and schools. There is an abundance of amazing work happening here, but much more is possible.”

    Rensink-Hoff — Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers — was presented with the Arts in Education Award.

    Her contributions to the local arts community have resulted in many performances and partnerships, including the co-ordination of a performance by the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Singers under the leadership of guest conductor, Kanaka Maoli artist, activist and cultural bearer Jace Kaholokula Sapan.

    “It is a joy to be a part of a thriving arts community here in St. Catharines and I am humbled by this recognition, particularly on the heels of a challenging two and a half years,” Rensink-Hoff said. “I have seen in my students and singers just how life-giving their participation in the arts can be. Their passion and dedication to making music throughout the pandemic has been such a tremendous source of inspiration.”

    A full list of recipients of the St. Catharines Arts Awards is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Local arts awards give nods to Brock faculty

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke engages with a class in her Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games exhibition space.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The nominees for this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards include some familiar faces from the Brock community.

    Associate Professors Rachel Rensink-Hoff, from Brock’s Department of Music, and Amy Friend and Donna Szoke, from the Department of Visual Arts, have each been recognized for their contributions to the arts.

    Rensink-Hoff, who conducts the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and is the Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers, was nominated for the Art in Education Award. The past Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada and past President of Choirs Ontario, she maintains an active career as an adjudicator, workshop clinician and juror both locally and across Canada.

    A woman wearing all black leans against a wall covered in vines.

    Art in Education Award Nominee and Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

    Friend and Szoke were each nominated in the Established Artist Award category.

    Friend, Chair of Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, has exhibited in a generous roster of national and international exhibitions, including the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition (U.K.), Gexto Photofestival (Spain), DongGang Photography Museum (Korea) and many more. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications such as California Sunday Magazine (U.S.), Archeology of Photography – Lux (Poland), Musée Magazine (U.S.) and Wired (U.S.).

    Szoke is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been shown in public art, interactive video installation, outdoor site-specific installation, publications, film festivals and galleries in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. She has received numerous research awards and grants for her work, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017, she was awarded the Brock Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

    A female holds flowers under a tropical shelter with glass and film on a table.

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts

    Chair Amy Friend works on cameraless images in the field.

    Friend and Szoke recently collaborated for a shared exhibition this past summer in conjunction with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Small Movements showcased their two projects, both funded by Brock’s VPR Canada Games Grants.

    City of St. Catharines Cultural Co-ordinator Ashley Judd-Rifkin says the awards celebrate the best of the local artistic community. “The outstanding individuals and organizations that have been nominated for the arts awards are all very deserving. Their commitment, creativity and contributions have made St. Catharines a more beautiful, vibrant and exciting place to live.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be livestreamed from Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. Details for the livestream will be shared through the City’s social media channels closer to the event.

    A full list of nominees is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Brock art exhibition inspired by Canada Games mascot, local wildlife

    Fourth-year Brock Visual Arts student and research assistant Emily MacDonald examines the camera-less photographs created for the Small Movements exhibit.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Many aspects of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have inspired projects across Brock University — and the event’s mascot, Shelly, is no exception.

    The turtle’s impact has gone beyond the Games to influence two Brock projects now being showcased as part of an ongoing exhibition.

    Presented by Brock’s Department of Visual Arts (VISA), in conjunction with the Games, Small Movements highlights the work of Associate Professors Amy Friend and Donna Szoke. The exhibition was funded by the University’s VPR Canada Games grants.

    Szoke’s work, which saw her collaborate with Grade 1 and 2 students at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School in St. Catharines, creates a connection between the 2022 Canada Games, the local community and turtle conservancy.

    As part of the project, students experienced a virtual field trip to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), where they learned about the organization’s important work and visited a hospital for recovering and resident turtles, as well as a nursery with eggs and hatchlings.

    Following their visit, students were given the opportunity to colour their own images of turtles, which were then scanned and animated by VISA fourth-year student Emily MacDonald and alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22). The scanned images were used to create an animation, which was then gifted back to the children, animators, the OTCC and the Canada Games.

    Painted Turtles from Donna Szoke on Vimeo.

    “The children’s approaches to drawing and painting are refreshing in their naiveté, gesture and palette,” says Szoke. “By inventing a platform for generating turtle images created by children, our research-creation team created a turtle animation meant to engage and inspire.”

    Meanwhile, Friend’s project investigates and bridges a connection between sports and Niagara’s regional ecosystems, with a specific focus on turtles. Also inspired by the Canada Games mascot, the project examines watersports that take place in habitats shared with turtles. It includes camera-less photographs, water samples from across the Niagara region, a sound component and digital photography.

    Friend used analogue photo practices to produce camera-less photographs with her creative research team, including research assistants Laurie Morrison and Sarah Martin (BA ’19). Morrison, a first-year VISA student, and Martin, a VISA alumna, worked on capturing and printing the project’s images. Morrison secured light-sensitive photo paper to a kayak, allowing an interaction to take place between paper and water, while Martin collected samples from local waterways and helped to edit and print images with Friend.

    Friend’s work also includes photos that were taken at the surface of the water with a digital camera.

    “The photographs were shot at the water’s surface, precisely where the paddles enter the water and where turtles swim,” she says. “My thought process for this approach was to establish a relationship between the act of paddling or rowing through the water and the movements made by turtles as they move through the water.”

    Research assistant and recent graduate Qiushuang Xia (BA ’22) took photographs across the region’s waterways. Xia also captured the sound component that accompanies the project, recording from some of the same sites that were explored to create the images in the exhibition.

    Small Movements is open now until Oct. 1 at the Marilyn I. Walker Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space. There will be a reception with the artists on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. More information is available on the exhibit web page.

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  • Visual Arts Department creates perfect pairing with local winery, gallery

    Image caption: A new partnership between Brock University and 13th Street Gallery (pictured above) will see Brock Visual Arts students showcasing their work in an upcoming exhibition beginning Saturday, April 2.

    Originally published in The Brock News |  TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2022 | by 

    A new partnership between Brock’s Department of Visual Arts and 13th Street Winery and Gallery is creating new scholarship and exhibition opportunities for students.

    The pairing’s first collaborative event is set to kick off this weekend, with a selection of work from Visual Arts (VISA) students graduating this spring on show at the 13th Street Gallery, 1776 Fourth Ave. in St. Catharines. The exhibition will run from April 2 to 30, with an artists’ reception taking place Saturday, April 16 between 2 and 5 p.m. that will allow the public to meet the artists and view their work.

    Additionally, 13th Street Winery and Gallery has announced it will provide an annual scholarship to a Visual Arts student to further their artistic practice. The first 13th Street Gallery and Winery Scholarship award winner will be announced at the April 16 reception.

    The gallery specializes in Canadian historical and contemporary fine art. Experiencing compelling art in a gallery setting has always been part of the vision for the premier local winery, which produces premium VQA wines.

    As galleries across the province open their doors after closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibiting work in a professional setting presents an exciting opportunity for students to broaden their audiences and gain hands-on exposure to the arts industry.

    Amy Friend, Chair and Associate Professor of Visual Arts at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, said she’s pleased to begin this collaboration with 13th Street Gallery.

    “Having the work students are doing here at the Marilyn out in the community is wonderful,” she said.

    “We are thrilled to have this growing partnership with Brock University and glad to be able to provide the space for the students,” said John Mann, owner and director of 13th Street Gallery.

    In May, VISA faculty members and alumni have been invited to exhibit their work at the gallery.

    The 13th Street Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. For more gallery information and upcoming exhibition details, please visit the 13th Street Gallery website.

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  • Brock Visual Arts Gallery showcasing work from students and faculty reopens

    Image caption: Visual Arts students view works of art from faculty exhibition Apart We Were Together, the first in-person art show to be held in the Visual Arts Gallery since it closed due to the pandemic.

    Originally published in The Brock News on | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2021 | by 

    After a year and half, the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) has recently reopened its doors to the Brock University community and wider public to view in-person exhibitions.

    The latest show running in the gallery is a student exhibition featuring the work of Visual Arts students Sarah Formosa and Rabia Choudhary. Intricate Connections (Sarah Formosa); Unruly Growth (Rabia Choudary) opened Thursday, Oct. 21 and runs until Nov. 19.

    Choudhary called it “thrilling” to be sharing her work publicly.

    “These pieces were created during the pandemic and explore my struggles with identity, and coming to terms with who I am,” she said. “It is such a privilege to share my work with the Brock community.”

    Formosa agrees that sharing her work in a public show is an exciting opportunity.

    “I have officially heard my first gasp from a child, entering a space that holds something that I’ve created,” she said. “I hope visitors enjoy these works and that there might be an opportunity to leave the gallery having gained another perspective on life.”

    The first exhibition to be mounted in the space was a Visual Arts faculty exhibition opened in September entitled Apart We Were Together. Exhibiting artists were Associate Professor and Visual Arts Department Chair Amy Friend, Associate Professor Derek Knight, Assistant Professor Troy David Ouellette and Associate Professor Donna Szoke.

    The concept of the show was loosely borrowed from celebrated author and philosopher Jacques Rancière’s book The Emancipated Spectator, which explores the idea of ‘apart we were together’ investigating outcomes when an artist is separated from their work and the viewer.

    The exhibition included photography, video projections and multimedia installations made of fibre-optic cable. Exhibiting artists drew on pandemic-related themes for their works such as separation, the loss of connection, solidarity and nostalgia.

    As stated in the Exhibition Introduction, the artists acknowledged that even with the closure of galleries, theatres and other areas of cultural production during the pandemic, there was always the possibility of “wonderment and dialogue” within the arts.

    The ‘apart we were together’ theme underscored the importance of solidarity, especially during challenging times. Though the in-person exhibition has closed,  a virtual exhibition can be viewed online.

    The Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space is located on the first floor of the MIWSFPA at 15 Artists Common in downtown St. Catharines. The gallery is open to the Brock community and wider public Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. September through April.

    Brock students and staff are encouraged to RSVP through ExperienceBU to attend the exhibition. All Brock University protocols apply including mandatory full COVID-19 vaccination and masks for all visitors. The visiting public is asked to enter the building through the main entrance for check-in at the Security Desk.

    Questions can be directed to the Visual Arts Gallery at visagallery@brocku.ca

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  • Visual Arts prof and photographer exhibits new work on international stage

    Sea, Salt, Moon, Air by Amy Friend, Associate Professor and department Chair of Visual Arts, is part of a new photography exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland.

    Originally published in The Brock News WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2021 | by 

    An exhibit showcasing the work of artist and Brock University Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts Amy Friend has gained international attention.

    Friend was one of eight artists from around the world invited to exhibit their photography at a summer show entitled Ocean at Bildhalle gallery in Zurich, Switzerland. Bildhalle, founded in 2013 by Mirjam Cavegn, is a highly respected art gallery presenting world class photography.

    The exhibition, which explores the motif of water through different aesthetics, was recently featured in the International Edition of The Guardian in their Art and Design section. The article displayed a selection of images from the exhibition and provided details on each artist and their work.

    Becoming 0.4% by Amy Friend from the international exhibition Ocean.

    In her artistic practice, the theme of water and ever-shifting seascapes is of great interest to Friend and is woven through much of her creative work. Due to the travel restrictions of the global pandemic, Friend found herself reflecting on past times at  the seaside during which she collected samples of water from across the world.

    Friend’s photographs featured in the Ocean exhibition came to fruition when she revisited 20 years worth of her photographs involving water and seascapes. Drawing on the notion that photography acts a as vault containing moments from the past, she fused her ideas together.

    “Looking at the abundant images of water in my personal collection, I began to consider my connection to these places and what it meant to take so many images like this,” said Friend. “I questioned what was possible to accomplish with this collection, given my stationary position due to COVID.”

    After selecting a series of the photographs, Friend printed them and then soaked them in the salt water she had collected during previous travels.

    “Over time, the sea water evaporated, leaving a residue of salt on the print,” Friend said.

    She said her pieces Tiny Tears Fill the Ocean (2020) and Endothelium Waves (2020) examine the connection between the body and the ocean.

    “The interplay between the salt content of water and the salt content of our bodies, including our tears, is of particular interest,” she said. “Our bodily connection to place is something that continues to resurface in my practice.”

    Through the exploration of themes of tears and loss, there is an environmental aspect to the work. Although the photographs are not specifically about the effects of climate change, Friend said “it is important to reflect on loss from an environmental standpoint when viewing these works.”

    With the exhibition running into the fall, Friend is looking forward to sharing the details of her experience with her students.

    “It is important that they see others actively engaging within a creative community. By sharing my experience with them, I hope to provide a bit of real-world insight related to the planning and trouble-shooting involved when preparing for exhibitions,” she said.

    To view the exhibition Ocean, visit the Bildhalle website.

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  • Visual Arts grad catches the eye of WIRED magazine

    Image caption: “Three Polaroids” is a piece from Amber Lee Williams’ collection “Tethered” that uses a Polaroid emulsion lift technique. “Through self-portraits, photos of my own children and other mothers with their children, “Tethered” is part observation and part documentation of daily life,” Williams says.

    Originally published in The Brock News FRIDAY, MAY 07, 2021 | by 

    While the look of a classic Polaroid picture is familiar to most people, interdisciplinary artist Amber Lee Williams (BA ’20) is challenging that standard and garnering international attention with her creative use of the iconic medium.

    Among those captivated by the St. Catharines’ artist’s compelling work is WIRED magazine, which recently commissioned Williams’ art for an article about adoption. The international publication reaches 30 million readers each month.

    Originally interested in painting, Williams, who graduated from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) last year with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,  discovered a passion for experimental photography when introduced to the darkroom in her second-year Analogue Photography class.

    Williams developed her art practice during her degree based on a technique called Polaroid emulsion lifts. In this treatment, the top layer of a Polaroid photo (known as the emulsion layer) is separated from the physical print by soaking it in water. After the separation of the emulsion image has occurred, it is often transferred to other surfaces such as watercolour paper or hard surfaces like rocks.

    Through creative and scholarly exploration undertaken by Williams during her time in the Visual Arts program, she reimagined the Polaroid emulsion lift technique by capturing digital images of the emulsion lift in process. She was excited by how the images looked floating in water and found them to have an “ephemeral quality.”

    Brock alumna and local artist Amber Lee Williams was recently commissioned by WIRED magazine for her innovative work with Polaroid images.

    In her current work, Williams continues to explore the interplay between analogue and digital media, weaving this theme through her pieces.

    “My time at Brock put me on a very experimental path. My professors encouraged me to use unconventional materials, or to invent new ways to use materials. I was never told ‘this wasn’t the assignment’ — even when I handed in some weird stuff,” she said with a smile.

    Associate Professor of Visual Arts Amy Friend, who taught Williams’ Analogue Photography class, said that Williams consistently challenged her studio assignments, and with each critique, brought in a plethora of work that demonstrated a clear commitment to pushing process and result.

    “Her unique approach of blending alternate materials within the folds of photographic practice wonderfully represents the explorative nature of studio-based courses and the progression of her practice as an artist,” Friend said.

    Opportunity called in December 2020 when a senior editor of WIRED reached out to Williams — a connection made through Friend — to commission her Polaroid works for an upcoming article. With that, Williams embarked on her first big job in the creative sector.

    Fuelled by excitement and a touch of nervousness, she began her creative work for Adoption Moved to Facebook and a War Began written by Samantha M. Shapiro.

    “First, photographer Juan Diego Reyes took some photos using colour film of the family featured in the adoption article. The film was developed, scanned and sent to me to print as Polaroids to turn into lifts,” Williams explained.

    The lead image of the article created as a result is one of her favourite images that she has ever made.

    “The way Reyes photographed the family — with these big shadows cast behind them — felt so symbolic of what the story was all about, which was this dark side of adoption,” she said.

    Williams also created her own still life images featuring children’s items. With a toddler and seven-year-old at home, she had what she needed on hand to create original images for the rest of the article.

    Creating original images took her out of her comfort zone and posed an exciting challenge, Williams said.

    “I’m usually just making art about myself (or my own family), and for myself. Trying to make the work fit someone else’s ideas was very different than what I’m used to.”

    Williams, who recently completed her second term in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program at the University of Waterloo, hasn’t slowed since graduating from Brock. The busy mother of two looks forward to what the future holds.

    “I didn’t think I would be doing my MFA mostly online with my kids home, but here we are. I got through the first year and now I’ll have the summer to make more work and enjoy some time with my family,” she said.

    Williams hopes to showcase her work, “Tethered,” this fall at an exhibition in St. Catharines pending public health protocols.

    As she continues her schooling, she is contemplating what her next moves will be.

    “What I know now is that I just want to make art, and help other people make art,” she said.

    Williams’ art portfolio can be found on her website, amberleeart.com, and on her Instagram page.

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  • FACULTY FOCUS: Amy Friend on the art of visual storytelling

    Amy Friend, associate professor in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, works hands-on to experiment with both digital and analogue images. She poses beside her piece Our Little Dancing Girl, Evelyn, Age 9 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    (Published TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2020| by The Brock News {Michelle Pressé})

    Note: Faculty Focus is a monthly series that highlights faculty whose compelling passions, innovative ideas, and various areas of expertise help weave together the fabric of Brock University’s vibrant community. For more from the series, click here.

    It’s not often that Amy Friend goes out and photographs what she calls ‘the real world.’

    Instead, the associate professor in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts works hands-on to interrogate a medium, experimenting with both digital and analogue images.

    One of Friend’s signature styles is hand-manipulating vintage photographs in a way that rescues and revives them, exploring what’s visible and what isn’t, such as in her series Dare alla Luce. She likes to think of photography as a material that is alive with possibility.

    Her work has been selected three times as one of the top 50 photographs in the juried Critical Mass International Photography Competition, and she’s exhibited in more than a dozen countries, including Spain, Greece, and Korea.

    The inspiration for her Vestiges series can be traced to being surrounded by family possessions, the outcome of being from an immigrant family who lived through the Great Depression, and threw nothing away.

    “The deceased occupied a place in our home and everything had a story,” Friend wrote in her artist statement for Vestiges, a hauntingly beautiful photograph on the fabric of her grandmother’s — to her, nonna’s — nightgown in the Algoma Central Lobby of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC).

    Friend looks on at Vestiges, which was inspired by a lifetime of being surrounded by precious family possessions.

    Her grandfather’s (nonno’s) dreams of becoming a professional dancer never materialized due to life’s circumstances, instead of working in construction to help provide for his family, who left northern Italy for Canada. Her family history and the stories passed among them is a reoccurring source of inspiration.

    “The nightgown appears to be dancing, so I found it suitable for the space,” says Friend of Vestiges in the downtown St. Catharines location. “I think of this space as a makerspace of stories. My grandparents danced together; this was a small part of their history, so I touched on that secret history. Theirs is one little story among many in the space.”

    She says one of the most fulfilling things about her work is developing pieces for specific locations. A particularly rewarding experience has been Rodman Hall, where she experimented with new materials, including a 40-foot long photograph on silk.

    That work became part of the stage design for musician Diana Krall’s world tour.

    “Having the intimate setting of Rodman Hall and working with curator Marcie Bronson provided fertile ground for this artwork to develop, which ended up on the world stage,” says Friend. “This creative process in your own community format says something about where seeds start and offers a spotlight to what we are doing as artists here in Niagara.”

    Another one of her pieces, Our Little Dancing Girl, Evelyn, Age 9, is the product of collecting photographs on the internet that strangers pawn off for next to nothing. The photograph had “Our little dancing girl, Evelyn, Age 9” scrawled on the back, evoking curiosity about an unknown, individual history.

    “Even though I wouldn’t say my images tell a concrete story, they are constantly referencing things we don’t know,” she says. “It’s the unknown aspects of making an image that directly intrigues me.”

    Amy Friend poses outside of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    “In this series, I’m not only interested in making artwork, but making and thinking about what it means to take a photograph, to lose a photograph; an image that belonged to someone else,” says Friend. “It’s a conversation I’m constantly having through photography: making and investigating what it can and cannot express.”

    Another thing Friend considers paramount to her work as an artist is teaching.

    “I’m engaging with the idea of creative practice and getting students to dig into the act of play,” she says. “It gets us out of what I call the treadmill of production. Some of my best work has come out of completely screwing things up.”

    While she loves seeing her students succeed, the most important lesson she hopes they learn is to embrace “epically failing.” Without it, Friend says, we lose the imperative experience of disappointment and working to solve creative problems.

    “My experience at Brock has been wonderful,” says Friend. “I’ve had incredible opportunities. We continue to have a vision in what the School could and should be, and the potential is incredible.”

    One of the biggest changes with working she’s noticed isn’t just within Brock, but the art of photography itself.

    “It’s much more immediate,” says Friend on integrating photography into our everyday lives. “We always have images close by. We scroll through photos on phones and other devices. There is a different type of interaction. It still has a place in our lives.”

    One thing that will never change is the human ability to respond to art in a unique way. She was reminded of this in February when taking her young daughter to the PAC for Family Day, which included various activities, such as crafts and therapy dogs.

    “I pointed to Vestiges and said, ‘You know, your mama made that,’ and she glanced at it and said, ‘Yeah, okay. Where are the dogs?’ It was humbling and funny, but there was also a sweetness to her response,” says Friend. “Maybe at some point this image will be significant to her and maybe it won’t. We all have reactions to art and each is a unique interaction that tells us something about ourselves and who we are at that moment.”

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Translations, an invitational photography exhibition to begin the new decade

    image: Sarah Martin

    Translations

    An exhibition of photography by visual arts students.
    A reception will be held on January 15, 2019 – 5 p.m to 8 p.m.
    Presented in the VISA Art gallery and Student Exhibition Space of the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines.

    Translations is a curated show consisting of photographs created with analogue, experimental and digital processes.  The combination of the photographs is intended to instigate a reflection on the practice of creativity and what it means to make photographs.  It is also an exhibition that contemplates what a photograph is and how we each see and experience photographs. The students were individually invited, and work was individually selected for the exhibition by Professor Amy Friend of the Department of Dramatic Arts.

    Work in the exhibition includes photographs by students  from the Department of Visual Arts and other programs at Brock University.

    The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    Click on the images to download the posters.

    see the short video produced by YourTV Niagara

    The participating artists include:

    Tabitha Holloway, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art
    Chance Mutuku, Bachelor of Kinesiology
    Sarah Martin, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art With First-Class Standing
    Amber Lee Williams, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art
    Kaitlyn Roberts, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art, Minor in French Studies

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    Categories: Alumni, Events, Exhibitions, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised