Whether they realize it or not, generations of graduating UVic students have been touched by the music of Dr. Erich Schwandt.
Professor Emeritus of Musicology in the School of Music, Dr. Schwandt passed away in Victoria on August 2. A native of California, he attended Stanford University for his entire academic training, where he studied harpsichord with noted American musicologist, Putnam Aldrich. After a period of teaching at the Eastman School, Schwandt came to UVic in 1975, where he taught until he retired in 2001.
Erich P. Schwandt
An expert on music of the French Baroque, towards the end of his career Schwandt did major work on the early 20th century composer Erik Satie, notably reconstructing his lost Messe des pauvres, which had its world premiere at UVic in 1997, accompanied by a 40-person choir.
A gentle and witty man, much beloved by his students, he continued to be a presence at the university after he retired, and for 30 years played the huge Clearihue organ at every convocation ceremony in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium until spring 2013. His work as an organist was profiled in this “Day in the Life” story for UVic’s Ring newspaper back in 2011. “It’s a lot of fun, and it’s an easy thing to do,” Schwandt said at the time. “I get to play whatever music I please.”
Indeed, due to his position as organist, Schwandt may have attended more UVic Convocations than any other person, with tens of thousands of UVic grads hearing his work. “It means a lot to the families to see their child get their degree,” he said, adding that he had “also heard speeches of all kinds from honorary degree recipients through the years.” (Favourites included eco-forester Merv Wilkinson and Canadian author Carol Shields.)
Schwandt was also instrumental (pun intended) in UVic’s acquisition of the Clearihue organ in the late 1970s. “I saw an ad with a very vague description of an organ for sale in Quebec for $20,000,” he recalled in the Ring article. “I went to Quebec to investigate. And it was in a church where it had been subject to extreme fluctuations in temperature and had suffered damage so that it was barely playable. Local organ builder Hugo Spilker went and examined it, took it apart, arranged for transport and modified it mechanically for installation in the new UVic auditorium.”
The French classic organ — originally built by 1966 by Georges Mayer of Sarre-Union, France, for the parish of St. Mathias, Quebec — was purchased and donated to UVic by Dr. Joyce Clearihue, as a memorial to her parents Joseph and Irene Clearihue (Joseph served as UVic’s first chancellor). “I like it very much,” Schwandt said at the time.
Schwandt’s interest in education surfaced at an early age when he tutored the neighboring pastor’s child on the kitchen blackboard. His appreciation of music dates back to his early years in his childhood home, which held two pianos and an organ that he restored while in high school.
In 2015, Schwandt was awarded Honorary Alumnus status at UVic, when then-Director of Music, Dr. Susan Lewis, described him as “one of the department’s defining spirits.”
A memorial gathering for Erich Schwandt, with music and refreshments, will take place at 2 pm Saturday, September 30, at the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mary M. and Erich P. Schwandt Scholarships. Donations can be made either online or by mail: Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria BC V8W 2Y2. Attn: Development Office. Please include in Cheque Memo: “Mary M. and Erich P. Schwandt Scholarships”
—With files by Kristy Farkas, Robie Liscomb and Samantha Krzywonos
It’s a busy season for our Visual Arts professors, a number of whom have exhibits of new work on view, both locally, nationally and internationally.
Robert Youds, “City Cut Flowers”
Visual Arts professor and alumnus Robert Youds presents City Cut Flowers, a solo exhibit of new works, until Sept 30 at Winchester Galleries Downtown (665 Fort). Featuring three related painting projects and two light-based works, City Cut Flowers explores picture/objects as imagined and remembered fragments drawn from our urban world. Each piece explores the core perceptual conditions of light, shadow, colour, surface, and their communicative relationship to our aesthetic, cultural, and ideological values.
“I have been thinking about consciousness in our time, and that age-old question: how do we as individuals shape it?” says Youds. “For example, is a home a home without personal choices evidenced through the careful spatial choreography of pictures, colours, surfaces, and light? Where do our aesthetic dispositions evolve from? Can the growing digital and AI realms alter our future understanding of the physical world or will they simply reinforce the same elements through a different means?”
Youds also has another solo exhibit coming up this winter: For Everyone A Fountain runs Nov 17 – Jan 2, 2018, at Open Space. He’ll be hosting an artist’s talk at 2pm Saturday, Nov 18.
New work by Daniel Laskarin
Visual Arts professor and sculptor Daniel Laskarin presents his latest solo exhibit, ruins and reclamation, which continues until Oct 7 at Deluge Contemporary (636 Yates). His work combines industrial forms with elements of minimalist sculpture, material exploration and the lyrical sensibility of visual metaphor. He describes his work as means for thinking through the world, a process by which he might give sensory experience to consciousness.
Objects and materials, combined and manipulated, form things that find their own order in a condition of disorder and yet refuse that which orders everything. Independent materials congeal to create an interdependent network, resulting in unique forms that generate a complex and shifting subjective experience. His diverse media incorporates photography and video, optics, robotics systems, installation and sound. He has been involved with set design, public image projections and large-scale public commissions in Vancouver and Seattle, and has exhibited in Canada and internationally.
Kelly Richardson’s “Leviathan”
New Visual Arts professor Kelly Richardson is in the midst of a very busy few months, with work in a variety of exhibitions. Her hyper-real digital films of rich and complex landscapes that have been manipulated using CGI, animation and sound, have caught the eye of galleries around the world. Her latest solo exhibit, Kelly Richardson: The Weather Makers, runs at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Scotland from Sept 23 to Nov 26. Weather Makers was previewed in this article from The Herald newspaper, which describes her “thought-provoking, post-apocalyptic art in its spectacular large-scale form” as both “visceral and provoking” and “a wonderful fictional and imaginary element tied in to stark scientific fact and research.”
Weather Makers features three of Richardson’s video works and a series of chromogenic prints, Pillars of Dawn, which posits a desertscape of environmental desiccation in which trees and plants have been physically crystallized by some unknown environmental event. “The questions that she’s asking about the way we’re mistreating the world around us, about global warming, the constant consumption of resources and how we’re going to manage after mismanaging it for so long are so incredibly pertinent and urgent right now,” says DCA curator Eoin Dara of Richardson’s show. “Magnificent and complex, Richardson’s work asks us to consider what our future might be like if we continue on our current trajectory of planetary pillaging and consumption, and why we have allowed ourselves to arrive at such a moment of global environmental crisis.”
Richardson also has work at the following group exhibits this fall:
“Embassy 2017” by Cedric Bomford & Verena Kazimierz
Visual Arts professor Cedric Bomford and department LTA Verena Kaminiarz are working together on “Embassy, 2017” an outdoor project for the Calculating Upon the Unforseen portion of Toronto’s upcoming Nuit Blanche on Sept 30. “Embassy, 2017” is described as a large-scale structure “designed to adapt to the site where it is located; which can be seen as opportunistic, parasitic and political . . . Given the current trend of hardening nationalism around the world, it seems fitting to reflect on notions of national identity. Forever in progress, Embassy requires visitors to complete the structure in their minds.” The piece was featured as a highlight of the Toronto Star’s Nuit Blanche preview article.
Professor Emeritus Sandra Meigs opens her latest solo exhibit this fall. Room for Mystics will run at the prestigious Art Gallery of Ontario starting October 18. A recipient of the Governor General’s Award in 2015, and the 2015 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, Meigs was also recently named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Her new installation, Room for Mystics (which includes work by School of Music Director Christopher Butterfield), emerges from her Iskowitz Prize.
For over 35 years Meigs has created vivid, immersive, and enigmatic paintings that combine complex narratives with comic elements. She derives the content of her work from her own personal experiences, and develops these to create visual metaphors related to the psyche. Meigs will provide an overview of her work and speak about her new installation, Room for Mystics, at an AGO public talk on Oct 18—but more locally, she’ll also be speaking as part of the “Treasures & Tea” series at UVic’s LIbraries from 1-2pm Wednesday, Sept 27 in room A003 of the McPherson Library.
Meigs will talk about what it was like to be a painter in the ’70s and ’80s, and why the donation of her archive from that period to UVic’s Special Collections might be of interest to researchers. She will also show a brand new artist flap book project she collaborated on with poet Ron Padgett.
Sessional instructor and noted local artist Charles Campbell is involved in a pair of international exhibitions this fall: Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago at Los Angeles’ Museum of Latin American Art (running Sept 16, 2017 – February 25, 2018) and En Mas: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (Sept 20, 2017 – March 4, 2018).
And busy MFA alumni Lindsay Delaronde, and Hjalmer Wenstob were both involved in the One Wave Gathering on September 16. As Victoria’s Indigenous Artist in Residence, Delaronde had a featured performance, while Wenstob worked with local Indigenous youth to create four longhouses on the lawns of the BC Legislature. Wenstob’s involvement was mentioned in this Victoria News article.
Finally, the department’s acclaimed Visiting Artist program is in full swing again, with a number of guests coming in this fall:
All Visiting Artists talks happen at 7:30pm in room A150 of UVic’s Visual Arts building, and all are free and open to the public. Please join us!
It’s not often you find an off-campus arts event that’s almost exclusively organized by Fine Arts alumni and students, but that’s exactly what you’ll find when you peak behind the curtain at 2017’s Integrate Arts Festival.
Originally dubbed the Off-The-Grid Art Crawl, Integrate is now organized annually by the Integrate Arts Society — where two of the three current Board of Directors are Art History & Visual Studies alumni (president Brin O’Hare and vice-president Alanah Garcin). Even better, eight of their nine planning committee members also have ties to the AHVS department: development coordinator Regan Shrumm & operations coordinator Stephanie Dermann are both alumni, while communications coordinator Kristi Hoffman, partnership coordinator Megan Quigley, art coordinator Zahra Kazani and event coordinators Olivia Prior and Margaret Lapp are all current students. Rounding out the pack is art director Anna Shkuratoff, a recent Visual Arts alumna.
AHVS grad & Integrate president Brin O’Hare
IAS president Brin O’Hare credits AHVS for providing an “initial awareness” of the vibrancy of Victoria’s art scene, and says it helped push her — and many of Integrate’s team — to become involved in the festival.
“I think UVic’s Art History program, and particularly their graduate program, facilitates students awareness and involvement in this community,” she says. “For example, field trips to the Legacy Gallery and Kilshaw’s Auctioneers, and work experience within the arts community, are often available to students, and many courses use local artists, galleries and organizations as case studies for learning as well. This provides students with an opportunity to become aware of the arts community within Victoria.”
Now in its 11th year, the Integrate Arts Festival runs August 25-27 at a number of downtown locations and serves to do exactly what it’s name implies: integrate various galleries and exhibition spaces with a series of exclusive events, performances and tours.
Centered around an en-masse art crawl, it encourages interaction with artworks and performances by local artists, as well as the exploration of local galleries, art spaces, and artist-run centres. Best of all, Integrate remains a completely free festival celebrating Victoria’s diverse arts community.
To see a complete list of events, performances, parties and tours, be sure to check out the complete festival program.
Putting her academic training to good use, O’Hare — who worked as a research assistant for AHVS professor Carolyn Butler Palmer and graduated with an MA in 2014 — feels her work with Integrate provides a good opportunity to correct the “misguided perception” that art history is solely a study of the past.
“To give a personal example, my focus was modern and contemporary Canadian art. As a UVic Art History student, we did, of course, study artists of the past; however, we also focused a great deal on living, contemporary artists. A particular interest of mine — which was fostered by my studies at UVic — is how art historical traditions and concepts of the past play a role in shaping the practices of contemporary artists. This interest to a great extent pushed me to become more familiar with the artists working in Victoria and to help further awareness of our city’s amazing arts community by getting involved in the festival.”
Given that two of Integrate’s goals are to raise awareness of Victoria’s arts scene and to help facilitate the growth of diverse, emerging artists within the community, their collective Fine Arts background is serving them well — especially when you consider that a number of the festival’s featured artists are alumni of the Visual Arts department, including Courtney Chaney, Colton Hash, and Romi Kim, plus current students Laura Gildner, Leah McInnis and Libby Oliver. Also on view at various galleries and locations during the festival will be work by alumni Maddy Knott, Jim Holyoak and Matt Shane.
Artist Laura Gildner, for example, will be guiding a participant-driven performative walking tour between selected Integrate exhibitions in the downtown core from 1 to 2pm Saturday. Fueled entirely through anecdotal recollections sourced by interviewing strangers throughout Victoria, the piece — titled “Public Displays of Affection” — will examine layered intersections between the body, identity and art as they relate to urban geography.
There are also a number of workshops and special events planned, ranging from performance art and artist talks to dance, podcasting and zine-making workshops, . . . and, of course, the de rigueur opening night party running from 7-10:30pm Friday at Integrate HQ in the Bay Centre.
One highlight features alumna artist Courtney Chaney offering a performance of “Habitat,” which focuses on “the relationship between human and nature by allowing the viewer to encounter an exposed vulnerability within the space as the performer embodies a fetus or seed through direct contact with composted soil.” You can see that from 7-9pm Saturday at Integrate HQ.
Whether you go for the whole weekend or just take in one or two exhibits, Integrate offers a fantastic opportunity to catch some of Victoria’s emerging artists and to see our dynamic Art History alumni in action.
No question, the annual Fringe Fest is one of Victoria’s best-loved festivals of any kind. Now in its 31st year, the Victoria Fringe Festival offers 330 performances of 58 shows by 350 artists in nearly a dozen venues around town — as well as a number of free community events — over 12 dynamic days, from August 23 to Sept 3. From spoken word, drama and musicals to dance, comedy, magic, theatre for young audiences and more, you just can’t beat the Fringe when it comes to a tasty smorgasbord of theatrical delights!
Once again, Fine Arts alumni and current students are all over the fest; while most are (logically) associated with our Theatre department, you’ll also find participation by alumni and majors in our Writing department as well. But whether they’re acting, writing, directing, designing or working backstage, our alumni and students have been an integral part of the Victoria Fringe as long as it has existed. And we send a special shout-out this year to our alum and students working behind-the-scenes with organizers Intrepid Theatre to get this event up and running, including Technical Assistants Simon Farrow and Carolyn Moon, and Ticket Rocket box office support with Kristen Iversen and Kate Loomer.
Below you’ll find a listing of this year’s Fringe shows involving Fine Arts alumni and students; but whether you only see one show or pick up a multi-show pass, you’re guaranteed to see something you’ve never seen before. Happy Fringing!
A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO PEEING OUTSIDE & OTHER ADVENTURES
Directed by Andrew Barrett (BFA ’12)
Ever wondered how to perform the “Assisted Pee Over Water”? Ever struggled with a sense of self? Still grieving the death of Jack Dawson? Written and performed by storyteller Holly Brinkman, who promises that you’ll laugh, you’ll cry . . . you’ll try not to pee your pants.
AFTER THE BEEP
Created by Pamela Bethel (BFA ’99), design consultation by Erin Macklem (BFA ’98).
Pamela found cassettes from her very own answering machine she had as a teenager during the early 1990’s. Despite the obvious risk of death by embarrassment, she’s sharing this archive of adolescence with live audiences. Part confessional, part show-and-tell, it’s an exploration of awkward times revealed by the recorded voices of BFs, BFFs, a frenemy and wrong numbers. After The Beep had a sold-out run at UNO Fest 2017, and is once again presented here under the auspices of Theatre SKAM, which features the work of alumni Matthew Payne (BFA ’93), Andrew Barrett (BFA’12), Kathleen Greenfield (BFA’05) and current students Bridget Roberts, Brendan Agnew and Emma Leck.
ALL THESE PEOPLE WATCHING
Featuring Matt Lees (BFA ’90), Krista Wallace (BFA ’89), and current student Maggie Lees (their daughter), (also joined by their son David Lees), with stage manager Molly McDowell-Powlowski (current student), and script advisor Nicole “Coco” Roberge (BFA ’98).
A family of actors on stage together for the first time: Mom, Dad, Son and Daughter explore themes of family, friendship, life and death. How does a tight-knit family stay that way amidst life’s challenges? (Pie and beer may be mentioned!)
Featuring Mika Laulainen (BFA ’12)
Here’s a schtick you can to sink your teeth into! Winner of two (and nominated for five) Montreal Fringe Awards, this show focuses on one family, generation after generation . . . and beavers. Sharing the same land, the same lake, and the same nightmare depicting commercial development threatening their corner of paradise in the Laurentians, Quebec. The best dam show! (“Nothing less than brilliant”– Savage Clown Montréal)
Directed and created by Colette Habel (BFA ’16), with Grace Le (BFA ’17), and current students SJ Valiquette and Arielle Parsons. Performed by Colette Habel, Grace Le, SJ Valiquette and Arielle Parsons. Design by Delaney Tesch (BFA ’17), with stage management by current students Molly McDowell-Powlowski and Siena Shephard, and marketing by Victoria Simpson (BFA ’17).
Devised from true stories and memories, Daddy Issues is a collage of vintage denim and classic rock that explores the relationships between daughters and their fathers. This is for the dads that were always there and never there; the dads we chose and those we didn’t; the dads we wanted gone, and the dads who left us too soon.
THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
Directed by Cam Culham (MFA ’03)
In the spirit of Canada 150, St. Michael’s University School presents the Canadian-grown, Broadway smash hit musical The Drowsy Chaperone — winner of five Tony Awards. New York Magazine has called it “the perfect Broadway musical,” as it gently pokes fun at the myriad tropes that characterize the musical theatre genre. Meet Man in Chair, an eccentric and engaging music theatre enthusiastic, as he introduces us to a fictitious 1928 musical. It is an affectionate send up of the Jazz Age musical, full of toe-tapping songs and colourful characters, from pastry chef gangsters to starlets.
GEORGE AND GRACIE: A LOVE STORY
Created by David MacPherson (BFA ’91)
Local actors Melissa Blank and David MacPherson present this loving tribute to George Burns and Gracie Allen. “George: Do you like to kiss? Gracie: No. George: What do you like? Gracie: Lambchops. George: (to himself) Lambchops. Could you eat two big lamb chops alone? Gracie: Alone? Oh no, not alone . . . with potatoes I could. George: You could. Gracie: Yep.”
Featuring Trevor Hinton (BFA ’07), created by Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (BFA ’07)
A rollicking puppet musical about what happens when the grass really is greener on the other side, performed outdoors in a beautiful little park by the sea — created by 2015 Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni recipient Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Puente Theatre), Judd Palmer (the Old Trout Puppet Workshop) and Brooke Maxwell (composer of Ride the Cyclone). Singing goats! What more do you want?
A SNAFU Dance Theatre production by co-creators by Kathleen Greenfield (BFA’05), Ingrid Hansen (BFA ’09) and Britt Small (MFA ’04). Featuring Ingrid Hansen, with puppetry coach Mike Petersen (previous student 1980-82). SNAFU began at the Phoenix back in 2006!
From the creators of sold-out shows Little Orange Man and Kitt & Jane. Meet Kitt, fierce lone geriatric astronaut adrift in a spaceship carrying cryogenically frozen human cargo. Her mission: protect the last of humankind. “Amazingly versatile physical comedian with the best ending in the history of fringe.” – Montreal Gazette.
Featuring current student Natasha Guerra and Amy Culliford (BFA ’14), with current student Emily Bamletter as co-director and technical lead.
With Bon Jovi, they speed away from the scene of a crime; with Sinatra, they share their first kiss; with Adele, they spread the ashes of their dead friend. With music providing the backdrop, the actors of Jukebox Drive take a different improvised road trip each night, with a soundtrack influenced by the audience.
Featuring current student Ellen Law.
With this world premiere, Wendy Magahay (Old Lady’s Guide) stars as Satan in this originally sinful, all-female, horrifyingly humorous, re-imagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear — now a twisted tale of the mother-and-daughter fight from Hell. Adapted by award-winning local playwright David Elendune (Casino Royale / Winnie The Pooh).
Created by Robbie Huebner (Writing BFA ’14, MFA’16), directed by current student Karin Saari, featuring Pascal Lamothe-Kipnes (BFA ’17) and current students Annie Konstantinova, Taryn Roo Yoneda and Caitlin Holm. With film director Max Johnson (BFA ’14), and music/sound design by Graham Roebuck (BFA ’11).
“lolcow: (lol-kaʊ), n. person whose foolish behavior can be ‘milked’ for amusement.” Sheena’s boyfriend, Stan, is a lolcow. As an e-celebrity Stan is successful, but Sheena finds herself targeted by online trolls, the topic of an invasive podcast. A dark comedy that explores isolation, longing, identity, and the thinning line between public and private life in an increasingly digitized world.
MONICA VS. THE INTERNET (TALES OF A SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR)
Created by previous student Monica Ogden and current student Ann-Bernice Thomas.
Monica vs. The Internet is an honest account of a Filipina feminist on YouTube. Blending storytelling, videos and comments from her own channel, Monica explores the implications of words through humor. Created by Monica Ogden (Fistful of Feminism) from award-winning Paper Street Theatre, and Ann-Bernice Thomas, the 2016 Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria.
O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL
Written by current student Nicholas Guerreiro, directed by current student Elizabeth Martin, featuring students Brett Hay and Anna Watts, with design by Delaney Tesch (BFA ’17), Victoria Simpson (BFA’17) and current student Matthew Wilkerson, stage managed by current student Siena Shepard.
We promise it’s not about Christmas. Well, it’s a little bit about Christmas. It’s also about a mysterious circular painting, a security guard with an angry streak, a foul-mouthed art aficionado with a fake name, and a Slovenian nihilist on a secret crusade. It’s about family, faith, and non-representational art, and the weird bonds that hold people together. Originally produced as a SATCo show here on campus!
SIX FINE LINES
Created and performed by Mack Gordon (BFA ’08)
Part game show, part memoir, part house party, this is a living collage that combines fun and prizes with a story about losing the people closest to you. A rolling, heaving memoir, Six Fine Lines is pop rocks for your head and heart.
As always, we’ve only listed the shows involving Fine Arts students and alumni — be sure to check out the many, many other shows on view during the Fringe!
—With files by Adrienne Holierhoek
It’s been a busy summer for Visual Arts faculty, students and alumni — thanks to a number of new projects, installations and exhibits happening locally, nationally and internationally. Here’s a quick roundup:
Daniel Laskarin with his in-process sculpture
Professor Daniel Laskarin unveiled a new sculpture at Richmond Firehall 3 in July. The new piece, titled to be distinct and to hold together, is the culmination of an $80,000 public commission started in 2015 and sits in front of the new building, housing Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and the Richmond North Ambulance Station.
Created to resemble a fire tetrahedron, Laskarin’s sculpture is a representation of the four elements necessary for fire: fuel, heat, oxygen and a sustaining chemical reaction. Visitors are invited to interact with the work, pushing to rotate it by hand, which gives it both a literal meaning — in presenting the services named and the community served — as well as a metaphoric meaning — by giving vision to the interlinked and interdependent relationships among Richmond Fire-Rescue, BC Ambulance Service and the broader community. You can watch it spin in this video.
Visual Arts professor Cedric Bomford is having a busy summer out of town, with work in the California Pacific Triennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, running until September. This thought-provoking exhibition offers a survey of contemporary art in and around the Pacific Rim, exploring the topic of architecture and the temporal precariousness of the built environment. Among the issues to be addressed are the recording of history and preservation; the concept of home and displacement; and the influence of global power, economics, and political systems on global construction. And, along with his brother Nathan and father Jim, Cedric also has a project opening as part of Endless Landscape in Gatineau, Quebec, running until August 30.
Kelly Richardson, our new digital/extended media professor, is hitting the ground running with a pair of summer exhibits: the Bonavista Biennale in Newfoundland and the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, England. The group exhibit at the Towner features art from 12 leading international artists, including Richardson, who has been living and working at Newcastle University since 2003.
Timed for the Canada 150 celebrations, the Bonavista Biennale is a contemporary visual art exhibition and running August 17 – September 17. Organized by curators Catherine Beaudette and Patricia Grattan, it will present works by 25 leading Canadian artists in non-gallery sites (micro-brewery, fishstore, old schoolhouse, seal plant, beach, etc) and promises a unique encounter with this spectacular area where history and traditional culture combine. It’s already gaining attention as one of Canadian Art magazine’s “20 show we want to see in 2017”.
There was a good deal of media interest in the latest site- and temporally-specific performance piece by department chair Paul Walde: his Tom Thomson Centennial Swim on July 8 resulted in 10 unique interviews, ranging from a full-page piece on page A3 of the Toronto Star to six different CBC Radio shows and the Times Colonist. “Landscape painting is about beauty,” Walde told the Star‘s Murray Whyte. “But the landscape is dangerous. It doesn’t care if you live or die. That was the very limit of what I could do. For me, to be in the water where he died — that was powerful.”
And professor Megan Dickie has a new publication hot off the press: One Way or Another looks at Dickie’s exhibition of the same title that ran at Open Space from January 13-February 18, 2017. The publication features essays by exhibit curator Megan K. Quigley, writer Kyra Korodoski and MFA alumna artist Kerri Flannigan.
Kerry Flannigan in action
Speaking of Kerri Flannigan, the recent MFA alumna will be spending the next eight months in residence at Victoria’s venerable Open Space, which has provided a vital interdisciplinary gallery and performance space for over 45 years now. Flannigan’s residency will include research and production investigating social media and storytelling, relating to early digital telecommunications. A Victoria-based interdisciplinary artist and writer who explores methods of experimental narrative and documentary, her work is grounded in both personal history and in-depth research; recent pieces examined family mythologies, coming-of-age confessions, body language and swimming pools.
Modeling the collaboratory projects that Open Space engaged in the late ‘70s, Flannigan’s project employs archival research, DIY skill sharing, and collaborative production, and will culminate in a series of public workshops and performances. She will be focusing on slow-scan, and will work with artist Patrick Lichty, as well as former Open Space directors/artists Peggy Cady and Bill Bartlett. As one of the oldest artist-run centres in Canada, Open Space has played a significant role in the development of contemporary art in Canada. In addition to hosting thousands of artists over the years; it also publishes, manages a resource centre, maintains archives, and manages a commercial lease for the lower level of its building.
Lindsay Delaronde supported by dancers during ACHoRd (Photo: Peruzzo)
In other Visual Arts alumni news, recent MFA Lindsay Delaronde — now Indigenous Artist in Residence for the city of Victoria — presented the powerful dance performance piece AChoRd. A great example of how reconciliation can — and should — involve the arts, AChoRd was performed on June 25 in front of the BC Legislature as part of Victoria’s Canada150 celebrations.
As Emilee Gilpin writes in this fantastic Tyee article, “the performance, called ‘ACHoRd,’ was not a regular dance but the result of weeks of storytelling, healing and transformation. The group, comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, explored the theme of reconciliation by listening to and learning from one another, creating movements and strategies of support.” To get more of a sense of the creation, intent and impact of the event, be sure to read Gilpin’s piece, which also features exceptionally strong photography by Peruzzo.
Another recent Visual Arts MFA alumna with work on view this summer is Kwakwaka’wakw artist Marianne Nicolson. Her video installation There’s Blood in the Rocks — running until September 16 at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown — uses pictographic imagery and song in a quiet but powerful video installation that tells the often-silenced history of the 1862 small pox epidemic in Victoria, which utterly devastated thousands of West Coast First Nations people. With this piece, Nicolson acknowledges the loss of her ancestors while affirming continued Indigenous presence in the land and the strength, endurance and resurgence of First Nations peoples over time.
“Forestrial Brain” in process (photo:
Visual Arts alumni Jim Holyoak and Matt Shane have spent the past two months working on the collaborative drawing installation Forestrial Brain at Open Space — the culmination of an eight-day hike on the West Coast Trail, followed by a six-week residency at Open Space. The enormous, immersive drawn installation explores west coast forests and ecologies, steeped in fantasy and imagination. This shared world is one at the borderlands of wilderness and civilization, the real and the imaginary, deep time and the present,” says Shane. To mark their achievement, Open Space is holding a finissage (closing reception) for Forestrial Brain during the Integrate Arts Festival: 7pm Friday, August 25, with music to follow. Read more about what Times Colonist art critic Robert Amos calls “the biggest, most complex and engaging artistic creation I can ever remember in that space” in this article.
Shane an Holyoak are just two of many Visual Arts alumni involved in the 11th annual Integrate Arts Festival, running August 25-27 in a number of venues and galleries around Victoria. Watch for work by Colton Hash, Laura Gildner, Leah McInnis, Maddy Knott, Marianne Nicolson, Elizabeth Charters and Xiao Xue. And don’t miss Laura Gildner’s “Public Displays of Affection” walking tour (1-2pm Sat, Aug 26), a participant-driven performance work touring between selected exhibits in the downtown core.
In award news, 2017 BFA grad Xiao Xue continues to make headlines with her remarkable walking camper project, titled “something to ponder on” — which will also be on view during the Integrate Arts Festival in downtown’s Bastion Square. As well as being singled out as an outstanding undergrad in this UVic News article, she won the top prize in June’s Rainhouse Technology Challenge—beating out prototype drones, satellites and submarines. “Xiao’s work shows a unique blending of art and technology. It’s a remarkable application of imagination,” said Rainhouse’s Ray Brougham in this Victoria News article. Xiao was also interviewed on CBC Radio’s On The Island on July 12, and was featured in this CHEK TV news segment on July 13.
Xiao Xue with her walking camper
Breaking news! Xue has just been confirmed as the national prize winner in 2017’s BMO 1st Art invitational competition. Not only does she win $15,000, but her work will be featured as part of a special exhibition at the University of Toronto’s Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, running from November 16 to December 16, 2017 (alas, it will only feature a video and documentation of her work, and not the actual camper itself), as well as in a special spread in Canadian Art magazine.
And 2017 BFA grad James Fermor has also been named the BC provincial winner in the same competition, earning him $7,500. His work will also appear in the same Toronto exhibit.
Finally, current third-year student Cassidy Luteijn made the news this summer as one of the finalists for a Canada 150 condom wrapper design contest. Her uniquely “Canadian” imagery includes a sexy beaver and a moose with underwear draped on its antlers. The story has been reported by the Martlet, CBC Radio, the Huffington Post and others.
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated US architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth. It is also the year UVic will return seven Wright-designed stained glass windows to their original setting in Buffalo, New York.
Mary Jo Hughes (left), Emerald Johnstone-Bedell and one of the light screens (UVic Photo Services)
UVic acquired the windows only five years after the university was founded and nearly 10 years after the death of Wright, and has made good use of them as a highlight of our significant arts-and-crafts collection.
“This decision reflects our university’s ongoing commitment to artistic stewardship and heritage preservation,” says Mary Jo Hughes, director of Legacy Art Galleries. “We are grateful for these five decades with this exquisite collection of art glass. And we know we are doing the ‘Wright’ thing by reuniting them with their original home and within a meaningful context.”
Within their original context
Wright didn’t use the word “windows.” Instead, he called them “light screens.” The three individual screens and two pairs owned by UVic since 1968 include “Wisteria” light screens once used in clusters to hide heating radiators, as well as a set of cabinet door screens—all part of a home designed and built by Wright for wealthy US executive Darwin D. Martin.
Martin’s patronage of the young Wright brought acclaim to the architect’s early career, and the Darwin D. Martin Complex in Buffalo is one of his most impressive structures. It is Wright’s only residential project to involve multiple buildings. Martin House originally included a brilliant collection of nearly 400 art glass windows, doors, skylights and casements, as well as custom furnishings and other decorative objects.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House
Construction of the complex, an outstanding example of Wright’s “Prairie” period, was completed in 1907 but, as a result of the stock market crash in the 1920s, the family was deeply in debt when Martin passed away in 1935. The site was abandoned and left in disrepair. Recent renovation efforts have now restored this national historic landmark under the auspices of the Martin House Restoration Company and today, many pieces of the original art glass are being reinstalled.
“The light screens represent a broad sampling of Wright’s genius in glass, which is critical to the scholarly interpretation and general appreciation of the complex,” says Mary Roberts, executive director of Martin House.
The transfer of ownership of the light screens includes a $25,000 CDN donation from the Martin House Restoration Corporation to establish a collection care and research fund at UVic.
The interior of Martin House
Art History & Visual Studies alumna Emerald Johnstone-Bedell, curator of the upcoming exhibition So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright — running July 15 – September 16 at Legacy Downtown — remembers as a UVic co-op student “getting valuable hands-on experience learning how to care for collections.”
“The ability to see and handle objects, like the windows and other artwork, is a completely different experience than looking at pictures of them on a computer screen,” she explains. “Seeing artwork in person is essential to its study because you observe details, light, colour and texture that would otherwise be muted in digital imagery.”
“And it’s not only about putting art on the walls,” explains Hughes. “Cultural and academic collaborations, along with conversations using art to explore deeper issues, are vital aspects of the vision of Legacy Art Galleries.”
“Pair of Pier Cluster Casement Light Screens.” Frank Lloyd Wright, 1904-05. (photo: Mary Matheson)
People will have a chance to bid farewell to the light screens during the exhibition at UVic’s free downtown public art gallery on Yates Street. The windows return to the US in October. Johnstone-Bedell, who holds an Art History BFA (2012) and an MFA from Queen’s University (2015), was a curatorial assistant at the gallery through an internship with the federal program Young Canada Works and is currently on contract as an assistant curator.
She explains that the art glass is an intrinsic decorative and architectural part of Wright’s unifying design principle called “organic architecture,” which integrated the natural environment, his vision and architectural plan, and the home’s interior fixtures and furniture into a single harmonious scheme.
Legacy Downtown is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm, with Thursdays until 8pm for the summer.