Articles tagged with: visa

  • Walker Cultural Leaders Series: John Fekner, street and multimedia artist

    Next up in the 2020-21 Walker Cultural Leaders Series is famed street and multimedia artist, John Fekner.

    WALKER CUlTURAL LEADER: John Fekner

    • Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020
    • Presentation live at 7:00 p.m. on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts YouTube channel

    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA) is thrilled to present this compelling conversation between Fekner and Denise St. Marie. Fekner is a street and multimedia artist, who created hundreds of environmental, social, political, and conceptual works consisting of stenciled words, symbols, dates, and icons painted outdoors around the world. Since 1968, Fekner has addressed issues involving concepts of perception and transformation, as well as specific environmental and sociological concerns such as urban decay, greed, chemical pollution, mass media, and tributes to North America Indigenous Peoples. 

    “The social injustice and environmental issues we face today have roots in the civil rights and protests movements of the 60s’. As an undergraduate college student in New York (1968-1972), I participated in student demonstrations and peaceful moratoriums against the war in Vietnam. The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) spread through university and college campuses throughout the United States and the entire world”, Fekner says. “Grassroots organizations always do the footwork, shining the light of truth through the thick hedge of falsehoods and lies in our mainstream political dialogue. Most importantly, the solutions they seek are not expedient but are foundational in improving conditions for generations to come. In every instance, they challenge the fabricated narratives of the powers that be.”   

    More information about the Walker Cultural Leaders available online.

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  • New podcast challenges ideas of history of Western art

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  • Welcome to Visual Arts: Orientation for 2020!

    (a screen shot from the welcome by Professor Shawn Serfas. Watch the video below.)


    Brock University is launching the first-ever Virtual Welcome Week.
    During this year of the pandemic the Orientation activities are all online.
    Watch the welcome below and visit the official Orientation page for all the details!


    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA)

    Welcome new VISA students to our asynchronous orientation video! It’s always nice to put a name to face, so we took some time to prepare this video, so that you can get acquainted with some of the awesome people in the Department of Visual Arts. We look forward to meeting you in person in the near future. Stay safe, VISA.

    Professor Shawn Serfas, Chair of the Department will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Teams.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)


    The Department of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture are all part of the Faculty of Humanities.

    The Associate Dean, Dr. Neta Gordon, Professor of English, welcomes you to Brock University! She’s prepared an 11 minute video to introduce to you to the Faculty of Humanities:


    Michael Gicante is your Academic Advisor for studies at the MIWSFPA.
    He prepared this video for the April open House:


    Koreen McCullough is the Experiential Education Coordinator for the Faculty of Humanities.
    Watch her 3 minute presentation about Experiential Education opportunities at Brock University:


    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, the MIWSFPA is home to four academic programs. We are right next door to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on the main street of St. Catharines, St. Paul.

    Each program at the MIWSFPA is offering a special welcome to their students.  For example, if you are a beginning your studies as a major in Dramatic Arts, check out what that Department has scheduled for you and plan to join in the fun.  You are also welcome to join the activities of each program at the School even if you are only taking one course or beginning a minor program.  The activities and welcome messages from each program are listed below.

    Professor David Vivian, of the Department of Dramatic Arts (he teaches design and production for theatre), is the Director of the School:

    David will be hosting office hours on September 8, 2020, from 12-3:00 pm,on Teams.
    Drop in and say hi! (click here)


    We all wish you a very successful year at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

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  • Visual Arts and Interactive Arts and Science grad wins Daytime Emmy

    Karlee Morse (BA ’11) has been recognized with an Emmy for her special effects makeup on the children’s program Dino Dana.

    (Published WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2020 | in the The Brock News by )

    Karlee Morse (BA ’11) wasn’t sure at first what she wanted to do when she graduated from Brock University.

    But the Brock alumna has clearly found her calling having won a Daytime Emmy last month for Outstanding Special Effects Costume, Makeup and Hairstyling for her work on an episode of the children’s show Dino Dana.

    Morse worked with a team of three artists to transform four actors into dinosaurs for the episode of Dino Dana. Working from CGI illustrations and the costume design by Christine Toye, Morse seamlessly transformed the actors.

    “It’s just amazing,” she said of her win. “Truthfully it was really hard. It was a lot of work.”

    Morse started her career in film and television as an assistant for the art department on a production called Android produced by Sinking Ship, the same company that produced Dino Dana.

    “From there, I just made connections and once I started focussing on prosthetic work, they brought me in to do some specific episodes,” she said.

    Morse didn’t plan on working in special effects make up while she was completing her combined major in Visual Arts and Interactive Arts and Science.

    “I kind of fell into it,” she said. “I wanted to do concept work for video games, but I realized I’m not content working on the computer for more than an hour. I thought about it and the happiest I was when I was working in the studio.”

    Morse said she loved working in Brock’s painting studio and sculpture classes.

    “I’m so thrilled for Karlee,” said Donna Szoke, Associate Professor of Visual Arts, who taught Morse at Brock. “She has always had a deep love of drawing. Film makeup and special effects makeup is such a wonderful continuation of her lifelong pursuit of drawing and sculpting.”

    After her time at the University, Morse went on to do Sheridan’s special effects makeup program, where she now teaches.

    “I didn’t realize this was a career at all,” she said. “It’s like painting, but on people’s faces. It’s like sculpting, but on a living model.”

    Morse finds herself working in the video game industry from a different perspective than she had originally thought. As a makeup artist, she does life casting— making casts of actors’ body parts — and placing motion capture markers on actors for game giant Ubisoft.

    Morse has worked on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Far Cry 5, and the newly released Far Cry 6.

    “My favourite part of this career is that every day is vastly different,” said Morse. “I usually have multiple things on the go and it’s just fun. I get to go to cool places, meet people and do cool things.”

    Morse has stayed connected with her passion for sculpture and is currently working on some custom sculptures for a corporate client. She sculpts in oil-based clay, then makes a silicon mold and casts the sculpture in resin.

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  • CrissCross, a new student exhibition at the MIWSFPA

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This exhibition is unavailable for viewing until further notice. It is closed as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please check here again.

    CrissCross, a new student exhibition at the MIWSFPA

    March 5 – 28
    opening reception: March 12th, 5 p.m.
    (This is also the reception for the Artist Talk by the Walker Cultural Leader, Landon Mackenzie.)

    VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, L2R 0B5.

    The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    An exhibition by students from the Studies in Arts and Culture and Visual Arts programs. Our hybrid assemblages celebrate incongruity and unfettered associations. Whether abstract or figurative, paintings, or texts, they are intended to trigger reactions, prompt comparisons, and challenge the usual. Beyond the immediate effect of surprise, they provoke, their apparent disparateness nevertheless generates, on closer view, a semblance of overall coherence.

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  • Sacred Spaces: a student exhibition about mental health, at the MIWSFPA

    Sacred Spaces:Student Exhibition

    Feb. 6 to 29, 2020
    Opening reception: Feb. 12, 2020 — 5 to 8 p.m.

    VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, MIWSFPA
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines

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

    With a focus on mental health, an exhibition about understanding emotional vulnerability and self-reflection, while unpacking the human need for comfort. Featuring Visual Arts students Kaitlyn Roberts and Chardon Trimble-Kirk.

    see the review in The Sound by Bart Gazzola.

    Sacred Spaces – Artist Statement
    Kaitlyn Roberts and Chardon Trimble-Kirk

    Mental illnesses often destroy from the inside out. It is a sickness that is hidden through the action of covering oneself from the world, in fear of discovery. Doctors will prescribe medication in an attempt to cure mental illness; medication that comes with dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, bruising, sexual dysfunction, and countless other side effects. All of which to shut out the voices from inside one’s mind. Voices that proclaim that you are not good enough, you do not deserve to be happy, you do not deserve to eat. I would much rather stay in bed. If I stay in bed, the medication isn’t necessary. The demons and monsters can be let out and no one will ever know.

    When living with mental illness, it is living a double life. One must hide behind a mask, only finding true relief in the intimate space of the bedroom, amongst the comfort of bedding. Only within these spaces is one truly allowed to express the realities of mental illnesses, whilst finding safety in the sacred spaces of the bed.

    Each work represents the safety and intimacy found within these spaces, whilst offering a juxtaposition between the covering and uncovering realities of the illnesses. The uncovering comes from personal texts written across these spaces, as well as the exposure of the body, and curiously the covering of the eyes in each figurative work. The text which is a direct thought, and nude figures which are an indirect representation of vulnerability, invite viewers into the sacred spaces of one’s true thoughts. The vague figures and various text will resonate with viewers, bringing awareness to mental illness, its prevalence, and its resonance within many.

    The works aim to de-stigmatize some of the most serious and misunderstood mental illnesses, all within the sacred spaces of our beds.

    download poster

    Kaitlyn Roberts is currently in her fourth and final year at Brock University, achieving an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a major in Studio Art. Her artistic education birthed an attraction to explore autoethnography. Roberts’ studio practice, specifically, surveys the complexity of mental illness translated through visual art while highlighting how it affects both the artist and the viewer.

    Roberts is currently using her practice to investigate the relationship between the mind and the body, through the artistic process of ‘mapping’. This includes research into the connections between mental illnesses and the physical sicknesses that follow, including trauma.

    Roberts has shown her work in juried shows around Ontario including, St. Catharines City Hall’s Transformations, Niagara Artist Centre’s Fortune Favours, and the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington’s The VAC 39th Annual Juried Show where she was the only student, and youngest person to be accepted. Roberts has also shown her work in exhibitions including; Niagara Artist Centre’s Small Feats, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine, and Performing Arts’ Art Block: BAC
    on the Block, as well as many exhibitions hosted by Mahtay Café.

    Roberts will be showing her thesis work titled, Dear Euodia, in April 2020 at Rodman Hall in St. Catharines, Ontario alongside co-artists Chardon Trimble-Kirk, Brianne Casey, Rachel McCartney, Zach White, Kira Pretty, Curt Richard, and Jess McClelland. Opening reception is Friday, April 3rd at 7 pm.

    Roberts is planning on pursuing a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts once she graduates from Brock University.

    Chardon Trimble-Kirk is a Canadian painter based in St. Catharines. Through the use of figuration and pattern making, themes of femininity and gender roles are explored within her work. In addition to this, Trimble-Kirk is interested in the themes of sexuality, vulnerability, repetition and mental health, and their intersections within femininity. Thematic and aesthetic contrasts are often included within the work, allowing viewers to interpret the work individually while also thinking critically about the concepts presented.

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  • Donna Szőke presents ‘On Invisibility’, January 21 at the MIWSFPA

    On 21 January, the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture welcomes artist Donna Szőke, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and a member of the recently created Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture, as a Walker Cultural leader for 2020.

    Szőke will present an artists’ talk “On Invisibility” at 7:00 pm at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts of Brock University (MIWSFPA). This is a free community event and everyone is welcome to attend.

    Invisibility is this year’s theme at The Small Walker Press, a small press valuing interdisciplinary cooperation and the exploration of image and text, homed in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) at the MIWSFPA.

    Szőke creates expanded animation, media art, video, drawing, and collaborations. She investigates immanence, embodied perception, and the fluidity of lived experience.

    In her artist’s talk, she will present her work and her current book project The Dark Redacted in cooperation with author Gary Barwin, to be published in April 2020 by the Small Walker Press.

    In an excerpt from the forthcoming volume, editors Catherine Parayre and Derek Knight write:

    Donna Szőke thoughtfully investigates the fluidity of meaning and presence. Rather than elucidating a concept or an experience, she proposes a semi-abstract perusal of collective or intimate issues. Offering a reflection on the evocative instability of the biographical and the personal, and opting for an approach close to autofiction, her work constellates subtle possibilities and its scope defies the limitations of certainty. The artist is a compelling storyteller for whom the quest for meaning and the vagrancies of that search are more significant than plain facts. For The Dark Redacted Szőke proposes traces of a fragile story and never-faltering endurance. Her sequence of images alternates beautifully detailed natural life – a buffalo, intricate vegetation – and minimally sketched-out human presence and personal objects. As a result, her work addresses the viewers’ intuition and sensitivity to the environment.

    The event is presented by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture for the Walker Cultural Leader Series, generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker. The Walker Cultural Leader series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Engaging, lively and erudite, these sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society.

    Join us on January 21, 2020 at 7-8:30 pm.  The presentation takes place in the Art & Val Fleming Smart Classroom (MWS 156), located on the lower level of the MIWSFPA.  Limited parking is available at the MIWSFPA, with additional parking nearby at the Garden Park/Carlisle Street Parking garage and adjacent lots.

    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture: Walker Cultural Leader Artist’s talk
    ‘On Invisibility’, with Donna Szőke
    21 January 2020, 7-8:30 pm, MWS 156

    download the poster

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  • Visual Art professor’s work chosen for prestigious U.K. exhibition

    “Wayfinding in Cold Light from the Multi-Verse Series” by Amy Friend, an Assistant Professor in Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, is one of just 55 photographs included in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, U.K.

    (published in The Brock News TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 2019 | by  )

    Nearly 4,000 portraits by more than 1,000 photographers from 70 countries were submitted, but only 55 were chosen for this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition in the United Kingdom.

    One of those portraits is by Amy Friend, an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Art.

    The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is a prestigious annual award that attracts amateur and professional photographers alike. Only 55 of the 3,700 submissions were chosen for the exhibition. Three photos are shortlisted for the top award of £15,000 (approximately $25,000 CAD).

    “Having my work included in the Taylor Wessing Portrait Exhibition is an exciting adventure in my creative practice,” said Friend. “I had been working on this long-term project for several years, so it is uplifting to see this new work recognized. The piece has personal connections, which extends this recognition in a meaningful way.”

    Friend’s series Multi-Verse draws on her own and found photographs featuring diverse subject matter and imagery from across several time periods to explore the idea of a multi-verse. The series references both the idea of alternate realities and the numerous stories or ‘verses’ the viewer encounters in the photographs.

    She uses experimental photographic methods and manual manipulation to alter photos. While they are not overtly political photographs, her works references darker elements such as floodwaters and images of soldiers.

    “I reference the past, the here and now, the visible and invisible, literally and poetically, albeit not through overtly political photographs,” said Friend. “The medium of photography has always had a currency of possibility. In this series I work to find meaning in the chaos, to be with it and to look for an alternate story from where we are — a multiverse.”

    The exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 5 and carries through to February 2020. The exhibition will then go on tour throughout the U.K.

    In 2017, a portrait by Finnish artist Maija Tammi, who studied under Friend, won third place in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

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  • Students transform trash into treasure for new art exhibit

    (From The Brock News, June 24, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    In a world where both packaging and products are marketed as disposable, Brock Visual Arts students have been challenged to rethink the concept of materialism.

    As part of instructor Donna Akrey’s Sculpture VISA 2F05 course, students were tasked with collecting various everyday items to be used as the basis for their final art projects.

    Everything from Styrofoam packing material to masking tape was fair game as students sculpted their works, which are featured in the upcoming exhibition Material World, on view from Friday, June 28 to Friday, July 19.

    In the process of creating, experimenting and working with their hands, students questioned society’s relationship to disposable materials. They also explored the often-overlooked aesthetics of simple, everyday objects, while being conscious of how everyday “stuff” is treated.

    Artist Caroline Holroyd, for example, repurposed an old speaker and plastic hockey stick handle for one of her pieces.

    “It’s an important topic because there’s so much waste all around us,” she said of working with found objects for this exhibition. “We’re showing creative ways to reuse that waste in this exhibition, but there is still so much more that we can do to combat this serious issue of waste in our society.”

    The 67-year-old Visual Arts major has been completing her degree on a part-time basis and said that working on projects like Material World alongside other artists is one of her favourite parts of the program.

    “They make me feel young,” she said with a laugh.

    Other participating artists in the show include Lindsay Allen, Meagan Benner, Kendra Bosse, Peri Goodman, Erica Greshuk, Rea Kelly, Ang Li, Sarah Martin, Ami Okafor, Harvind Sekhon, Taylor Sorensen, Miles Stanley, Jamie Tomao-Martin and Jessica Turk.

    Material World runs from Friday, June 28 to Friday, July 19 in the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    An opening reception will take place Friday, June 28, from noon to 3 p.m.

    The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

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  • Visual Arts students get creative career advice from international artists

    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.


    (From The Brock News, April 25, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    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.

    British-American artist Phillip Toledano, pictured on screen, was one of six artists who participated in student-conducted interviews as part of Assistant Professor Amy Friend’s Introduction to Digital Photography class. The Visual Arts students were given the opportunity to interact with these creative professionals thanks to an Experiential Education Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant.

    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.”

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