EXHIBITION OPENING RECEPTION
Thursday, May 17, 5:30-7:30 pm
With songs performed by James Whitman
leonard et bina ellen
VELIBOR BOŽOVIĆ, MARIE-PIER BRETON, CHUN HUA CATHERINE DONG, JOANNE JOE YAN HUI, JENNA DAWN MACLELLAN, WREN NOBLE, JAMES DOUGLAS WHITMAN with BARRY DOUPÉ
IGNITION is an annual, curated exhibition recent work by students in Concordia University’s graduate Studio Arts program, and, for the first time, the Humanities doctoral program. It provides an up-and-coming generation of artists with a unique opportunity to present ambitious, interdisciplinary works in the professional context of a gallery with a national and international profile. Students work directly with Gallery staff to produce an exhibition that places an emphasis on critical, innovative, and experimental work engaging in an exploration and consideration of diverse media and practices. This year IGNITION features artists who engage with questions and narratives that are of social, cultural, and/or political relevance in artworks that often bridge documentary and fiction, the personal and the relational, performance and embodied experience.
Inspired by her time spent with senior citizens in rural Quebec, Marie-Pier Breton collaborates with members of this community in the creation of narratives that centre on aging, death, and the passing of time. The highly cinematic video in limbo uses the image of a man and a woman on a dance floor as a poetic reflection on these universal themes. More in the documentary vein, Wren Noble’s photographic series Madame, Monsieur portrays an elderly couple who, over time, as their respective physical and mental faculties diminish, dress in matching, colorful clothing. These vivid portraits function as a celebration of old age while destabilizing traditional expectations around gender performativity and old age. With reference to the Bosnian War of the 1990s, Velibor Božović’s video installation My Prisoner is a haunting exploration of memory. Combining elements of autobiography and documentary, Božović’s profoundly philosophical project grapples with memory’s malleability, raising the questions about how we remember the past and if we can know what is real?
In her performance-based work The Husbands and I, Chun Hua Catherine Dong documents time spent with dozens of white Canadian men within domestic and public spaces. Making the viewer complicit in the role of voyeur, Dong boldly overturns exoticising fantasies of the “submissive” Asian female as well as politically correct notions of multiculturalism, tolerance, and belonging. Joanne Joe Yan Hui’s Expo Daily delves into the Shanghai World Exposition of 2010 as a vector for official conceptions of nationalism in juxtaposition with more fluidly subjective, autobiographical expressions of transnational identity. In this part playful, part pedagogical series of drawings and texts, Hui nimbly mixes references to ethnographic research practices, travelogue traditions, and journalism. jenna dawn maclellan’s a study in greyscale is the result of a recent visit to Cuba where she invited Cubans to consider their relationship to globalisation while being photographed with a pinhole camera. These blurred portraits suggest an open-ended ambiguity, one that reflects Cuba’s position within the global market place as much as the diversity of answers that the artist received.
James Douglas Whitman collaborates with Barry Doupé on Adorno and Nose, a musical body of work featuring several songs as well as sheet music, lyrics, and drawings. This project is a tribute to their joint creative process, one that encourages back-and-forth strategies of play, flexibility, digression, and humour.
Produced with the support of the Frederick and Mary Kay Lowy Art Education Fund.