by John Threlfall | Sep 28, 2018 | Visual Arts
Always an exciting part of each semester, the long-running Visiting Artist program in the Department of Visual Arts has announced their fall lineup. Organized by Visual Arts instructor Doug Jarvis and MFA candidate Dani Proteau, all these illustrated talks take place at 7:30pm in room A150 of the Visual Arts Building — and all are free and open to the public. Come join us in exploring the wider visual arts world!
Wolfgang Weileder is an artist whose practice is primarily concerned with the examination and critical deconstruction of architecture, public spaces and the interactions we have with the urban environment. His works are investigations into the relationship between time and space, the interface between permanence and transience, and how these can be explored to question our understanding of the landscape, both built and natural. His work engages with the world through large-scale, temporary site-specific installation and sculpture; temporal recordings of spaces and environments through photography; film, performance and sound installation.
Daniel Kohn & Heather Spence
Daniel Kohn and Heather Spence first met at the NAKFI Discovering the Deep Blue Sea conference in 2016 and began to form collaborative projects around the intersection of art and ocean science and the concept of Ocean Memory. Their previous work in interdisciplinary collaborations as well as background in fine arts (Daniel) and music, marine bioacoustics and neuroscience (Heather) have brought them to think of artmaking and research as simultaneously collective and personal pursuits.
They come to Victoria to explore collaboration with Ocean Networks Canada, to use ONCs audio archive and live data capabilities, and with a wish to connect to local efforts and projects seeking to remap the way in which we think of – and engage with – the ocean.
Cindy Baker is an interdisciplinary and performance artist whose work is informed by a fierce commitment to community engagement and critical social inquiry. Drawing from queer theory, gender culture, fat activism and art theory, Baker’s research-based practice moves fluently between the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Baker considers context her primary medium, and works with diverse materials and techniques from the low-craft (such as latch-hooking) to digital fabrication and perfor-mance, emphasizing the theoretical, conceptual and ephemeral aspects of her work. Cindy Baker completed her MFA at the University of Leth-bridge in 2014, and she lives and works between Lethbridge, AB, Canada and Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Rachelle Sawatsky is an artist and a writer based in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Her solo and collaborative work encompasses painting, writing, ceramics, drawing and movement. Recent solo exhibitions include China Art Objects, Artist Curated Projects, Harmony Murphy Gallery in Los Angeles and at the Material Art Fair in Mexico City. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Tate St. Ives, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Galerie Mezzanin in Vienna as part of the Curated By Biennale. She is a Lecturer at the University of California, Riverside.
John Eisler completed his MFA at the University of Guelph (2018). He received his BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1997, with a concentration in painting. He has had a number of solo exhibition at Paul Kuhn Fine Arts (Calgary) and Diaz Contemporary (Toronto), including : Fountain (2013) and Observatory (2013). Recent group exhibitions include : More Than Two (Let it Make Itself) at the Power Plant (Toronto) ; 60 Painters at Humber Arts and Media Studios (Toron-to) ; softcare Hard Edge at East and Peggy Phelps Galleries in Clare-mont, CA and the Art Gallery of Calgary ; 2×2 at the Keyano Art Gallery in Fort McMurray in Alberta. His works are held in collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Macdonald Stewart Art Center, TD Bank Group, as well as numerous private collections.
A still from Farheen HaQ’s “Endless Tether”
Farheen HaQ is a South Asian Muslim Canadian artist who has been living on unceded Lekwungen territory (Victoria, BC) for 20 years. She was born and raised in Haudenosanee territory (Niagara region, Ontario) amongst a tight-knit Muslim community. Her multidisciplinary practice which often employs video, installation and performance is informed by interiority, relationality, embodiment, ritual and spiritual practice. Farheen has exhibited her work in galleries and festivals throughout Canada and internationally including New York, Paris, Lahore, Medellin, Buenos Aires, and Hungary. She received her MFA from York University (2005). In 2014 she was nominated for Canada’s Sobey Art Award.
by John Threlfall | Sep 21, 2018 | Alumni, Writing
Looking to familiarize yourself with the fantastic range of talent associated with the Department of Writing? Don’t miss the third annual Victoria Festival of Authors, where the literary talents of Writing faculty and alumni will be showcased alongside top local and visiting authors.
Running Sept 25 to Oct 1 at a variety of downtown locations, the VFA features the talents of Writing professors Bill Gaston and Lee Henderson, as well as current instructors Marita Daschel and Annabel Howard, plus celebrated alumni authors Esi Edugyan, Eden Robinson, Yasuko Thanh, Carla Funk, Garth Martens and Erin Fisher. Better still, VFA co-artistic director Vanessa Herman is an alumnus herself. Explore the entire author lineup here.
Featuring a range of local and national authors, the VFA offers seven days of readings, events, workshops, master classes and discussion panels all aimed at connecting book-makers and book lovers. They embrace poets, fiction and creative nonfiction writers, as well as other storytellers who come from a spectrum of communities and are at all levels of their writing careers.
It all kicks off on Sept 25 with a celebration of the shortlisted authors for the 2018 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. Among this year’s nominees are professor Bill Gaston (A Mariner’s Guide to Self-Sabotage), professor emerita Lorna Crozier (What the Soul Doesn’t Want), recently retired veteran instructor Patrick Friesen (Songen), and Dr. Maria Tippet (Sculpture in Canada: A History), a longtime friend and supporter of UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts. (Winner announced Oct 17.)
La Palabra En El Tiempo
Here are the events we’re involved in at a glance, but be sure to check the VFA schedule for full event info and ticket prices:
• La Palabra en el Tiempo | The Word-in-Time: Poetry and Flamenco – described as “a 75-minute depth-charge of frenzied dance & guitar, troubled song & English-language poetry” by Governor General’s Literary Award nominee & MFA alumnus Garth Martens, alongside guitarist Gareth Owen & flamenco dancer Veronica Maguire (Sept 26)
• Noon-Hour Author’s Fare – a casual conversation with writers Bill Gaston, Erin Fisher & Jan Zwicky (Sept 27)
• The Literary Twist – a tasty combination of music, literature, cocktails & art emceed, by alumna Yasuko Thanh & featuring Eamon McGrath, Vivek Shraya & Tom Wilson (Sept 27)
From top left: Howard, Gaston, Funk, Robinson, Fisher, Henderson, Dachsel, Thanh, Edugyan
• Pure Poetry – current Writing instructor Marita Dachsel moderates a discussion with poets David James Brock, Laisha Rosneau & Katherena Vermette, as hosted by Victoria Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer (Sept 28)
• We Are the Weirdos, Mister – discover writers who remix & defy genres when professor Lee Henderson hosts this panel featuring Dina Del Bucchia, David James Brock & Daniel Zomparelli (Sept 29)
• Who Was the Real Lolita? – MFA alumna & instructor Annabel Howard explores the real-life origins of Nabokov’s famous novel with The Real Lolita author & “literary detective” Sarah Weinman (Sept 29)
• Poetry is All Around Us – alumna Carla Funk moderates what promises to be a fascinating discussion with poets Jonina Kirton, Dan MacIsaac, Laisha Rosnau & Katherena Vermette (Sept 29)
• Dream | Love | Leap | Transcend – Double Man Booker Prize & Giller Prize nominated alumna author Esi Edugyan joins international authors Sheena Kamal, Darrel J. McLeod, Sarah Selecky & Sarah Weinman at this panel discussion (Sept 29)
• This Life, Here – explore the human desire to belong with this panel featuring alumni Erin Fisher & Esi Edugyan plus Sheena Kamal & Sarah Selecky, hosted by bestselling local author & national literary critic Robert Wiersema (Sept 30)
• The Trickster in Literature – celebrated alumna author Eden Robinson wraps the whole festival up with this final “In Conversation” event with Daniel Heath Justice (Oct 1).
Tickets are available online for all events, and students can receive a 20% discount by using the promo code Student2018 when booking. While some events are free, most range from $15 to $25, with the day-long workshops being more.
by John Threlfall | Sep 11, 2018 | Award, School of Music
Three University of Victoria faculty members have received the country’s highest academic honour, named 2018 fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).
UVic’s newest Elected Fellows by the Royal Society of Canada are (from left): Eike-Henner Kluge, Benjamin Butterfield and Tim Stockwell (UVic photo services)
Among those elected to the RSC’s distinguished ranks are School of Music professor Benjamin Butterfield, one of Canada’s finest tenors; Eike-Henner Kluge, a leading ethicist and philosopher whose scholarship and theoretical analysis have influenced Canada’s right-to-die legislation and the legalities of abortion; and Tim Stockwell, who has pioneered research in substance abuse and public health policy, in an announcement made on September 11.
The title has been bestowed on more than 2,000 Canadians in the 134-year history of the RSC and has just one criterion: excellence. The peer-elected fellows of the society are chosen for making “remarkable contributions” in the arts, humanities and sciences, and Canadian public life.
While Butterfield has won international plaudits as one of Canada’s best operatic tenors, he is equally passionate about his role as head of voice for UVic’s School of Music.
“With a performance career, the more you’re in the game, the more you’ll be asked to be in the game,” he explains. “But my obligation is really to teaching . . . for me, it’s less about pursuing my ‘career’ and more about being here for students who sing, and who want to learn to sing—that’s my day job, that’s my real life, that’s what’s most important.”
A global presence
Butterfield made his debut in 1994 as Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute with the New York City Opera while in the midst of an exciting tenure with Canada’s baroque opera company, Opera Atelier. At this same time, he joined the rosters of IMG Artists in New York City, Organisation Internationale Artistique in Paris and later Athole Still in London.
Having since performed throughout North America and Europe, as well as in Ukraine, the Middle East and Asia, Butterfield’s repertoire ranges from the Renaissance to present day, singing in English, French, Latin, Italian, German, Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian. Over the past three decades, he has performed in many of the world’s most historic venues with the finest ensembles, has been featured on over 30 recordings and even gave Rick Mercer a 10-minute opera lesson at UVic last year.
But while performance demands could be seen as a distraction from his teaching, Butterfield — who joined the Music faculty in 2006 — only sees it as a benefit for his students. “Being part of the singing community means I not only get to work with international professionals, but also bring that knowledge back to my students: the hope, the experience, the pedagogy. It’s an amazing dialogue . . . I’m in a perpetual state of learning from everybody. It also becomes a great recruiting tool, to be able to teach masterclasses and meet young students all over the world.”
Over his past 12 years at UVic, Butterfield has been inspired by the success of many former undergraduate and graduate students — like alumna soprano Eve Daniell, who performed for Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017. “It’s all about the tools you give them,” he says. “As long as they want to seek things, find the joy and delight in the world, that’s all I need.”
From stages to CEOs
Butterfield gives CBC’s Rick Mercer an on-campus singing lesson back in 2017, along with student Taylor Fawcett
As for the benefits of music performance itself, Butterfield firmly believes that singing should be an essential practice for anyone stepping onto the world stage.
“I’ve long said that any politician or CEO needs to be able to sing a three-minute song,” he insists. “That three-minute song will provide you with everything from succinct text, a clear point-of-view and a sense of history to a knowledge of harmony, melody, language, style and how your body works. Only then can you get up and say what you mean, and mean what you say; if you can’t do that, don’t think you can run a country or a company. The world is bigger than that, and that’s why I sing.”
Butterfield is now the eighth Fine Arts faculty member to be inducted into the RSC, including Fellows Mary Kerr (Theatre), Harald Krebs (Music), Tim Lilburn (Writing), Joan MacLeod (Writing) and Sandra Meigs (Visual Arts), as well as RSC College member Dániel Péter Biró (Music) and RSC Medal winner Jack Hodgins (Writing, retired).
Kluge — a professor in UVic’s Department of Philosophy — has been at the forefront of some of today’s most important medical debates, from access to abortion to the ethics of deliberate death, and has written 13 books and authored 90 journal articles.
Stockwell is a knowledge translator and advocate for strong public health policies to prevent illness, injuries and death from alcohol and drug misuse. He has made key contributions that have shaped substance use policies in several countries, including Canada, Scotland, Ireland and Australia.
The RSC was established in 1883 as Canada’s national academy for distinguished scholars, artists and scientists. Its primary objective is to promote learning and research in the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences. The society has named 75 current, former and adjunct UVic faculty members as fellows over the years.