Friday, September 8, 2017 to Friday, October 13, 2017
What is Left? What is Right?
at Forest City Gallery and Good Sport Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, September 8th, 7-10 PM
Duration: September 8th to October 13th, 2017
Forest City Gallery is proud to present What is Left? What is Right?, co-curated by Christina Battle and Jenna Faye Powell. This exhibition brings together work by 13 Canadian women artists, including four historical works on loan from Museum London’s collection. Exhibiting artists include Florence Carlyle, Leila Fatemi, Davita Guslits, Rachel Hahn, Sara Hartland-Rowe, Jamelie Hassan, Tsēma Igharas, Serena Lee, Maegan Rose Mehler, Pitseolak Ashoona, Angie Quick, Karalyn Reuben and Winnie Truong.
The works in What is Left? What is Right? span from 1895-2017 and were created in varying political, social, and economic climates. Despite these differences, there are resolute and connecting conceptual threads, indicating shared and long-standing considerations that remain prevalent for women artists. Some of the considerations illuminated in this exhibition include identity politics in relation to place/land, representation, feminism, and agency. What is Left? What is Right? is not a survey, but an entrance into discussing collective histories and the future of ethics, art, politics, land, and identity in Canada.
The title What is Left? What is Right? is adapted from Tsēma Igharas’ work “…for future generations.” Rooted in Igharas’ familial legacy, this statement resonates dualistically—quietly and introspectively, but also on a universal scale, profoundly uniting our concerns to share in possible strategies for reconciliation and betterment. Reflecting on the title, the artist accounts: “When considering corporate industrial projects in Tahltan territory, my grandfather challenges his decedents asking, ‘what is left for you and your future generations?’ He is speaking about capital and jobs; deeper still, he is speaking about cultural wealth … Charged by my grandfather’s legacy, I continue to ask the destabilizing and possibly unanswerable question, what is true wealth and the ethical question— … for future generations—what is right?” Further, this phrase poetically represents the conflicting optimism and futility in discussing many of the hopes and problematics surrounding identity politics.
Spurred from conversations of Canada’s and Ontario’s 150th anniversaries, What is Left? What is Right? celebrates these milestones with a critical eye by showcasing the contributions of women artists from Canada’s past and present. Bringing the national and provincial anniversaries into direct contact with the 100th anniversary of Women's Suffrage in Canada (in 2016), this exhibition stages an intervention on the former through the lens of the latter. In celebrating the anniversary of women winning the right to vote, this project emphasizes the struggles female-identified artists and other underrepresented populations still face to gain fair recognition. This exhibition also acknowledges the specific compromises and plights associated with suffrage for Indigenous women, doubly burdened by racial and gender discrimination, and whose right to vote was tightly tethered to enfranchisement.
This exhibition is a part of a larger program which also includes a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon (co-presented with the ArtLab Gallery and Art + Feminism Collective), a companion publication featuring texts and artist projects by: Sâkihitowin Awâsis, Christie Dreise, Marina Fathalla, Serena Lee, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Karalyn Reuben, and Ruth Skinner, as well as a video screening with works by Stephanie Comilang, Taylor Doyle, Helena Martin Franco, Katie Kotler, Karilynn Ming Ho, Caroline Monnet, Zinnia Naqvi, and Dainesha Nugent-Palache.
Forest City Gallery would like to acknowledge funding from the Province of Ontario and the London Community Foundation. Thank you to these agencies for allowing a regional artist-run centre to take part in this larger, complex conservation. FCG is proud to approach this program with optimism and celebration, but also with the acknowledgement that there is much to be done to ensure respect and equity for all Canadian populations.
Thank you also to Museum London, Good Sport Gallery, ArtLab Gallery, Art + Feminism Collective, Aylmer Express Printing, and Adam Sturgeon.
Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon with the ArtLab Gallery: Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 (at the ArtLab)
Publication Launch & Screening Night: Saturday, November 25th, 2017 (Location TBA)
About the Exhibiting Artists:
Tsēma Igharas is an interdisciplinary artist and member of the Tahltan First Nation. She studied Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan (2005/06) and then connected the philosophy of Northwest Coast design to her artwork at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver BC (graduating in 2011). Tsēma has shown and performed nationally including Richmond BC, Toronto ON, Montreal QC and Calgary AB and internationally in Chiapas, Mexico and Santiago, Chile. Tsēma graduated from the Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design program at OCADu (2016) showing her thesis work, LAND|MINE that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the LAND.
Karalyn Reuben is an Urban Cree-Ojibwa German-British Artist, born in London, Ontario. She currently lives in Toronto Ontario and is studying at the Ontario College of Art and Design University studying Indigenous Visual Culture. She previously attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax Nova Scotia where she specialized in printmaking and graduated with a BFA Interdisciplinary in 2013. Through her work she seeks to connect with the viewer on an emotional level. Her works are investigations of existence and self- awareness, and are a hybridization of historic and contemporary imagery, integrated with symbols of religion and technology in backgrounds of worldly landscapes. Within her studio practice she explores different possibilities of explanations of life and different ways of being human. She is drawn to responsibility to share how she thinks and feels in hopes in connecting with others in her search of herself. After growing up white-identified, Reuben is regaining her Indigenous identity as well as knowledges of Indigenous Art, Material Culture, Histories and Issues along with conversations with her father of their culture and way of life. It is through this uncovering of knowledges that Reuben is reevaluating her existence and what is means to be a human on Turtle Island (North America).
Winnie Truong lives and works in Toronto, where she received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s drawing and painting program. Truong is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council visual arts grants and was recently featured with her artwork on the CBC program The Exhibitionists. Winnie has exhibited internationally in galleries across Toronto, LA, and Copenhagen and in New York where she was featured at VOLTA, NY Art Fair. Her work has been published in numerous art publications, including the cover of Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, and Walk the Line: The Art of Drawing. Her work is in the collection of The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas, Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto, and Bank of Denmark.
Rachel Hahn is an emerging artist based out of London, Ontario and a recent graduate of Western University's BFA program. She has developed a visual language and a material process which challenges the definition of printmaking. Her hard-edge printings incorporate painting processes into the system of silkscreen, establishing a new categorization of the printmaker’s art form. Working with minimal forms, Hahn constructs her compositions in a grid formation. Most often using two colours, the flat planes achieve balance within the allover composition. The registration of the printmakers’ stencil is the artist’s gesture towards a deconstruction of that system. With geometric parts separated from the whole, the surface becomes active as there is tension between the expression of the artist and the structure of the picture. While the composition is simultaneously constructing and deconstructing, Hahn redefines the potential of the silkscreen medium.
Davita Guslits is a visual artist born on land traditionally belonging to the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Attawandaron and Lenape Peoples (covered by the London Township Treaty of 1796). She does not believe that Canada turning 150 is a milestone worth celebrating, because of the institutional racism and legislated policies of genocide plaguing First Nations across Turtle Island. Davita enjoys a high amount of privilege as a white settler on land taken without proper compensation to the nations involved in Treaty 6. She acknowledges this as she works, free from violence or harassment due to her heritage, on her raison d’etre: painting.
Angie Quick (b. 1989, Calgary, AB.) is a self-taught painter and poet working in London, ON. She is a known for her large oil paintings which explore flesh in a historical and contemporaneous manner. Her practice experiments with the nature of language and sensation within both a visual and performative context.
Maegan Rose Mehler is an artist born in Estevan, Saskatchewan currently living in Toronto. She is interested in the politics of the face, complexities of relationships and affect as an event. She holds a MFA from the University of Guelph and a BFA from the University of Victoria. Recent projects include solo exhibitions Brick Wave Suede and Lilacs Too at Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects (Toronto); Tyler Blue for an Ex Moon at Mi-Yu Gallery (Toronto); Falling Face Sunshine Chaser at G Gallery (Toronto). She is the recipient of a 2017 Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant and a 2014/15 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Creation Grant from the Government of Canada.
Layering forms and media, Serena Lee maps power, perception, and belonging through models of polyphony. An artist from Toronto, Serena practises and presents close to home and internationally, recently with Cow House Studios, Dublin; Academy of Fine Arts Vienna at the Research Pavilion, Venice; the Images Festival, Toronto; Mountain Standard Time, Calgary; and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna. Since 2010, Serena has collaborated as member of Read-in (NL/DE/ID/CA) on performative, textual, and discursive projects, shifting modes and disciplines. Serena holds an MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam; and an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada.
As a visual artist living between cultures, Leila Fatemi is influenced by her own life experiences and understandings. Her work results from personal reflections as well as the attempt to create an appreciation and more informed understanding of Islamic culture and its foundations. Through the perspective of a practicing Muslim artist, she strives to create thought-provoking work that affords her viewers an alternative perspective on Islamic traditions and beliefs. Aside from her fine-art work, Leila has experience working professionally as a curator and community arts educator. Layering forms and media, Serena Lee maps power, perception, and belonging through models of polyphony. An artist from Toronto, Serena practises and presents close to home and internationally, recently with Cow House Studios, Dublin; Academy of Fine Arts Vienna at the Research Pavilion, Venice; the Images Festival, Toronto; Mountain Standard Time, Calgary; and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna. Since 2010, Serena has collaborated as member of Read-in (NL/DE/ID/CA) on performative, textual, and discursive projects, shifting modes and disciplines. Serena holds an MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam; and an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada.