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 [email protected] 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.

Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Joy Wong

 

We are pleased to welcome Joy Wong to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. Joy’s residency will be taking place virtually from their home studio until the RMG reopens to the public and it is safe to work on-site. To learn more about Joy’s artistic practice visit their profile.

 

 

Joy shares what she is currently working on and looking forward to as artist in residence.

What are you working on right now?
Currently I am working on growing the SCOBYs (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from kombucha brewing. This pellicle is a natural product of the brewing process and is largely composed of cellulose as the colonies consume the sugars in the kombucha. I’ve been drying these skins, oiling them up so they stay supple, and working on manipulating the surfaces – whether it’s through embossing with textures or folding and pleating the dried pellicles.

What are you looking forward to over the next several weeks?
Over the next several weeks, I’m looking forward to learning more about biomateriality and biofilms as an extended metaphor for the surface of the body. I hope to create larger SCOBYs that can act as surfaces for painting and drawing manipulations, and to use them as sculptural materials as well. I’m excited to continue my research about the history of tea, motherlands, origins, and contamination. And lastly, I’m looking forward to the day that I may get to work in the Incubator Lab!

What will be different about working virtually and offsite?
Working offsite is different as I conduct all my meetings with RMG staff online. Because my work consists of material investigations, there is an apparent lack of touch when it comes to interacting with my work right now. I suppose this is fitting, given our current situation – our own bodies lacking touch from loved ones who we have to socially distance from. If I were working onsite, perhaps it wouldn’t change anyway as visitors have to wear masks/face coverings, but there is also a certain… funk to fermentation. That element of smell is also missing from online interactions too. Try as we might, I think everyone knows that viewing work online can never match up to seeing works in real life. I hope we get to be around one another someday soon.

 

 

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