Articles tagged with: Visual Arts

  • 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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  • Student, alumni art exhibition explores time through photography

    Give us a Moment, a Brock student and alumni art exhibit, is on display until Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Visual Arts Gallery of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Using analogue and digital photography, Brock artists are sharing their creative interpretations of memory and time in the University’s latest exhibition.

    Presented by the Department of Visual Arts (VISA), ‘Give us a Moment’ combines these themes, and the etched traces of daily life, through photographs that use old, new and experimental processes.

    Laurie Morrison, both a Brock University Librarian and student in the VISA program, says her work showcased in the exhibition is “intended to bring to mind how the past shapes the present moment.”

    She produced her images through an analogue method, which she describes as both slow moving and unpredictable. It was the uncontrollable nature of the process that she most enjoyed.

    Typical analogue photography consists of film and the use of chemicals to create a reaction producing an image. In this exhibition, the artists explore different methods of production as well as diverse materials for their works.

    “These processes are also erratic and prone to many unexpected results,” Morrison says. “Some artists may find this frustrating, but I find it heightens my interest. The unpredictability becomes part of the journey.”

    For alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22) the exhibition’s title brought with it two separate interpretations.

    “An audience giving their time to examine and explore the artwork validates the artist’s status, and by asking the audience to give us a moment, we are referencing the politics of viewing that dictate an artist’s success,” she says. “Yet in the context of the work each of us are creating, the title takes a new meaning. Each of our works references the past and the passage of time. The title becomes a question asked by the forgotten moments and memories contained within these images.”

    Luth’s inspiration for her experimental processes comes from her endless ambition to discover, create and explore development of photographs.

    “Understanding what makes a photograph is crucial. We can see that photography is all around us and has been throughout all of history,” she says. “There is no single photographic process, but many to be explored — each with their own history and thematic implications.”

    VISA student Emily MacDonald’s work focuses on the time-based photographic process and examines time itself.

    “This show reminds the viewer of the existence of time, whether it is the time they spend with the images or the time that goes into these pieces, as majority of the images are created through a time-based photographic process,” she says.

    MacDonald’s creations revolve around time, memories and space that are significant to her. She applies both analogue and digital processes for her work, noting a distinctive difference with each image she creates using analogue methods.

    “With digital photography, you can shoot a photo as many times as you want. With analogue photography, you must think about the images you take. I sit and look through my viewfinder, observing my subject and the surrounding area until I feel ready to take the photo.”

    Give us a Moment, which is open to the public, will be exhibited until Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, please visit the Current Exhibitions web page.

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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 grad finds passion through experiential learning

    Jessie Richard looks through archival material in Brock’s Archives and Special Collections.


    Originally published in The Brock News FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2022 | by 

    When Jessie Richard enrolled as a Brock University Visual Arts student, she never dreamed it would lead to a career in the world of museums.

    Her time studying at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts opened her eyes to opportunities she had never given thought to before, an experience that has now inspired her future path.

    Richard received her Bachelor of Arts during Brock’s Spring Convocation Friday, June 17, after deferring her graduation a year in hopes of attending an in-person celebration.

    “My entire experience at the Marilyn was amazing,” she said, while looking back on her studies. “The faculty really made you feel like they were taking care of you every step of the way.”

    In addition to her Visual Arts courses, Richard took drama classes and spent time in the wardrobe and lighting departments.

    “It’s nice that when you were in the Marilyn, you were able to really scatter yourself around all the different departments,” she said. “I had a really fantastic time in that way. I really got to expand my horizon.”

    As Richard continued her education, she was drawn to courses taught by Keri Cronin, Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture.

    “I had been taking many of Keri’s classes because I really loved her platform, the way she taught, the integration of collaboration and in-person work, and the research,” Richard said.

    Through the courses taught by Cronin, Richard discovered a way to get closer to the in-class material through an experiential learning opportunity. She applied to become a research assistant under the supervision of Cronin and soon found herself mesmerized by archival artifacts.

    “When Keri and I were at the Archives at Brock, I was able to take a quick peek in the back area,” she said. “Going through these newspapers and handwritten letters, there’s just something special about being able to touch a piece of history.”

    Cronin was thrilled to see Richard’s love for history and research grow.

    “What makes her story kind of cool is that she found her passion through this backdoor,” Cronin said. “It was through this opportunity with me that she really discovered where she wants to be, and she is really just running with it.”

    Since completing her studies, Richard has gone on to work as the Collections Assistant at the St. Catharines Museum and the Museum of Industry in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. She currently works as an Archivist at the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre in Stratton, Ont.

    As she reminisced about her experience at Brock and the excitement of Convocation, Richard provided one last piece of advice for current students.

    “I took classes I thought I would never like, and I loved them,” she said. “I didn’t go into this thinking I would work in museums, but because I didn’t turn any opportunity down, I found my passion and a career path that speaks to my soul.”

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  • Graduating art students mount Honours Thesis exhibition

    Pictured above: “Grand-Maman,” a Polaroid emulsion on mylar image by student artist Charelle St-Aubin will be included in the upcoming exhibition “Resurfacing.”

    Originally published in The Brock News |WEDNESDAY, APRIL 06, 2022 | by 

    An upcoming exhibition will showcase the artwork of seven graduating Brock University students, marking a significant milestone in their artistic careers.

    The Visual Arts (VISA) 4F06 Honours Thesis Exhibition, “Resurfacing,” will take place simultaneously at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and Niagara Artists Centre in downtown St. Catharines from April 12 to May 12.

    “Resurfacing” explores diverse themes, including issues of identity and resiliency, expressed through various materials and approaches that comprise painting, photography, mixed media and sculpture.

    Taught by Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Troy David Ouellette, with guest curator and writer Shannon Anderson, the fourth-year course is the culmination of two semesters of creative and academic work for students. Participating artists include Rabia Choudhary, Naomi Egbunike, Sarah Formosa, Julie Luth, Kimberley Rogers, Cherilynn Tilley and Charelle St-Aubin.

    The public is invited to attend the opening reception at both gallery locations on Tuesday, April 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. with opening remarks at the MIWSFPA beginning at 5 p.m.

    For more information, please visit the VISA 4F06 Current Exhibit web page.

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  • Visual Arts prof creates public art reflecting themes of COVID-19 pandemic

    Image caption: The Breathing Tree by Donna Szoke, made from stainless steel, LED lighting and electronics, was installed in the lobby of OpenText Corporation’s offices in Waterloo.  Photo by Tony Hafkenscheid.

    One of Canada’s biggest software companies recently selected a Brock University professor and artist to create a public art piece reflecting on themes of ‘loss’ during the pandemic.

    Donna Szoke, Associate Professor of Studio Art at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) was chosen by OpenText Corporation to create new artwork dedicated to their employees impacted by the pandemic and pay tribute to the lives lost to COVID-19.

    The Waterloo-based company wanted to commission and support a Canadian artist, and put out a national call for the project in 2021. Szoke was immediately drawn to the unconventional call for public art creation within a corporate context.

    Through a creative and personal exploration of themes related to the pandemic and their impact on mental health, Szoke created her proposal and drawings for The Breathing Tree. Inspired by the concept of ‘box breathing,’ used to calm anxiety, and Szoke’s desire to be in nature, the idea for a back-lit sculpture in the form of a tree came to life.

    The tree sculpture is made of stainless steel that was digitally cut and mounted to the wall in the OpenText lobby that employees pass by every day. The artwork, which appears as a tree and its reflection, invites viewers into a meditative moment while taking in the piece.

    With a resemblance to lungs, the sculpture also connects with the respiratory nature of COVID-19. Lit from the rear, the piece glows with soft purple and blue lights that dim and brighten in six-second intervals. The timed coloured lights subtly invite viewers to breathe along with the tree.

    “As a testament to the lives lost from COVID-19, it gives us an introspective moment with nature, grounding us in our own breathing and our own lived moment where life, loss, love, grief and resilience are inextricably bound,” Szoke said in her artist statement.

    Szoke worked with local fabricator Ramm Design to cut the steel for the sculpture, and with Hamilton-based electrical engineer and artist Jim Ruxton to create the timed electronics lighting the work in a very collaborative process. A holder of a technical diploma in Foundry, Szoke was familiar with the steel material, although the cutting techniques used were new to her.

    Szoke’s artworks become teaching tools for her Studio Art courses. In the Visual Arts course VISA 3Q91 — Research Seminar, Szoke models the process of creating public artwork from design inspiration through to fabrication, including the techniques and tools she employs in the process.

    The virtual opening for The Breathing Tree was held in December, with 10,000 OpenText employees in attendance. The permanent installation includes a plaque sharing details of the piece.

    Szoke has also recently received a Canada Games grant as well as an Ontario Arts Council grant for new work, both coming up in 2022-23.

     

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  • STAC and VISA students explore curation with arts industry experts

    Brock University students from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) and Visual Arts (VISA) at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) are having important conversations with arts professionals around the curatorial function of museums, galleries, and cultural organizations.

    Students enrolled in STAC/VISA 3P42 Methods and Principles of Curating will be participating in a field trip to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum and upcoming classroom discussions with professionals from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Yale University Art Gallery.

    The events are led by Instructor Sonya de Lazzer, Gallery Coordinator at the Visual Arts Gallery & Student Exhibition Space at the MIWSFPA. Sonya is an alumni of the Visual Arts Program at Brock (BA Honours). In 2013, she obtained her M.A. in Art History from University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and is currently completing her PhD in Art and Visual Culture at Western University. Sonya brings extensive experience from the museum and art gallery world, where she worked as a Programming and Curatorial Assistant at a local art gallery and museum for several years, developing her exhibition writing and installation skillsets.


    Upcoming class events (not open to the public):

    March 7 – Exploring Experiences: Conversations Around Curating
    Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum: Shawna Butts, Assistant Curator & Education Programming
    Students will be toured through the historical society and view current exhibitions and learn about the way in which these sites collect and care for their collection(s).

    March 21 – Exploring Experiences: Conversations Around Curating
    Nick Clemens, Preparator, Royal Ontario Museum
    Preparator and museum professional Nick Clemens will be joining the classroom to share his many experiences working with art/artefacts/objects at the Royal Ontario Museum. The class will explore the need for mindfulness and respect for the object as it relates to the curatorial practice, and the care that goes into curating and presenting a work to an audience.

    March 28 – Exploring Experiences: Conversations Around Curating
    Where Collections Live: Roksana Filipowska PhD, Wurtele Study Center Programs and Outreach Manager, Yale university Art Gallery
    Dr. Roksana Filipowska joins the classroom for a virtual exploration and conversation on open and visible storage. Filipowska works as Programs and Outreach Manager at the Wurtele Study Centre, Yale University Art Gallery. Students will engage in discussing the importance of collection visibility, as well as learn about the many challenges that many collections face regarding storage.

    These events are supported by an Experiential Education grant from the Co-op, Career & Experiential Education Office.

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  • Visual Arts podcast launches new season challenging ideas of western art

    Image caption: Co-hosts of Unboxing the Canon podcast, Associate Professor Linda Steer, left, and fourth-year Brock student Madeline Collins.

    Originally published FRIDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2021 in The Brock News | by 

    Unboxing the Canon has made its return with the goal of doing a deep, critical dive into the history of western art.

    The second season of the popular podcast from Linda Steer, Brock Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, is now live with new 20-minute episodes dropping monthly.

    Unboxing the Canon look at issues that are part of the history of western art, examining how those issues played out historically and how they connect to contemporary culture and thinking.

    The first episode dropped Sept. 17 and explores Orientalism and the Western Gaze. Upcoming episodes will address topics such as the representation of disability in western art, an art movement known as Primitivism connected to colonization, and the history of self-portraits, religion and landscape in paintings.

    According to Steer, who teaches first-year Art History, asking hard questions about these topics is important to developing a deeper understanding of the canon.

    “Students are hungry for a critical view of the western canon; they want to deal with the issues and unpack them and understand why they may be problematic,” Steer said. “When examining the long history of western art and its ties to imperialism, for example, we can ask important questions about iconic images that continue to have a tremendous impact on contemporary society.

    Steer says listeners don’t need any prior knowledge of western art to enjoy the podcast. She started the project last year as a way for students in her first-year VISA 1Q99: Introduction to the History of Western Art class to take a break from their screens and do a little extra learning while taking a walk or relaxing at home.

    Now, other instructors at the University and beyond are also using the podcast as a teaching tool. Each episode includes materials for further learning, including resources and websites where listeners can view the works of art being discussed.

    This continued engagement is an aspect of the project that Steer and fourth-year History of Art and Visual Culture student Madeline Collins are passionate about.

    Collins, who joined the podcast this season as a Research Assistant, said that images are not neutral and that there is a lot happening that viewers are not always aware of.

    “There is so much behind what we see. We need to look critically and realize how biased, gendered, racialized and colonized images are at the forefront of our cultural memory,” she said. “It has been a part of the story the whole time, and once you see it, it totally changes your perspective moving forward. That is my favourite part about this podcast.”

    In addition to co-hosting the podcast episodes, Collins is involved in all aspects of production, including conducting research, sound design and working closely with Steer on writing.

    The pair have been working together since July so Collins could learn the sound design and editing software gearing up for the season.

    Excited to be involved in the project, Collins, an avid fan of podcasts herself, said she has already learned so much from the experience.

    “I’ve always been interested in podcasts and the incredible ways in which we can communicate ideas through them, especially for those who learn better through listening,” Collins said. “I have never been a part of anything like this before, particularly learning all about microphones and sound editing, and I am loving the experience.”

    Unboxing the Canon is publicly available on all podcast services, including AppleGooglePodbean and Spotify. For updates and information on future episodes, follow Unboxing the Canon on Instagram and Twitter.

    The transcripts and sound files from each episode of Unboxing the Canon can be found in Brock’s digital repository.Visual Arts podcast launches new season challenging ideas of western art

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