Diviners, Materialists, and Creatives

This panel will focus on the painter, the painting, and paint as agents, with a particular emphasis on materials and process being the foundation for ideas and affective qualities within an artwork. The geological foundations of paint, how paint can embody political histories, how paint becomes transmogrified through incorporation of the commodity fetish—these approaches seek to resist the market-driven relations that permeate art. “Diviners” relates to the process of channeling energies. It refers to people who can divine for water or minerals, and discover things by intuition. Tapping into the mineral intelligence of paint can also be understood to resist the primacy of ratiocentrism and language in our culture. “Creative” is used ironically, to deal with the tendency in corporate culture to hold up creative people as something to tap into monetarily, to brand their processes and production, based on their ability to distribute cultural cachet.

This panel is in conjuncture with the exhibition, The Diviners at the AHVA Gallery, Audain Art Centre, 6398 University Blvd, room 1001. Opening Wednesday September 27th, 5:30-7:30pm.

Sean Alward is a Vancouver based artist working in painting and photography. He works at the intersection of materials, geology, and archaeology. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and MFA from the University of British Columbia. Exhibition venues include Wil Aballe Art Projects, Surrey Art Gallery, Nanaimo Art Gallery, UBC AHVA Gallery, Access Gallery, 304 Days, Richmond Art Gallery, Or Gallery, and Helen Pitt Gallery. Permanent public art commissions are located in the Newton Recreation Centre (Surrey BC), New Westminster Skytrain Station (New Westminster BC), and Nova Scotia Forensic Hospital (Dartmouth NS). His writing has been published in Canadian Art, C Magazine, Border Crossings, Georgia Straight, and Art Margins.

Derek Dunlop completed his MFA at the University of British Columbia and is currently a PhD student in Art History from the University of Toronto. For many years, Dunlop’s research has explored the political, ethical and philosophical conditions for contemporary abstraction. He considers painting and drawing as cross and interdisciplinary modes of practice and his work is deeply engaged with art history. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including The Helen Pitt Award, the BC Binning Memorial Fellowship, The Andrew MacIntosh Memorial Book Prize MFA, and the Jan and Adam Waterous Scholarship. His work has been featured in exhibitions across Canada and the US, including at the Drawing Center in New York City, and the UCLA New Wight Gallery in Los Angeles. He has participated in residencies at the ISCP in Brooklyn, the Banff Centre, The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency, and a medium-specific painting residency with the Golden Foundation.

Athena Papadopoulos was born in Toronto, CA in 1988 and lives and works in London. Following her BFA at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, CA), she completed her MFA at Goldsmiths (London, UK) in 2013. Recent exhibitions include The Smurfette, Emalin (London, UK, 2017); Belladonna‘s Muse, curated by Samuel Leuenberger, CURA Basement Roma (Rome, IT, 2017); Wolf Whistles, Shoot the Lobster NY (NYC, USA, 2017); Streams of Warm Impermanence, David Roberts Art Foundation (London, UK, 2016); Wild Style, Peres Projects (Berlin, DE, 2016); Bloody Life, Herald St., London, UK, 2016); and Natural Instincts, Les Urbaines (Lausanne, CH, 2015).

Carolyn Stockbridge’s current and ongoing project Frequency 10 incorporates abstract painting, drawing and experimental sound as ‘place’ for disseminating, summoning and transmitting information. Known for large dark monochromatic painting that signals black as both colour and material, Stockbridge is invested in the negation of space in-between life, death and the painting surface. Stockbridge has collaborated with Canadian and American artists on various installation projects and has scored music for independent films, animation and political documentaries. Stockbridge recently completed the MFA program at the University of British Columbia and has been the recipient of awards including the Joan Wright Hassell Prize in Visual Art, the BC Binning Memorial Fellowship, the Takao Tanabe Painting Scholarship and grants from the BCArts Council. Originally from the UK, Stockbridge has exhibited in Canada and the United States and currently lives and works in Vancouver.


Making a Difference: The Effective Capacity of Painting

Considers the question of painting as a matter of, not just its materiality, but also of how it exceeds its thingness to create significance within the contexts it is placed. The artist cannot be “merely” a painter, but is part of an interrelated chain of efficaciousness. What considerations confront the painter beyond the demands of the surface?

A representative of a new generation of Canadian painters, Christine Major has exhibited her work at numerous venues in Quebec and Canada. She is currently part of a Virtual exhibition realised by the Galerie de l’UQAM in partnership with the Virtual Museum of Canada, The painting project: A Snapshot of Painting in Canada [http://www.leprojetpeinture.uqam.ca]. She was part of HER NOW, Six Painters from Quebec and Canada in 2016, a group show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. Her work is part of different public and private collections. She is a Professor at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM). As a painter, intellectual, Professor, and feminist, Christine Major will bring a uniquely French Canadian point of view to the issues around difference in painting.

Charlene Vickers is an Anishnabe artist based in Vancouver, BC Canada. Recent solo exhibitions include Asemaa/Tobacco Artspeak and Ominjimendaan/to remember, Grunt Gallery in Vancouver. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and the United States and toured nationally in the group shows, The Fifth World at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, (curated by Wanda Nanibush) and Custom Made at Kamloops Art Gallery (curated by Tania Willard); and can be seen in the permanent collections at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia. Charlene has an MFA from Simon Fraser University and is on the Board of Directors of Grunt Gallery. This past spring 2016, Vickers was selected as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at Griffin Art Projects in North Vancouver where she created a series of expansive abstract paintings, and a new performance work with Chad MacQuarrie called Portals and Improvisations.

Francine Savard lives and works in Montréal. She has previously studied graphic design at the Royal College of Art in London UK and received her Masters in Visual Arts from Université du Québec à Montréal. Her work will be featured in the exhibition Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting, Vancouver Art Gallery (2017). A retrospective of her work was presented by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2009–2010). Her work has been featured also in major exhibitions such as The Painting Project. A Snapshot of Painting in Canada, Galerie de l’UQAM (2013), at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Her work can be found in numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. She is represented in Montréal by Galerie René Blouin since 2001.

Nicole Ondre has an MFA from the Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg, 2016 and a BFA from Emily Carr, 2010, and is currently based in Vancouver. Eli Bornowski writes, (After Finitude: Or Gallery, Vancouver, 2013) that Ondre uses oil painting materials as forms that are “realized in relation to the context of their production, such as her studio and the gallery walls and floors.” Ondre has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Diaz Contemporary, Toronto; Or Gallery, Vancouver; Hayaki Arti, Istanbul; and Benzulli Ziegt, Dusseldorf. With Vanessa Disler she ran Exercise, a project space in Vancouver from 2011-2013.  Since 2010 she and Disler have collaborated under the alias Feminist Land Art Retreat (FLAR). Projects by FLAR have recently taken place at ACUD, Berlin; Ginerva Gambino, Cologne; Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover; Kunstverein Düsseldorf; Mumok, Vienna; Kunsthaus Bregenz; and Studio for Propositional Cinema, Düsseldorf.  Ondre has a solo show upcoming at Cassandra, Vancouver in fall 2017.


In the Studio: Painting as Thinking; Painting as Conversation

In this conversation, painters think out loud about their creative processes and the relationship between thinking and making through studio work. By discussing the process of making in the studio the presenters will reflect on what the now commonly used phrase “thinking through making” means for them. In talking about the process of painting, the artists reflect on their approaches to materials, shifts in practice over time and painting as a means of engaging with personal, social and political ideas. Moderated by artist and educator Alison Shields, this discussion arises from her doctoral research, in which Shields traveled cross-Canada interviewing over 125 painters in their studios.

Jessica Groome has developed a studio practice in Vancouver, Toronto and currently Berlin, where she originally travelled as the recipient of the prestigious Joseph Plaskett painting award in 2011. Her work stems from an interest in colour, form, reduction, repetition, surface, gesture and cutting. For Groome, the performative, ephemeral and site-specific nature of the studio are highly influential, as the space where decisions and observations are made. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph and a BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design and has taught as a Sessional Instructor at the University of Guelph and Emily Carr University. Groome’s work is included in the exhibition Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Sandra Meigs believes that art has the potential to transport us elsewhere, to an imaginary world, a process which begins in her studio. She interweaves painting with sculpture, film and sound, to create vivid, immersive and enigmatic paintings. In this panel, Meigs discusses how she draws from her personal experiences to create visual metaphors related to the psyche.  Born in Baltimore, Meigs studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (BFA) and Dalhousie University (MA, Philosophy). In 2015 she received a Governor General’s award in Visual Arts and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO. Recently retired, Meigs taught at the University of Victoria for 24 years, influencing generations of painters. As a senior artist, she brings a wealth of experience to this discussion and will look at how her relationship to making in the studio has developed throughout her career.Her paintings are included in the exhibition Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Jinny Yu’s practice is an inquiry into the medium of painting as a means of trying to understand the world around us. Her work presented during the 56th Venice Biennale addresses important themes about migration, which resonate with larger political concerns globally. She will discuss how, in her studio practice, she challenges the materials and formats of painting. Yu works simultaneously to scrutinize conventions and to explore new possibilities within the medium, oscillating between the fields of the abstract painting and the object. Yu brings a different regional and international perspective on painting from the other panelists who all have strong ties to West Coast painting discourse. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yu studied at Concordia University (BFA) and York University (MFA/MBA) and is an Associate Professor of Painting at the University of Ottawa.  Her work has been shown widely, including exhibitions in Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, UK and USA.

Alison Shields is an artist, educator and researcher. Through her SSHRC funded doctoral research, which has taken her on a cross-Canada journey visiting over 125 artists’ studios, Shields explores creative processes, painting as inquiry, and the relationship between thinking and making through studio work. Her painting practice similarly explores the intricacies of her own and other artists’ creative processes. Shields is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Art Education at the University of Victoria. She received a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo and is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. She has exhibited her paintings and drawings in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver and has participated in artist residencies across Canada and the United States. She has received numerous awards for her work in Art Education, including most recently the Gordon and Marion Smith Prize in Art Education.


Like Hands Stuck in a Mattress: The Difficulty of Talking Painting

Asks the questions: How to talk about painting? How not to talk about painting? And given that painting is the most important thing that painters do, (why) should painters talk about painting anyway?

Marvin Luvualu António was born in St. Petersburg and lives in New York. He studied photography at OCAD University in Toronto and was the winner of the 2013-14 Aimia |AGO Photography Prize Scholarship. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions Dispossessed/Pt 1 at Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto, A Photo-Body on Drugs Smells at Gallery 44, Toronto and Here on Purpose at Lyles and King Gallery, New York. He has participated in group exhibitions at Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa and The Kitchen, New York.
His practice slides in and out of the spheres of language and deals with themes such as cultural appropriation, race, politics, identity and capitalism. He employs a range of material processes that include drawing, pouring paint, and fragments of text within images. His work asserts a slippery physicality that expands into the exhibition space and defies any totalizing description.

Mark Igloliorte incorporates paintings and drawings based on casual observations from daily life – often using found supports such as the pages of a phone book. His paintings complement his sculpture and video work that is nested within a network of physical (and cultural) activities in the world: skateboarding, snowboarding, kayaking, and construction, etc. As an Inuk, Mark’s work draws from his Labradorian background and the communities of Happy Valley, Goose Bay and Hopedale. He lives in Vancouver where he is an Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Adrianne Rubenstein is an artist and curator. Her paintings are marked by vibrant colour, natural themes and loose, casual brushstrokes. Her paintings combine absurdist imagery like broccoli florets with psychedelic jumbles of fruits, flowers, and animals, and reveal dynamic energy and visual humour within the depth and color of the painted plane. She has exhibited at Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg, CANADA, New York; Derek Eller, New York, David Petersen, Minneapolis, and Field Contemporary, Vancouver. Her curatorial projects include Maraschino at Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, Snail Salon at Regina Rex, New York, and Forget About the Sweetbreads at James Fuentes, New York.

M.E. Sparks works with painting to explore conditions of pictorial representation and language, calling into question our human impulse to name what we see. Her work draws from a collection of sources, including found objects, personal narrative and elements of painting history. She was a finalist in the 2016 RBC Painting Competition and a recipient of the Nancy Petry Award, which allowed her to attend artist residencies in Germany and Finland in 2017. She has exhibited her work at Art Mûr (Montreal), The Power Plant (Toronto), Elissa Cristall Gallery, Franc Gallery and Access Gallery (Vancouver). She received her MFA from Emily Carr University in Vancouver and is currently a finalist in the 2017 RBC Painting Competition.

Elizabeth Mcintosh is a Canadian artist living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia. Recent exhibitions include Sticky Fingers at Arsenal Contemporary, New York, Ambivalent Pleasures at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Bricks are Heavy at CANADA, New York (2016), and Fort Greene at VENUS, Los Angeles (2016).  Her work is featured in Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting (Phaidon Books, 2016). McIntosh participated in the Fogo Island Arts Residency (2017), and the ISCP residency in Brooklynn (2015). She was the recipient of the 2013 VIVA Award. She will have an upcoming solo exhibition at Catriona Jeffries in Vancouver and will be included in Entangled: Two Views of Canadian Painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her works are held in the public collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Museé d’art Contemporain, Montreal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. McIntosh is an Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Ben Reeves has exhibited his paintings extensively in Canada as well as in the US, England and China and has been featured and reviewed in Canadian Art, Border Crossings and The Globe and Mail. He received a BFA from the University of British Columbia and his MA from Chelsea College of art and Design, UK. He lives in Tsawwassen and is an Associate Professor in the Audain Faculty of Art at Emily Carr University and is represented by the Equinox Gallery in Vancouver.