2012 Audain professor Nicholas Galanin wins $50,000 in US fellowship

Nicholas Galanin, UVic’s 2012 Audain Professor in Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest, has won a $50,000 Rasmuson Fellowship from the United States Artists organization.

The Sitka-born Galanin is a multi-disciplinary Tlingit/Aleut artist who has struck an intriguing balance between his origins and exploration in new perceptual territory. His teaching term with UVic’s Department of Visual Arts ran throughout fall 2012—shorter than previous Audain Professors Rebecca Belmore and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, but all the time his busy schedule would allow. Like Belmore and Yahgulanaas, however, Galanin will present an exhibit of new work in the Audain Gallery in September 2013.

Galanin’s famous “Inert”

United States Artists—a non-profit organization aimed at investing in “America’s finest artists”—has granted nearly $18 million to artists over the past seven years. Galanin is one of 54 artists who have each received an unrestricted grant of $50,000 this year. According to the USA news release, the artists were chosen for “reflecting the diversity of artistic practice in America” and include “cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.”

Galanin’s “Things are Looking Native, Natives Looking Whiter”

As reported on the Canadian Art website, Galanin’s fellowship was in the Crafts and Traditional Arts category—although, as the USA news release states, “his work might also be described simply as contemporary art with Native themes.” Galanin is an artist who defies categorization, a visual artist and musician (who performs as Silver Jackson) whose multimedia pieces often involve computers, video, photo manipulation or sculpture in a variety of forms.

Speaking to the Anchorage Daily News, Galanin admits that some might see the “traditional arts” designation as a bit of a stretch. “But based on my contacts and the people on the panel, it was the right choice,” he told ADN. “A lot of my art comes from the traditional context. But I don’t care what they call it.”

Canadian Art‘s Leah Sandals notes that his work was recently featured in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Beat Nation, a survey of artists “who connect Aboriginal identity and urban youth culture . . . A touring version of the show will open at Toronto’s Power Plant on December 15. Galanin’s work was also featured in group shows at Vancouver’s Grunt Gallery and Bill Reid Gallery over the past year, while Trench Contemporary Art (his Vancouver dealer) recently wrapped a solo show titled I LOOOOOVE YOUR CULTURE. His work was also in Montreal gallery Art Mûr’s A Stake in the Ground, curated by Nadia Myre, in January.”
When asked about his plans for the prize money, Galanin told ADN‘s Mike Dunham, “I’m saving it. Maybe it will go to buy a home or get my studio built.”

411: the FA update

Gosh, what happened to October? The fall semester seems to be flying by as quickly as the leaves whipping through the Fine Arts courtyard. But the season isn’t the only thing changing on this side of the Ring. Here’s a quick update of what’s happening inside our own faculty.

Visual Arts

Nicholas Galanin is this year’s Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest. The Sitka-born Galanin is a multi-disciplinary Tlingit/Aleut artist who has struck an intriguing balance between his origins and exploration in new perceptual territory. He’ll be teaching here through to the spring 2013 and, like previous Audain Professors Rebecca Belmore and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, will have an exhibit in the Audain Gallery in September 2013.

• Winnipeg artist Jennifer Stillwell began her tenure-track position this semester. Stillwell’s practice in sculpture, public art and video has brought her considerable attention, as noted in this earlier post.


• On the sessional front, Thomas Chisholm returns as sessional instructor this year, as does recent Interdisciplinary PhD grad Jackson 2bears. Chisholm was recently announced as a finalist in the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition, while 2bears picked up his MFA in Visual Arts back in 2004, and is also teaching with Writing professor David Leach as part of the Technology and Society minor.

• Longtime painting professors Robert Youds and Sandra Meigs are both back from their academic leave this fall, and Lynda Gammon is going on leave in January.


Steinberg and Armstrong

• The Department of Theatre has two new sessional instructors this year: Bronwyn Steinberg in the fall semester and Michael Armstrong in the spring. Armstrong is also an MFA candidate for the Department of Writing. Both will be teaching Theatre’s Public Speaking course.

• Also new in Theatre is Catherine Plant, who has been hired as the new Audience and Client Services Liaison person. Be sure to say hello to her when you catch the Phoenix’s upcoming production of The Good Person of Setzuan, running November 8 to 24.



• Associate professor Susan Lewis Hammond is currently the acting director of the School of Music through to the end of December 2012. Hammond joined Music back in 2001, received tenure in 2007 and has long been active in the interdisciplinary Medieval Studies program, University Senate and as library representative for the School of Music.

• Sessional instructor Gary Froese has stepped up this year as the director of the UVic Chamber Singers.

• Trumpet professor Louis Ranger is on study leave this fall, and is currently being replaced by sessional instructor David Michaux.


Kevin Kerr

• Noted Canadian playwright Kevin Kerr is the newest permanent addition to the Writing faculty and, no big surprise, he’ll be focusing on drama. Kerr studied theatre at UBC and Langara College’s Studio 58 in Vancouver, was was playwright-in-residence for the University of Alberta’s Drama Department, and is a founding member and artistic associate of the famed Electric Company Theatre, with which he has co-written several plays including Brilliant!: The Blinding Enlightenment of Nikola Tesla, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Skydive and Tear the Curtain. Kerr also received the 2002 Governor General’s Award for playwriting for his acclaimed piece, Unity (1918).

History in Art

• It’s a busy time for study leave in the History in Art hallways, with Allan Antliff, Anthony Welch and Victoria Wyatt all out for the fall semester. Wyatt is also away in the spring, when Erin Campbell will be on leave as well.

Dudley and Parry

• As a result, continuing sessionals for the 2012-2013 academic year include 18th century visual art and culture specialist Dennine Dudley and author and frequent Malahat Review contributor Mitch Parry. Also rounding out the sessional list for the fall are Asato Ikeda and Laura Marchiori, with spring teaching duties going to Lesley Jessop and current PhD candidates Melissa Berry and Susan Hawkins.

Visiting Artist series on now

The ever-popular Visiting Artist free lecture series is back once again, presenting a fascinating series of local, national and international artists and cultural figures guaranteed to make you think. Organized this year by new associate professor Paule Walde and presented by the Department of Visual Arts, we’ve already seen the first lecture of the fall 2012 season—Visual Arts grad and current Thompson Rivers University sculpture and intermedia professor Doug Buis—but there’s a full schedule of artists slated to run through November.

Up next is Nicholas Galanin, the 2012/13 Audain Visiting Professor in Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest. Born in Sitka, Alaska, Galanin is a multi-disciplinary Tlingit/Aleut artist who has struck an intriguing balance between his origins and exploration in new perceptual territory. Galanin studied at the London Guildhall University, where he received a BFA with honours in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing, and at Massey University in New Zealand earning a Master’s in Indigenous Visual Arts. Valuing his culture as highly as his individuality, Galanin has created an unusual path for himself by deftly navigating “the politics of cultural representation” and balancing both ends of the aesthetic spectrum. Hear him speak at 8pm Wednesday, September 19, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

The following week sees a special double bill of visiting Orion Lecturer Luigi Ferrara and Irish installation artist Susan MacWilliam. Ferrara—an acclaimed architect, designer, entrepreneur, educator and director of the Institute Without Boundaries—comes to us as part of his participation in History in Art’s annual Faculty Research Symposium (more on that below). MacWilliam—a noted Belfast artist who has an ongoing study of significant events in the history of paranormal research—is in town for a pair of shows at Open Space, F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N and Persistent Personalities. Ferrara speaks at 6:30pm followed by MacWilliam at 8pm Wednesday, September 26, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. There will even be a bar on hand so attendees can get a drink between sessions!

After that comes Ottawa-based photo and installation artist Andrew Wright. An assistant professor of visual art at the University of Ottawa, Wright’s work is described as “multi-tiered inquiries into the nature of perception, photographic structures and technologies, and the ways we relate to an essentially mediated and primarily visual world.” With linkages to practices as diverse as Alfred Stieglitz and Iain Baxter& (with whom Wright worked in the ’90s), Wright’s use of photography is decidedly non-conventional as it eschews lyricism and traditional pictorial aims. The award-winning artist and six-time Sobey nominee has exhibited both nationally and internationally, participated in residencies including the Banff Centre and Braziers Workshop (U.K.), as a war artist with the Canadian Forces Artist Program aboard Canadian warship H.M.C.S. Toronto and is the founding Artistic Director for Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area. Hear him talk at 8pm Wednesday, October 3, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

Following up the next week is Toronto video and installation artist
Deirdre Logue. Her performance-based film, video and installation works are self-portraits uniquely located between comfort and trauma, self-liberation and self-annihilation. By using domestic objects and spaces to contrary ends, Logue’s works capture gesture, duration and the body as both subject and object. Her practice is not production or “master narrative” driven nor is it dependent on the use of tools typically applied in conventional film and video; rather her work is made in a direct move away from an industry model and is expressly personal, emotional and political. Solo exhibitions of her award-winning work have taken place in Canadian, American and European film festivals.   Deirdre is also the co-founder and director of the Feminist Art Gallery in Toronto where she lives and works. See what she’s all about at 8pm Wednesday, October 10, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

Still to be confirmed is the actual date in October when noted curator Denise Markonish will be visiting.  Markonish is the curator at MASS MoCA, where she has curated the exhibitions Petah Coyne’s Everything That Rises Must Converge; Inigo Manglano-Ovalle’s Gravity is a force to be reckoned with; and These Days: Elegies for Modern Times and Badlands. Markonish has also curated exhibitions at Artspace (New Haven, CT), the Fuller Museum (Brockton, MA) and the Main Line Art Center (Haverford, PA), and has taught at University of New Haven, Stonehill College and the Rhode Island School of Design. Markonish recently completed Oh! Canada, one of the largest survey shows of Contemporary Canadian Art ever presented outside of Canada. Once the date is set, Markonish will also be in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

Come November, you can expect a lively evening with well-known British art critic Barry Schwabsky.
The London-based Schwabsky is the art critic for The Nation and has been writing about art for the magazine since 2005; his essays have appeared in many other publications, including Flash Art (Milan), Artforum, the London Review of Books and Art in America. His books include The Widening Circle: Con­sequences of Modernism in Contemporary Art, Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting and several volumes of poetry. Schwabsky has contributed to books and catalogs on artists such as Henri Matisse, Alighiero Boetti, Jessica Stockholder and Gillian Wearing, and has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, New York University, Goldsmiths College (University of London) and Yale University. Hear him at 8pm Wednesday, November 7, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

Our final Visiting Artist of 2012 will be New Yorker Brendan Fernandes.
Born in Kenya of Indian descent, Fernandes immigrated to Canada in 1989, then completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007), earned a BFA from York University (2002) and his MFA from the University of Western Ontario (2005). He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Art and Design (New York), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada, Mass MoCA, the Andy Warhol Museum, Deutsche Guggenheim, the Third Guangzhou Triennial and the Western New York Biennial through The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, among others. Currently splitting his time between Toronto and New York, Fernandes has participated in numerous residency programs including The Canada Council for the Arts International Residency in Trinidad and Tobago (2006), The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Work Space (2008) and Swing Space (2009) programs, and invitations to the Gyeonggi Creation Center at the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Korea (2009) and ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2011). Catch him at 8pm Wednesday, November 21, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

There will be a new slate of Visiting Artists in 2013. Stay tuned for details!