Summer Arts Series now registering

Looking to add some hands-on art-making to your summer plans? Curious about how art can transform our experience of the world and the way we engage with each other?

The UVic Summer Arts Series is back in July with a series of Fine Arts alumni-led public workshops focused on art and the urban landscape —- including drawing in the urban landscape, writing place-based fiction, interdisciplinary environmental field guides, textiles and wearable art, and a Victorian Medievalism walking tour.

These short workshops are appropriate for learners of all backgrounds as you learn from experts how art transforms our experience of the world and the ways we engage with one another.

The Summer Arts Series is offered by UVic’s Division of Continuing Studies, in partnership with the Faculty of Fine Arts and Alumni Relations.

Here’s the full info:

Sentimental Affects: Textiles, Wearable Art and Urban Life – July 2, online

This lively and informative presentation by Danielle Hogan is designed to encourage you to think deeply about textiles and the role they play in shaping not only our own lives but also the urban landscape. Consider a wide range of objects that have been created, or transformed, by different makers some of whom are professional artists and others who are not. Danielle will touch on subjects including affect theory, feminism, urban fashion, wearable art and maker culture, in addition to sharing ideas about creative mending and repurposing to express personal history or style.

Urban Spaces in Place-Based Fiction – July 3, 8 & 10

Many stories in the cultural canon are set in “recognizable” cities, but how many of us actually live there? What are the stories of our urban spaces? How can we begin to capture the cities we call home in our writing? Through lectures, writing exercises and workshops, Hana Mason will help you develop a more intimate understanding of the urban spaces that are significant to you and leave the sessions with a draft of your own place-based fiction.

Drawing in the Urban Landscape – July 6-7

Drawing outdoors, in public spaces, presents numerous challenges such as overcoming the fear of being seen and observed. Liz Charsley with help you see how drawing with a group minimizes this concern, leaving room for the next hurdle: how to take all the visual information in front of you — UVic’s landscape and embellished, modernist buildings — and refine it into a balanced composition that reflects what you see. This workshop will increase your confidence in drawing in public, enhance your observational drawing skills and also give you the freedom to create abstract compositions.

Victorian Medievalism Walking Tour – July 6 & 13

This walking tour will introduce you to tangible manifestations of the 19th century medieval revival movement in Victoria. Join Michael Reed to explore Ross Bay Cemetery and Pioneer Square, and discuss iconic examples of medieval revival funerary markers. We will also visit Christ Church Cathedral and the Church of Our Lord and discuss the Gothic Revival architectural aesthetic.

Lost and Found: A Field Guide – July 14

Join us for an immersive workshop by interdisciplinary artist Laurel Terlesky. Dive deep into sensory awareness exercises, mindful walking and navigational mapping as we navigate the urban terrain. Through creative outdoor exploration and nature immersion, you will craft field guides and explore environmental field guides discovery, uncovering hidden ways to inform place making.

Congratulation to the 2024 grad class!

Jude Wolff Ackroyd, BFA Honours 2024

Congratulations to our 2024 grad class! Whether you’re graduating from our department of Art History & Visual Studies, Theatre, Visual ArtsWriting or the School of Music, you’re now part of an extended community of nearly 10,000 other Fine Arts grads!

“While many of you started your current academic journey back in 2020—arguably, the most trying of recent times—we’re hoping you’ll look back on your degree as a time of rewarding and inspiring creative and scholarly exploration,” says Dean Allana Lindgren. “While the weeks ahead will be a whirlwind of emotions ranging from excitement and uncertainty to relief and anticipation, never forget that you’re well-prepared for wherever life takes you. Be bold. Be creative. Believe in yourself. Know that you are ready to succeed.”

Watch the livestream of the Fine Arts convocation starting at 10am Friday, June 14.

We would also encourage you to pause and thank the people who have supported and mentored you during your studies— be they family, friends, faculty, staff, donors or anyone who helped along the way. No matter your career path or the distance you travel, let us know about your projects and events, so we can celebrate your accomplishments.

“The world urgently needs fresh ideas and fresh energy: I challenge you to use your critical thinking and creative skills to give back to society and make a difference as you become the voice of a new generation,” says Dean Lindgren. “Always know that we are very proud to call you a UVic Fine Arts grad!”

2024 Victoria Medal winner Stella McCaig 

Special congratulations also go out to Visual Arts student Stella McCaig, who is graduating with a truly remarkable grade-point average of 9.0. Her perfect GPA earns her the 2024 Victoria Medal, presented annually to the Fine Arts student with the highest grades. 

“Stella McCaig is a daring and sensitive artist,” says Visual Arts professor Beth Stuart. “She combines personal narrative and material investigation fearlessly and from a place of raw vulnerability — in a way that generates art that is singular and resonates deeply with those who have the privilege to experience it.”

Stuart well knows of which she speaks: in summer 2023, while completing and installing a mammoth public art commission in Montreal, she brought Stella along to help with the process as a directed study — which involved undertaking many processes and pathways with which she was not familiar.

“Stella took up this task with effervescent good humour, meeting each obstacle and new set of knowledge with tenacity and grace,” says Stuart. “The project unfolded at breakneck speed, and Stella was completely instrumental in its success . . . . There is no standard metric that can express what this person is capable of — she’s a gift to the field, and I count myself blessed to have been able to work with her. Someday I will say, ‘I knew her when’.”

About the artist

“My sculptural work considers the idiosyncratic material language and forms that are developed through diving into the material and process, responding to and solving the challenges that exist due to experimentation and play. The body dispersed; transformation from the organic to the synthetic — and back again; a growing positive embrace of female sexuality, and an ownership of the gaze. These threads of interest become the genesis of intense sculptural works and installations, and become contemplative rather than predictive.

“Through an entirely personal practice of sewing, I create mangled and uninterpretable objects, that which become sanctified, having an unmatched virility in their endlessness. Because I primarily work from banal found objects and materials, the work enshrines the objects asking the viewer to realize the beauty of that which exists in the world; artificial or once alive. In an attempt to realize this idea, I adorn, embellish, and prettify the forms and objects that emerge, in preserving the infatuation I have with the unaesthetic, the disingenuous, and the absurd.

“I present the installations and sculptural works that I create in a moment of transmutation, from what they once were, to how they stand in front of the viewer. Every choice is presently there for the viewer to see. Everything is something, even the tiniest morsel of material becomes a point of love and thoughtful consideration. Each of the works arrive to and for the moment, functioning as tools gently resting between what is real and what is imagined, acknowledging the beauty of artificiality.”

—Stella McCaig

Feeling of solstalgia inspires Ocean Networks Canada residency

How do we feel when the ecosystems we know and love start to vanish? What happens when our memories no longer match our physical surroundings? And what about the ecosystems we don’t see? These are the kind of questions inspiring the work of Megan Harton, the latest Ocean Networks Canada Artist-in-Residence.

A passionate composer, audio engineer and sound artist currently pursuing a Master’s in Music Technology at UVic’s School of Music, Harton is the fifth artist-in-residence in this continuing partnership between ONC and the Faculty of Fine Arts. Their proposed project, solastalgia [soon to be what once was] is envisioned as an immersive intermedia art installation employing nostalgic retro iconography to create a multisensory experience delving into the emotional and psychological effects of environmental change.

“My artistic practice is primarily about using sound technologies in artistic ways,” Harton explains. “I found that Ocean Networks Canada had all these hydrophones in the Pacific Ocean and there are new recordings every hour on the hour, both visual and audio. My main impetus was to see if there was a way to juxtapose the same recordings over a period of time, and the idea just grew from there to incorporate ideas of ecological loss and grief.”

A graduate student partnership between Fine Arts and ONC, previous artists-in-residence include Neil Griffin (Writing, 2023), Colin Malloy (School of Music, 2022), Dennis Gupa (Theatre, 2020) and Colton Hash (Visual Arts, 2018).

Exploring solastalgia

Set for a Sept 1-6 exhibition at the Audain Gallery in our Visual Arts building — including a special presentation featuring both Harton and 2023 ONC AIR Neil Griffin (7pm Friday, Sept 6, in Fine Arts 103) —solastalgia [soon to be what once was] will explore themes of grief and nostalgia, emphasizing the delicate state—and impending loss—of our ecosystems.

As well as creating a crafted sonic composition based on natural sounds, oral histories and contemporary environmental data, Harton is also interested in incorporating visual elements by presenting the materials with iconic vintage and somewhat antiquated apparatuses like a Viewmaster, film photography, a Speak & Spell and VHS tapes to create an engaging narrative highlighting the tension between past and present.

“The installation will foster a deeper connection between individuals and their evolving surroundings, while also raising awareness of environmental issues and bridging the gap between art, science and the community,” Harton explains.

Inspired by the book Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss and Grief—a call to eulogize ecological loss in creative worksand drawing on environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht’s concept of “solastalgia” (“the distress caused by environmental change”), Harton intends their installation will evoke a sense of connection, reflection and empathy in the audience by blending elements of nostalgia with the stark reality of environmental change.

“That idea really interests me,” they explain. “Yes, it’s a little bit existential and sad, but it hits home in a different way than just statistics or charts and graphs.”

Connecting with the coast

Growing up in Oakville, Ontario (midway between Toronto and Hamilton), Harton has limited experience with the West Coast, or oceans in general. “My grandmother lives in Tsawwassen, but I’d only been out here a couple of times before coming to UVic, and my only other ocean experience was going to the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast. The largest body of water for me for a long time was Lake Ontario.”

Given their Ontario roots, Harton’s own experience with solstagia is rooted in Toronto’s 21st-century urban sprawl. “When I was a kid, sections of my town were mostly farmland, with fruit stands and horse stables, but are now townhouse subdivisions with schools due to a huge development and urbanization plan,” they recall. “Now this commuter suburb has more than twice the population of Victoria.”

Well-aware of their lack of personal connection with the Pacific Ocean, Harton sees themself as more a third-party information collector who can then respond  artistically. “I’m hoping to connect with  ONC’s scientists and community partners to incorporate Indigenous oral histories of the waters around here and contemporary scientific knowledge. This is some of the data and memories that I would like to draw from.”

Community connections

Indeed, collaboration is a key component to this project. While Harton’s primary graduate research is focused on gender bias in music production, they are eager to work with ONC’s team to ensure the installation is informed by current environmental knowledge.

A project as fascinating as the sounds it will harness, Harton’s immersive intermedia project aspires to be a transformative exploration, marrying art and science to provoke reflection, connection and empathy. solastalgia [soon to be what once was] promises to be a poignant testament to the intricate relationship between humanity and the changing environment, urging us to consider our role in preserving the delicate balance of the ecosystems we inhabit.

Celebrating our Rubinoff Scholars

Congratulations go out to the Fine Arts graduate student recipients of the inaugural Jeffrey Rubinoff Student Scholarships, many of whom gathered at the University Club on March 5  to offer their thanks and mingle with the Rubinoff Foundation’s Betty Kennedy and Karun Koernig. Among those who offered their thoughtful and insightful comments were Arnold Lim and Holly Loveday (Writing), Vithória Konzen Dill (AHVS), Stephen Markwei and Narges Montakhabi (Theatre), Eva Bradavkova (Music) plus Charles Amartey, Ryland Fortie, Sina Khatami and Parvin Hasanibesheli (Visual Arts).

Not able to join us were fellow recipients Jaiya Gray (AHVS), Jamie Davis (Music) plus Liz Bently, Eeman Masood and Rainy Huang (Visual Arts).

 

Meet two Rubinoff Scholars

One of our inaugural grad student Rubbing Scholars is award-winning Korean-Canadian filmmaker, producer and photographer Arnold Lim. Currently pursuing his MFA in Writing, Lim was twice selected as a recipient of Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program, is a graduate of the National Screen Institute’s Features First program, has been a juror and programmer for numerous film festivals, and the photography manager for four Olympic Games. “I’m a storyteller at heart, and the opportunity to continue that journey as a grad student has been so much greater than I could have ever imagined,” says Lim.

This year, he was writer/director of the mystery/thriller Whisper, the latest (and most ambitious) short film yet created for Writing’s popular film production class, where local film professionals mentor a student crew. “Writing and directing a film in concert with like-minded, passionate classmates under the tutelage of instructors and a supervisor who has gone above and beyond to tailor the program to our learning outcomes has supported tangible and important growth for me as a screenwriter and filmmaker and is a gift I could never repay,” he says.

International student Stephen Markwei is another our Rubinoff Scholars. Hailing from Ghana, Markwei is continually evolving as a dancer, choreographer and multi-disciplinary artist; his artistic talent, combined with a strong social conscience, demonstrates his commitment to his craft and his devotion to addressing important societal issues. His passion for artistic expression and commitment to enhancing human experience through the arts is evident in his dedication to addressing societal issues related to learning disabilities.

Currently pursuing his MA in Theatre by investigating theatre-based interventions to assist individuals with dyslexia, Markwei aims to understand how incorporating sensory modalities into interventions through theatrical activities can benefit those with learning disabilities. “Utilizing multi-sensory methods, including movement and visual cues, in designing learning experiences for individuals with dyslexia can be valuable,” he explains.

About the Rubinoff Scholarships

The Faculty of Fine Arts has developed a strong relationship with the Jeffrey Rubinoff Foundation since 2016 when the late BC sculptor created the Jeffrey Rubinoff Scholar in Art as a Source of Knowledge Endowment at UVic.

That relationship was further strengthened in December 2023 by the creation of the Jeffrey Rubinoff Nexus for Art as a Source of Knowledge, which includes $230,000 in new funding plus a named professorship, this robust set of graduate student scholarships, and the expansion of experiential learning initiatives at the Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park (JRSP) on Hornby Island.

Rubinoff himself understood art to be a source of knowledge because of its capacity to influence the viewer’s perspective by means of original perceptions. Those Fine Arts students who have spent time at the JRSP since 2017 have expressed profound appreciation for their experiences, while their perspectives and ideas have grown.

You can stay up to date on future activity via the new UVic_Rubinoff Instagram account.

$1500 student mural call

All current UVic Visual Arts students are invited to submit a proposal by March 26 for a new $1,500 mural project in the lobby of UVic’s Island Medical Program. This uplifting & welcoming mural should reflect any of the following themes: health & wellness, happiness, pursuit/enjoyment of good health, Indigenous health & wellness (etc).

What to submit

Student artists or teams should submit a proposed design in a 2D medium (including, but not limited, to painting, prints, photography or drawing) plus a short proposal outlining how their design would be suitable for this project. The selected student(s) will then design & create the mural on the designated stand-alone wall in the IMP lobby.

The mural will be located on a 14 x 6 foot standalone wall, which will have the current plaques removed & will be prepared prior to project start date. An honourarium of $1,500 will be paid to the artist(s) once the project is completed (or split evenly between a team), with up to $500 in additional material fees.

About materials

Art must not have any sharp or harmful elements, and all paint and adhesives must be water based (no spray paint or spray adhesives).  All materials proposed to be used must be described in full in your proposal. The curved wall must be able to support the art without triggering structural design concerns.

Deadlines

Deadline for concept submissions is March 26 and the mural must be completed sometime between April 22 and May 30. The artist(s) must be currently enrolled in UVic’s Visual Arts department. Artist(s) will be chosen by a selection committee. This project is part of the new Fine Arts creative partnership with IMP that is also seeing an AHVS grad student curating a new collection of art for their lobby.

Please visit UVic’s IMP building (between MacLaurin A-wing & Cunningham building) prior to submission to get a sense of the wall & surrounding environment.

For more info or to submit a proposal to finecomm@uvic.ca

Equity Review results

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Faculty of Fine Arts engaged in an Equity Review in order to provide an opportunity for faculty, staff, instructors and students to share their personal experiences with equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression in Fine Arts.

The survey was distributed to approximately 1,500 current Fine Arts members and we received 241 responses (16%).

The results revealed that respondents appreciate the inclusive content in our courses, that equity-centred pedagogy is beginning to define the work we do, and that increased diversity among our faculty, staff and instructors has been well received.

However, some survey respondents indicated behaviours and systemic barriers that continue to impede our progress, including elements of discrimination, harassment and/or oppression. As a result, we will be focusing on growing our inclusive culture, increasing representation and learning opportunities, streamlining our complaint process and continuing our outreach with the Fine Arts community.

You can view the full results here:

Fine Arts is committed to doing the important work to advance our shared responsibility in making social justice the foundation of our community; our progress in these areas will be shared at a later date. Please reach out to us if you have any thoughts or suggestions about the Equity Survey Results that you wish to share.