Articles tagged with: Department of Visual Arts

  • Exploring family history through art

    Chidera Onyegbule and Osaze Usuanlele make cyanotypes, an early type of archival photography, using images from their families’ histories. Fifteen youth aged 14 to 18 have been participating in the week-long workshop, which is a partnership between Rodman Hall Art Centre, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the City of St. Catharines.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    Old family photos were given new life during a special Brock workshop held last week.

    Fifteen young artists from St. Catharines spent the week working with Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend to explore their family history and create new works of art.

    During the workshop organized by Rodman Hall Art Centre, participants used camera-less photography techniques on their familial documents as they conceptualized, planned and executed their artwork.

    “The program takes key ideas from Rodman Hall’s summer exhibition Carry Forward, such as how social and political biases get carried forward into how history is recorded, into the everyday lives of youth living in Niagara,” says Elizabeth Chitty, Rodman Hall Programming Officer.

    Chitty worked with community organizations and teachers to invite young artists from culturally diverse backgrounds to participate.

    Students spent several days at Rodman Hall exploring the ideas presented in Carry Forward, such as the complex history of documentation and power relations, engaging with colonialism, propaganda and authenticity.

    Participants were asked to consider how Rodman Hall itself is an archive, Friend says.

    “Students were encouraged to think about what an archive is, what it means to look at documents related to their own lives and how to use the archive as an art form to explore histories not well known.”

    Fifteen young artists from St. Catharines spent the week working with Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend to explore their family history and create new works of art.

    Working in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts darkroom as well as outside, the young artists used cyanotypes, silver gelatin prints and mixed media to engage with their own histories.

    Ness Griffin never met her grandparents or her extended family. Her family’s connection with their Haudenosaunee culture was cut in the Sixties Scoop.

    Working with reproductions of family photos that she made during the workshop, Griffin scratches out faces to represent her loss of connections with extended family.

    “It was a hard decision to make to cut up the photograph because it is deeply personal,” she said.

    Chimera Onyegbule also worked with photos of family she never met. Her great grandfather was born to a British father and Nigerian mother in the colonial era in Nigeria.

    “I call this piece The White Flag,” she says. “He’s like the white flag in a war between two sides.”

    The Grade 11 student at Holy Cross Catholic High School recently visited an aunt in London, England, where she learned more about her great grandfather.

    “I’ve always wanted to know more about my family history,” she says. “It’s important to keep stuff like this alive.”

    The pieces created through the special program will be featured during a public exhibition that will run until Sept. 2 in The Film House lobby of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The public is invited to attend the exhibition’s opening on Tuesday, July 17 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

    Carry Forward is on at Rodman Hall Art Centre until Sept. 2.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Events, News

  • Brock prof honoured at St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight.

    (from The Brock News,  Tuesday, June 12, 2018 | by )

    A Brock professor known for his contributions to arts education was honoured for his longstanding efforts at last week’s 2018 St. Catharines Arts Awards.

    Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight was presented the Arts in Education Award at the June 4 celebration.

    “I am thrilled and humbled by this recognition, and thankful to those dear colleagues who took the initiative to nominate me,” says Knight.

    “My various roles at Brock over my 30-year tenure as a teacher, art historian, curator and administrator have provided me with many opportunities to interact with the community in both profound and lasting ways.”

    Knight served on the Rodman Hall Art Centre Advisory Board from 2003 to 2015, and on the User Committee in support of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    He currently teaches courses in 20th century European and North American art history and contemporary art and theory, and works with MA students in the Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts program.

    Knight is also a past director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    “When I assumed the directorship, our objective then was to plan and build a state of the art facility in support of innovative studio or performance degree programs and history or cultural theory degrees,” says Knight.

    “The impact of this transformative project on the University and community at large has been profound. It remains a testament to our collective efforts and to the legacy of Mrs. Walker, our remarkable benefactor.”

    Knight nurtured a legacy of productive relationships among the departments making up the arts school, says current MIWSFPA Director David Vivian.

    “Through all aspects of the development and building of our school and leading to the opening of the facility in 2015, Derek has been a generous, indefatigable mentor to us.”

    Also presented during last week’s celebration was the Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    The honour’s two recipients included Markino Jareb, a multidisciplinary visual artist and DJ whose work has been described as an “intersection of street culture, the dance floor and the gallery walls,” and Jessica Wilson, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who has performed in theatre, as a soloist with various Canadian symphony orchestras and at various acoustic shows across Niagara.

    Also recognized during the event was Shauna MacLeod, founder and director of the Willow Community, who received the Jury’s Pick Award for her exceptional commitment to the arts in St. Catharines. The non-profit arts organization, based at Rodman Hall, provides free artistic training and exhibition opportunities to community members with lived experience of mental health and addiction.

    The Arts Awards have promoted St. Catharines artists and cultural industries and honoured cultural leader since 2005. Recipients receive $500 to support their work and a certificate or a hand-crafted award.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • 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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  • Rodman Hall hosts Visual Arts honours exhibitions

    The opening reception for the first instalment of the honours exhibitions on Friday, March 23 drew a large crowd to Rodman Hall Art Centre. Photo: Danny Custodio.

    Graduating students from the Honours Studio course (VISA 4F06) have been busy all semester creating their pieces for the two-part Brock University Department of Visual Arts Honours Exhibition. Students were mentored by Rodman Hall Art Centre gallery staff and Visual Arts Professors Donna Szoke, Shawn Serfas, Derek Knight, and Donna Akrey.

    The first instalment of the honours exhibition: Just Resting My Eyes is currently on display at the Rodman Hall Art Centre (109 St. Paul Crescent). The current exhibition features work from students: Denise Apostolatos, Victoria Morinello, Jill Newman, Jacob Primeau, and Aaron Thompson.

    These honours exhibitions are vital to students’ education in the Brock Visual Arts program because “the nature, purpose and intended outcome of Honours Studio is that once the students graduate from the art program, they become practicing artists. Art making, as a practice of research-creation, is inherently experiential learning” says Szoke.

    The collaboration with the professional team of the Rodman Hall Art Centre is a essential learning experience for Brock Visual Arts students. Akrey says the Rodman Hall staff’s “consultation with each student teaches them the importance of the entire process of art making and exhibiting, and the importance of their individual work in a collaborative event.” Serfas adds that the importance of having Rodman Hall embedded into the Bachelor of Arts program is that “it gives our students a distinctive experiential learning opportunity.”

    Knight says that the audience can expect to see “broad cultural themes with emphasis on the impact of mass media, environmental or social issues” throughout the work created by these honours students in this two-part exhibit.

    The second instalment, Turnin’ This Car Around, is set to be exhibited from Saturday, April 14 to Sunday, April 29, with the opening reception on Friday, April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. This upcoming exhibit will feature pieces by Rachel Dove, Lauren Mucciarone, Victoria Reid, Brittany Thomas-Clapp, and Lorraine Zandvliet.

    Photographs from the exhibition have been posted to an online gallery.

    For more information about Rodman Hall Art Centre and their programs see brocku.ca/rodman-hall


    see the article by John Law in the St.Catharines Standard: Brock’s top art students gather for one last show

    see the video report by Stephen Parr for YourTV Niagara

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    Categories: 4F06 Honours Exhibition, Current Students, Events, In the Media, News

  • Exhibition – Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between, opens Feb. 15

    Brock Visual Art student Sarah Martin and Brock Visual Arts Alumna Caterina Stambolic present photographs and sculptures investigating the interruptions between mind and body.

    Exhibition: Thursday Feb. 15 to Saturday Mar. 24

    Regular visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1-5 pm.

    Opening Reception: Thursday Mar. 8, 5 – 8 pm

    Location: Visual Arts Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University

    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON

    This is a free community event!

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Events, Exhibitions

  • World-class photographer with a Brock connection

    “One of Them Is a Human #1” by Maija Tammi won third place in this year’s Taylor-Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Tammi studied photography at Brock in 2008-09 with Visual Arts professor Amy Friend. (Image copyright Maija Tammi; Used by permission).

    (Source: The Brock News | Friday Dec. 15, 2017 by Alison Innes)

    At first glance, the photo is a portrait of a young woman.

    On closer inspection, the ‘woman’ isn’t human at all. It is, in fact, an android called Erica, developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories in Osaka University, Japan.

    The photograph, taken by Finnish artist Maija Tammi and titled “One of Them is a Human #1,” won third prize in this year’s prestigious Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

    The photograph also has a surprising Brock connection.

    Finnish artist Maija Tammi, who studied at
    Brock University in 2008-09

    Tammi spent a year studying film and art at Brock University in 2008-09. Although she already had a background in photojournalism, her experience at Brock, and in particular a course with Professor Amy Friend, encouraged her towards art photography.

    “The Visual Arts program at Brock offers an abundance of opportunity for one-on-one interactions in class with students and professors,” says Friend.

    Such interactions allow for personalized and concentrated instruction that allow students to reach their potential.

    “Maija flourished in this environment and took advantage of the surrounding community with her interactive installations and thought-provoking course projects,” says Friend.

    Tammi cites the film Five Obstructions, which she first saw in Friend’s course, as particularly influential.

    The 1967 film shows the remaking of the same story five times, each with a different obstruction. This process of rethinking and reframing inspired Tammi.

    “Once you have thought of a concept,” she explains, “you rethink it several times from different perspectives.”

    Tammi was immediately interested in the ways obstructions can encourage creativity and used the idea in her class project, redoing the same photograph multiple times with different obstructions.

    This experience in Friend’s course influenced her approach to photography. She gives herself obstructions, such as limiting her camera gear, to encourage her own creativity.

    Tammi is particularly attracted to portraiture, which she says tells us more about ourselves as viewers of the photograph than the subject of the photo as we project our stereotypes on them.

    One of Them is a Human #1 has attracted a lot of attention in the arts community. Although the Taylor Wessing contest rules state that the subject needs to be alive, Tammi’s photograph was accepted because it raises important questions about what it means to be human.

    “I’m very excited about the conversation that has arisen,” Tammi says. “It is time to think about what it means to be alive.”

    Tammi doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects; she is currently completing a practise-based PhD exploring representations of sickness in art photography.

    “I like topics that are very difficult and people don’t like to talk about,” she says.

    Friend, who exhibited work in the same show as Tammi in New York in August 2015, has been watching her former student’s success closely.

    “Her success is indicative of the connections that many students make with classmates and professors,” Friend says. “When I see opportunities that fit her areas of expertise I send them her way. These are the types of extended interactions that happen when we are given space to know our students.”

    Tammi’s work was one of three finalists chosen from more than 5,717 submissions. Selected submissions, including the shortlisted portraits and competition winner, are on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

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  • Brock photographers snap up art show awards

    Danny Custodio collaborated with his father to create compositions exploring tar’s organic forms and textures.

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday Dec. 6, 2017 by Alison Innes)

    Two Brock photographers were recently honoured for their ability to capture compelling imagery.

    Visual Arts student Denise Apostolatos and Administrative Assistant Danny Custodio, from the Rodman Hall Art Centre, both won awards at RMG Exposed: Out of this World, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery art show and charity auction held Nov. 25.

    Oil and Vinegar by Visual Arts student Denise Apostolatos, received first place in the youth category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction.

    Oil and Vinegar by Visual Arts student Denise Apostolatos, received first place in the youth category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction.

    Apostolatos’ work, Oil and Vinegar, won first place in the youth category from a shortlist of 40 works from across North America. 

    She says it was “truly an honour” to be named the winner of the youth category, and to receive two consecutive acceptances to participate in RMG Exposed.

    “As an undergraduate student, these opportunities are unique in that they provide a professional outlet to gain recognition and network in a larger context,” she says.

    Apostolatos credits the artistic and professional guidance she receives in the Visual Arts program for fostering her development as a creative professional.

    “As an undergraduate artist, it is important to see her work outside of the classroom and in the professional art community,” says Visual Arts Professor and Department Chair Donna Szoke. “We are thrilled to see Denise’s work being celebrated.”

    The award is also a means to recognize the “talent being produced here in Niagara in our Visual Arts program at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts,” she says.

    Rodman Hall’s Danny Custodio took first place in the Conceptual/Non-Representational category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction. He is pictured with award sponsor Mason Bennett of Johncox professional Corporation.

    Rodman Hall’s Danny Custodio took first place in the Conceptual/Non-Representational category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction. He is pictured with award sponsor Mason Bennett of Johncox professional Corporation.

    Custodio received the Conceptual/Non-Representational Prize for his image Tar, which explores themes of blue-collar labour.

    “Tar is a commonly used substance in roofing, the profession my father worked for 45 years,” says Custodio, who collaborated with his father to create compositions exploring tar’s organic forms and textures.

    RMG Exposed: Out of this World brings together artists, collectors and curators to celebrate digital photography and support free arts programming for kids and families. The event, now in its eighth year, includes both live and silent auctions of images carefully selected from 466 submissions.

    The event is designed to recognize contemporary photographers and draws artist submissions from across Canada and the United States.

    The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is a public art museum in Oshawa and features a collection of over 4,500 works including Canadian contemporary art and photography.

    To view this year’s images, visit the RMG Exposed website.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Exhibitions, In the Media, News