Meet Emerging Artist in Residence, Ioana Dragomir

Please join us in welcoming Ioana Dragomir to the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program! To learn more about Ioana’s artistic practice and her plans for the incubator lab, visit her profile and read her blog post below!

Recently I’ve been reading Virginia Woolf and making work in response to her writing, and as February approaches I keep thinking about the structure of an artist residency and how it relates to the ideology Woolf puts forward in A Room of One’s Own. If you’re not familiar, here’s a rundown: in 1928 Virginia Woolf (iconic modernist writer) was asked to give a lecture on women and fiction at Cambridge University and the point she makes is that, above anything else, women doing creative work is an economic problem. In order to do so, they must have access to £500 per year and a quiet room in which to work. Which is essentially what a residency program like this one provides. In my case, I’ll also be moving into another room as I temporarily relocate from my home in Montreal to Toronto for these three months.

Ioana Dragomir, ginny, insulation foam and dressmaker’s pins, 2023. Installed at Support in Montréal. Courtesy of the artist.

My plan for my time at RMG is to really use the space and what I find in it. I’m interested in what information is housed in the archive, what other artists in residence have left behind, what the institution has collected, what installation materials have not been fully exhausted, and whatever else I may find. But I’ll also be thinking a lot about Virginia and the politics of having access to this space and its resources.

Much of my work is influenced by literature and my reading lists are guided by desire. I read Woolf’s work for the first time maybe 5 years ago because it seemed like the thing to do. She was the kind of literary, feminist, modernist writer that you’re supposed to consume in part because everyone around you is. You hear that her writing is difficult to follow, difficult to jump into, and so you wear reading her work as a badge of pride. At some point it became something more. I would write about art and end up writing about her, comparing her novels to artworks they had nothing to do with, like a person newly-infatuated who drops the name of their crush into every conversation, just for the thrill of saying it and letting others know. I wrote about her novels and made artwork about them to give myself reasons to read them. And now a residency.

I’m really looking forward to bringing my obsession with this long-dead writer to RMG, seeing what happens when I try and create work about her in a studio of my own. Perhaps you’re interested in her too – drop me a line about your favourite book if you’d like. 

Announcing our 2024-25 RBC Emerging Artists in Residence!

With thanks to the RBC Foundation for their ongoing, generous support, the RMG is pleased to welcome Ioana Dragomir, Vanessa Godden, and Niya Abdullahi to the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program in 2024-2025. In the coming year, these three artists will develop exciting new projects in our residency studio, then present that work in solo exhibitions at the RMG. We look forward to sharing their work with you!

Ioana Dragomir

Winter/Spring

Residency Dates: February 26 – June 9, 2024
Exhibition Dates: June 15 – August 11, 2024

Ioana Dragomir is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Montreal, Canada. She holds an Honours BA in studio practice from the University of Waterloo, an MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies from Western University, and is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University. Her artistic practice combines her interest in writing, literary analysis, and curation with drawing, printmaking, textiles, ceramics, and installation. In particular, poetic methodologies of juxtaposition, metaphor, and slippage are important to her practice.

Ioana Dragomir, ginny, insulation foam and dressmaker’s pins, 2023. Installed at Support in Montréal. Courtesy of the artist.

Vanessa Godden

Summer/Fall

Residency Dates: June 17 – September 29, 2024
Exhibition Dates: October 8 – December 1, 2024

Vanessa Godden is a queer Indo-Caribbean and Euro-Canadian artist, educator, and curator. They are a sessional lecturer at universities across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and a cofounder of the curatorial collective Diasporic Futurisms. Godden holds a PhD from the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne, Australia; 2020), an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, USA; 2014), and a BFA from the University of Houston (Houston, USA; 2012). Their transdisciplinary practice explores how the relationship between the body, personal histories, and geographic space can be conveyed in multi-sensory performances, videos, and installations.

Vanessa Godden, Bite Your Tongue, live performance, curry powder, flour, eggshells with personal journal entries written on them, 5 pomegranates, 35 minutes, 2019. Performed at the Fiona and Sidney Myer Gallery. Photograph by Kelvin Lau.

Niya Abdullahi

Fall/Winter

Residency Dates: October 21 – December 22, 2024 and January 6 – February 16, 2025
Exhibition Dates: February 22 – April 20, 2025

Niya Abdullahi is a multidisciplinary artist, technologist and the founder of @Habasooda, a collective dedicated to sharing the richness of the Muslim experience. Themes of identity, liberation and resistance inform her work in film which have screened at TIFF Next Wave, Nuit Blanche Saskatoon, Breakthroughs Film Festival, and Gallery 44. She was a 2021 Hot Docs Accelerator Fellow and sits on the Advisory committee for the Nia Centre of the Arts BLACKOUT project and the City of Toronto’s ArtworksTO program. Her art is personal, often drawing from her experiences as a first-generation Harari woman raised on Turtle Island, to tell stories through analogue and digital video, photography, and poetry.

Niya Abdullahi, in the whiteness, video still, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Learn more about the residency program here.

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence, Kendra Yee

Please join us in welcoming Kendra Yee to the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program! To learn more about Kendra’s artistic practice and her plans for the incubator lab, visit her profile and read her blog post below!

Close your eyes and picture that one time, not so long ago.

Maybe the minutes that comprise your thought stumble between a single second or perhaps it wobbles over weeks or they just might motor through many months.

A memory feels magical because it’s alive; metamorphosing with every recollection (for better or worse). Memories turn inanimate objects into sentient things. Throughout the day we listen to the whispers of daily diaries and the laughs of hand-me-down jeans. By interacting with taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight, the senses activate an objects cache, revealing the saga of memories. Memories can blur and they are not inherent truths, rather they coexistence with falsities. This is just a part of living; things are not always as they seem. 

Documentation of self reflections can take on a variety of different shapes and forms. These stories are often left out from cannon institutions, yet their dialogues cannot be silenced; they still chatter. Over the course of single seconds, wobbly weeks, and motored months, I will be looking at the enchantment of personal record keeping, observing the preservation of experiences and how we keep conversations through curated objects.

Here is a prediction that is also a promise: on the starting date of the residency, I will have consistently written in a journal for 68 days (everyday)!!

Here is a confession: I hate writing. This journal is the start of something daring, acting as an initial guide that stores daily antidotes. Sometimes, it is my friend. Tightly within the pages the scratched ballpoint ink keeps joy and fosters excitement. Similar to a vessel, it is responsible for storing, a paper pot for stories. Other times, it is my enemy. I do not want to write. Each word is poison. There is nothing to feel. 

Perhaps, you will visit me at the studio and we will have a conversation on a memory that you had. I wonder if some secrets will be disclosed? We could swap pages from our journals, embarrassed by the mundane details. It could also be awkward; we are strangers after all. Anything could happen. It’s just like the initiations of a memory, you never really know what will stick or what will fade away. With your collaboration, an installation will be built to preserve the memories of others through the creation of objects / items / things. Using clay and drawings as a foundation, the artworks created will combine donated paper paraphernalia and other items provided by the community. Coming together as a collection, these works will build a memory palace. Some things important to us… for a time that we cannot recall. 

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Alex Close

We are pleased to welcome Alex Close to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. To learn more about Alex’s artistic practice and her plans for the incubator lab, visit her profile and read her blog post below!

Hi! My name is Alex Close and I am excited to come back to my hometown of Oshawa this February as the next emerging artist in residence at the RMG Gallery.

I have recently been focusing on the ways we navigate through layered experiences that inform our sense of place. In the past I spent a lot of time thinking about how we can lose our ability to pay attention or even visualize for ourselves when we constantly participate in immersive or engineered experiences. From this, the idea of trust became a big theme for me, and I have been thinking about how this applies to large public events and spectacles, where immersion and movement of crowds can be physically seen. For example, being lulled into a comfortable and pleasant experience in a mall can encourage you to stay there longer. I am interested in the ecology of big public events or places, the characters that come up (like predator and prey) and the movement patterns from center to edge.

During my residency I will be working on a series of large-scale paintings that are informed by experiments with a few different avenues of abstraction; sound bites, animations, drawings/prints, and small-scale maquettes. I will be focusing on the theme of navigating public events and recalling memories that develop our sense of place. The process of navigating a new or challenging environment can almost be seen as a scavenger hunt – finding fleeting moments of thrill or an intuition of what might be next. I am interested in the emotions that come up in this state of navigation and the process of orientation in general – interpreting the reality around us and the trust in well-worn paths including our own memory.

When I travel back to Oshawa, I will also be reflecting on my experience living abroad for the last year in Eastern Europe where I started to get used to different codes and customs to navigate everyday life. This has gotten me to think about the idea of “home” and how I define it, as well as mobility and my own journey into orienting myself when going from a certain set of communication norms and into another.

I am so excited to get to work at the RMG artist incubator lab and am looking forward to meeting new people while I am at the studio so please feel free to drop by or get in touch!

Announcing our 2023-2024 RBC Emerging Artists in Residence!

With thanks to RBC for their generous support, the RMG is pleased to present three new artists in the Emerging Artist Residency Program. Alex Close, Noah Scheinman, and Kendra Yee will be bringing exciting projects to the RMG over the coming year, each developing new work in our residency studio and exhibiting that work in an eight-week solo show. We look forward to sharing their work with you!

Alex Close

Spring/Summer


Residency Dates: February 27 – June 11, 2023
Exhibition Dates: June 17 – August 13, 2023

Alex Close is an emerging visual artist from Oshawa, ON. She holds a BFA from OCADU, an MFA (MLitt) from the Glasgow School of Art (2017), and a Master of Design in Design Research from Carleton University (2020). She has participated in residencies, exhibitions, and projects internationally. Concerned with the relationship between certainty and unreachable or irretrievable data, Close explores in her work the layers of experiences that form someone’s sense ofplace, as well as the varied and imperfect processes of interpreting reality and recalling memories.

Alex Close, Turbine Shellfish, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 4×4′.

Noah Scheinman

Summer/Fall

Residency Dates: June 19 – October 1, 2023
Exhibition Dates: October 7 – December 3, 2023

Noah Scheinman is an emerging multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker with a background in architecture and design. His creative work has been presented in various group and solo contexts, including a public art commission from the City of Kingston. Since 2020, Scheinman has been working on a project called The Legacy of Matter which investigates the toxic legacy of Canada’s postnuclear landscape. Engaged in site specific inquiries of colonialism and ecology, his work traces historical and contemporary practices of extraction and waste management in so-called Canada.

Noah Scheinman, A Vast Metabolism, 2020, Installation View (Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre).

Kendra Yee

Winter/Spring


Residency Dates: October 23 – December 17, 2023 and January 2 – February 18, 2024
Exhibition Dates: February 24 – April 21, 2024

Kendra Yee is an emerging arts practitioner based out of Tkaronto (Toronto) with a background in illustration and design. Yee has developed programming with numerous galleries in Ontario, including the RMG, and exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, and Los Angeles. Her work is concerned with communal dialogue. Seeking a fluid sense of time and storytelling through carefully curated spaces, Yee’s work pulls from personal narratives, lived encounters, and collective knowledge to explore the relationship between private world building and collective histories.

Kendra Yee, Jump, 2022, ink & newsprint, 8” x 10”.

Learn more about the residency program here.

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Brigitte Sampogna

We are pleased to welcome Brigitte Sampogna to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. To learn more about Brigitte’s artistic practice and her plans for the incubator lab, visit her profile and read her blog post below!

Just like Annie Lennox sings in Who’s That Girl?, I’m sure many of you will say “who is that odd girl talking to herself in a public, mostly glass studio space at the RMG?” That would be me, Brigitte Sampogna! Unlike her song, however, I am not the other woman; I am the next emerging artist in residence.             

I’ve grown up in Whitby/Oshawa and still reside here. Most of my experiences have been dictated by this suburban landscape. I tend to work with items and material I find around me. Some may call keeping everything that makes you feel a little something hoarding, but I call that being an artist with a mediocre memory, emotional attachment, and a tendency for collection. As the saying goes, you never know what is going to come in handy.

I have found that much of our experiences in life collect on us like clothes on a laundry line, soaking wet, heavy and fresh, but as they slowly dry in the warm hug of the sun they no longer need to be hung. Both the duty of the laundry line and the quest of the clothing has completed. Often, when we have forgotten what we had hanging on the line, we may need to repeat the process with additional care and mending.

During my residency, I will be exploring domestic and suburban spaces through an abstract mapping process, which manifests in accumulation and collection. With found items from nature, home, and the suburban environment, I would like to put a frame around domestic repetition, nostalgic adolescence and locate where in suburbia this all lays. 

I am always down to see friendly faces (and ones considered not as much) so feel free to stop by the studio and have a chat!

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Jordan Elliot Prosser

We are pleased to welcome Jordan Elliot Prosser to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. To learn more about Jordan’s artistic practice and his plans for the incubator lab, visit his profile and read his blog post below!

Hello,

I’m Jordan, I was born and raised in Oshawa, where most of my family still resides. I now live and work in Toronto but for the residency will temporarily move into my father’s basement near the hospital.

My work over the past few years has been engaged in mapping out the character of post-industrial life in Oshawa. Subjects for this work have ranged from the childhood objects stored in my mother’s basement to the closure(s) of the assembly plant. These projects are highly personal accounts that use documentary methods to create immersive film and sculptural environments. The work emerges from a set of questions regarding the shifting nature of identity, nostalgia and its regressive/progressive tendencies, and place-making. It is ultimately characterized by a melancholic tone in its futile attempts to discover what if anything has been lost in the past. With both sociological and psychological dimensions, the works interrogate how identity is formed by context and mirrored in objects of attachment.

During the residency I will continue this series by developing a new documentary video and sculpture work investigating a local icon of Oshawa: the famous racehorse Northern Dancer and his home at Windfields Farm. Surprisingly, some people I have spoken to in Oshawa have never heard of the horse even though he has a giant mural in the very center of the town!

A brief history for those who are not familiar:

Windfields Farm was a state-of-the-art facility for the ‘manufacture’ of thoroughbred racehorses nestled in the countryside in north Oshawa at Simcoe and Colin Rds. In 1961, the farm’s success skyrocketed with the birth of Northern Dancer. A “small horse with a big heart,” he would go on to win the top races of his time including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Queen’s Plate. Following his racing career he became a popular studding horse, siring some of the most successful racehorses of all time. His dominance as a stallion earned him the title “The Sire of the Sires” accounting for the astonishing fact that today the majority of thoroughbred horses are his descendants. In his time, he was a cherished local hero. Northern Dancer died in 1990 and a replacement of his caliber never materialized. With the ailing health of the farm’s owners and global economy in the late 80’s, what was one of the most successful breeding operations in history withered away over the next decade. The farm was sold off to the local University and developers. Today, most of the fields are now suburban communities while the core buildings of the farm, including the cemetery containing Northern Dancer, have been left partially abandoned. For the past decade, Windfields Farm has been held in limbo awaiting plans of heritage conservation by city and University.

You can learn more about Northern Dancer on the farm from this documentary profile found on YouTube: Documentary About Northern Dancer

I’m looking forward to my time with the RMG. If you have a personal story or any insights on Northern Dancer or Winfields Farm I would be eager to chat! Please stop by the artist incubator lab while I’m in residence or reach out to Hannah Keating at hkeating@rmg.on.ca to set up a meeting with me.

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Malik McKoy

We are pleased to welcome Malik McKoy to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. To learn more about Malik’s artistic practice and his plans for the incubator lab, visit his profile and read his blog post below!

Hello! I’m so thrilled to be the next artist in residence at the RMG.

I am currently based in Ajax, Ontario, where I live with my family. Spending the bulk of the pandemic at home yielded some highs, as well as some challenges.

On one hand, I was able to dedicate a lot of extra time to improving my 3D modeling skills. As a result, and thanks to several commissions, my digital practice has been my main focus over the past year and a half. Commissioned art making is still fairly new to me, and navigating that since graduating has been a cool plot twist in my practice. It definitely kept my creative juices flowing while also growing my professional experience.

On the other hand, finding space to paint was a real challenge. Between commissions I have been working on personal projects (both digital and analog), but it was hard without dedicated studio space to make paintings in our garage.

Having access to a studio where I can work freely is what I am most looking forward to with this residency. Also, as a resident of Durham Region, I’m ecstatic that I will not have to travel very far (lol). I think my visual style is still developing in both my digital and analog practices, which is exciting for me as I prepare for working in the RBC artist incubator lab.

I plan on engaging with the public through online tools and in-person visits, so people will be able to see the various stages of my work. While revealing artistic processes can be nerve-wracking, I also find it cool that neither the artist, nor the viewer can know what the end result will look like (even if the artist is sure they do).

Lastly, I’m also looking forward to reflecting on the playlists I make over the course of the residency, and how music potentially influences how I paint (or not!).

Malik will be streaming live from the RBC artist incubator lab on January 26 (12pm), February 23 (7pm), and March 16 (12pm). Follow us on Instagram to see works in progress and hear about his processes in the studio.

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Laura Grier

 

We are pleased to welcome Laura Grier to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. To learn more about Laura’s artistic practice visit their profile.

 

During their residency, Laura will be working on project called Ǝrįhtł’é k’éíhtsi: K’enda, which is a word they created using their knowledge of the Sahtú Dene language to describe their artistic practice: printmaking. In this blog post, Laura explains what they have been thinking about lately and what they will be working on in the RBC Artist Incubator Lab.

Recently, I have been completely immersed in these research books on the bear lake language that I managed to obtain. The books attempt to explain the structure of this northern dene language, a task that took several decades to realize. One of the members of the community that was consulted was my biological grandfather, who I never had the chance to meet.

This has been a really complex year, and as I navigate through this city (Toronto), I try to find new homes in new things. I am away from my home, but I can still find traces of it in words, in land, in stories, and in everyday things. Things that speak to this urban displacement, and to some extent, urban relationality.

Right now, my practice is about looking towards the friends that live in this medium that I love. In print there are many, but the key elements are wood, rock, and metal. I want to turn to ways of practicing printmaking that make use of relational methods and considers the tools and the “things” that are behind, and in-between, the making. I want to work with wood more and find ways that they can be used to create patterns. During the period of my residency, I want to push wood to create similar marks from mark-making drawings through carving and print without a press. By doing this, I have a chance to play with patterns that can be repeated to form imagery that then becomes a fragmentation from its original mark. Like making words, there is a root first that then branches or grows off to newer unknown places.

I look forward to virtual interactions and onsite studio sessions. This work is flexible, and I will be in the studio on occasion to do some carving and printing, while using online resources that are accessible to folks offsite.

Connect with Laura!

To learn when Laura will be in the RBC Artist Incubator Lab or hosting virtual studio sessions, follow Laura and the RMG on social media.

Join them on Instagram Live on October 16 at 2pm for a Welcome to the Studio Artist Talk and on November 23 at 7pm for a Residency Check-in. Follow Laura and the RMG to catch these fun, casual visits with the artist. They will also be hosting a virtual printmaking workshop on Zoom. Stay tuned to learn more!

 

The RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Florence Yee

 

We are pleased to welcome Florence Yee to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. Florence’s residency will be taking place virtually. To learn more about Florence’s artistic practice visit their profile.

 

 

In this blog post, Florence shares what they are currently working on and thinking about.

I’ve been working on a few iterations of my embroidered watermarks in the last few months. The first one featured the Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden in Toronto’s Chinatown Centre Mall, seen in the midst of a conflict of commodification. The second embroidered photograph features the feet of two people on a bed. The most recent one shows a hand pointing through a recipe booklet handwritten in Chinese.

The word PROOF  has been my departure point in queering memory, particularly photographs. As the main medium of archives, they set a precedence for what evidence should look like. The emphasis on the legible subject relies on our familiarity with it, or how much is made available to the viewer.

Florence Yee, PROOF – Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden, hand embroidered thread on inkjet-printed cotton voile, 51” x 37″, 2020.

This leads me to also question the power of visibility. It is used as a tool of representation in queer communities of colour, but can easily be a trap of marketing, tokenization, and performativity. How can the image and its endurance best serve us? The PROOF watermark has been a reclamatory gesture for me, as it brings the image back to an unfinished, unowned, and “unusable” state. They are still drafts of an archive.

The durational aspect of this work has been a double-edged sword in my practice. As a recovering workaholic, the isolating times have left me with little of the collectivity I seek to imagine better conditions for ourselves. It brings me back to a certain futility that doesn’t feel helpful at this current moment, but it longs for more.

 

Join me in the Studio!

Open Studio Sessions

Dates:

June 24 and July 8, 2021

From 2-3PM, I invite you to virtually drop by my open studio to chat about your ideas, my ideas, our gardening habits, or just ask each how we can be better at not burning out in this moment.

Follow this link to my virtual studio: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82704612271

 

 

The RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.