Hįdú ɂAssı̨́i – K’inayele

Hįdú ɂAssı̨́i – K’inayele (Now Things, She Carries Them Around) by Laura Grier

Join Laura for their workshop, In Bloom: Lino Printmaking, on April 24th!

Laura Grier’s works in printmaking and word-making are expressions of relationships. In Hįdú ɂAssı̨́i – K’inayele (Now Things, She Carries Them Around), Grier works with TseYǝ́dı́ı (wood), tampons, pads, underwear, takeout containers, plastic beads, pill bottles, and Sahtúgot’ı̨nę Kede (the Bear Lake Language) to make words and patterns that adorn sheets of cotton and the gallery’s walls. These hand-carved wood block prints foil institutional expectations for printmaking by aspiring to be less precious and more useful than fine art prints on paper.

Making with wood and the Bear Lake Language teaches Grier how to recognize the potential for extending and receiving care; asking for and yielding to compromise; and cultivating joy and respect with non-human relations. Within Sahtúgot’ı̨nę Kede, Grier carves out space for their lived experiences as an urban Dene person by crafting words that reflect their reality. For Hįdú ɂAssı̨́i – K’inayele (Now Things, She Carries Them Around) specifically, Grier shares words that describe the floral designs of their textile works, honouring their self-care while confronting the tension they feel about menstruation and its associated waste.

Each design in this new body of work began as experimental drawings made with objects from Grier’s life related to bodies and periods. Grier translated those marks into digital form, then combined them with others into patterns reminiscent of Dene textiles. Though not sewn with beads, this imagery allows Grier to connect with the visual language of Dene craft as a printmaker. The work also creates opportunities for Grier to contemplate the harder-to-recognize relationships in plastic, whose versatility as menstrual products or pill bottles tends to disguise its deep-earth origins. Camouflage is at work in Hįdú ɂAssı̨́i – K’inayele too. As it invites moments of disorientation and discovery, the work asks you to look with fresh eyes on the materials that populate your everyday life.

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

Laura Grier is a Délı̨nę First Nations artist and printmaker, born in Somba ké (Yellowknife), and raised in Alberta. Through the use of traditional print mediums, they instrumentalize the power of the handmade to reflect political sociology, culture, ecology, and Indigeneity. Responding to lived experiences of urban displacement as a Dene woman through print, Laura’s work is also inspired by the dynamism of Indigenous art practices and uses printmaking as a tool for resistance, refusal, and inherent Bets’ı̨nę́. They hold a BFA from NSCADU (K’jipuktuk) and an MFA from OCAD University (Tkaronto). They have exhibited at Xpace Cultural Centre, Harcourt House, DC3 Art Projects, SNAP Gallery, and ArtsPlace. Laura has received grants and awards for their work, including the Indigenous project grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and was the 2018 RISE Emerging Artist recipient. They currently reside in Tkaronto.

This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

How to Give Ghosts a Sunburn

How to Give Ghosts a Sunburn by Florence Yee

Exhibition: October 30 – December 5, 2021

Join us for an Interactive Artist Talk on Zoom with Florence Yee on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 6-7pm.

In this exhibition, Florence Yee presents recent embroidery and text-based artworks that dissect the motives, values, and assumptions that produce public monuments. Drawing on commemorative methods like bronze casting and photography, Yee recontextualizes experiences from their own life to create works that favour process over completion, uncertainty over authority, and consensual recognition over exploitation.

The exhibition’s title reveals a few important things about Yee’s work, including a recurring theme in their practice: futility. Without skin, sunburns are likely a nonissue for ghosts; in this context, How to Give Ghosts a Sunburn reveals Yee’s skepticism of monument-making itself. Nevertheless, the ‘how-to’ title gives the unmistakable impression that this work seeks an approach to monument-making despite these doubts. It also reveals the type of monument Yee is after, one that, through close proximity and searing attention, proves the existence of something immaterial or gives temporary shape to that which is hard to define.

In two of the works, Yee has embroidered the word “proof” across the surface of two images. One is of the Anti-Displacement Garden in Toronto’s Chinatown and the other is a moment of queer intimacy. The watermark designates these works as prototypes, but it also indicates Yee’s desire for the series to be read as evidence of small, but vital gestures: in this case, acts of resistance to gentrification and queer love respectively. Other works explore how memories can fade or spread like a virus, and another posits whether multitudes can be held within commemorative acts. How to Give Ghosts a Sunburn assembles these recent ruminations and invites audiences to consider their relationship to these and other monuments to memory.

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

Florence Yee is a visual artist and recovering workaholic based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Their practice uses text-based art, sculpture, and textile installation through the intimacy of doubt. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (2021), the Art Gallery of Ontario (2020), the Textile Museum of Canada (2020), and the Gardiner Museum (2019), among others. Along with Arezu Salamzadeh, they have co-founded the Chinatown Biennial in 2020. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U.

This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

Can I Play Outside?

Join us for a Live Artist Talk + Drawing Event with Jaspal Birdi on February 24, 2021 from 12:00PM -1:00PM.

Using her smartphone, laser printers, and paint, Jaspal Birdi plays with colour and technical glitches to make large photo-based works. In this exhibition, she uses photos from her phone’s camera roll to explore the nature of memory, the interplay between physical and virtual worlds, and the potential for audience interaction in collaborative artmaking.

To make one of her works, Birdi manually overrides the low-ink warnings from her printer to create an ethereal copy of a chosen image. She scans the printed image back into her computer, then prints a second, enlarged copy that is broken into a grid, like tiles or oversized pixels. Piece by piece, Birdi transfers the image to various surfaces with gesso before removing the paper and using paint to further embellish the final image with her memories and interpretations. In this case, the images are affixed to emergency blankets, mirrors, and the gallery wall. These efforts between artist and machine make images that are wholly transformed. Exaggerated, embellished, and missing details, the copies are not unlike memories, which also tend to be altered by their own retrieval.

Can I Play Outside? is particularly concerned with the interactions that take place through digital screens, which play an active role in framing and constructing perceptions of self and others. Think about your own camera roll and the images you may make or encounter online. What sorts of stories do these photos tell? What is remembered and what is forgotten? Alongside these questions, Can I Play Outside? captures the artist’s bid for spontaneous and curious fun. Birdi invites you to add your personal memories and interpretations to the work using a digital drawing app. The multiple versions and layers of this living artwork will mimic the artist’s process of assembling pieces into a whole and will allow audiences to generate a picture that is multi-dimensional, constantly changing, and reflective of collective experiences.

Jaspal Birdi is a Canadian artist who combines photography and painting by experimenting with contemporary technologies. Born in Toronto, Canada 1988, Birdi completed her BFA in drawing and painting from OCAD University 2010, a Masters in Arts Management from Istituto Europeo di Design 2013, and a Specialization in Curating Contemporary Art from Venice School of Curatorial Studies 2016. She is the recipient of the Arte Laguna Solo Exhibition Prize in 2013, as well as the 2017/18 Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa Artist Residency Fellowship, during which she also received the BLM Stonefly Art Award. In 2017 Birdi co-curated the exhibition “Command-Alternative-Escape” for the opening week of the Venice International Art Biennale. During the 2018 Berlin Art Week, her works were presented in “Transferred Recall,” a curated solo exhibition. Currently, Birdi is a 2020 Visual Arts Fellow for the Fondazione Culturale SanFedele Art Prize.

This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

The Perfect Day by Sophie Sabet

The Perfect Day is an exhibition of new video and sculpture work by emerging artist Sophie Sabet, produced during her residency in the Artist Incubator Lab. Sabet is a filmmaker who mines personal relationships and found footage from her past to explore processes of migration and creation, body politics, and the myriad ways we reveal and conceal ourselves in the world. For this new work, she blends home-video footage from her childhood with intimate present-day footage in a single-channel video. The work touches on her mother’s own practice as an artist and accesses images that reveal how bodies, spaces, and objects can act as vessels for memories, emotions, and trauma. A series of cast plaster sculptures are presented alongside the video. Created through a process of filling and extracting, they become material representations of this inner weight.

Sophie Sabet is a Toronto-based visual artist working predominantly in video. Her practice is often autobiographical and intimately traces the complexities and fluidity of the domestic sphere. She is interested in different forms of communication, creating space for empathy and the process of working through heterogeneous cultural and personal perspectives. She holds a BA in Art History from Queen’s University, and a MFA in Documentary Media Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Sabet has exhibited solo exhibitions at the Student Gallery at the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto) in 2016 and Flux Gallery (Winnipeg) in 2017. She has participated in several artist residencies including the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2017 and the Vermont Studio Centre in 2018. Sabet recently completed a solo show at the Mississauga Museums for CONTACT’s 2019 photography festival (Toronto) where she received the Gattuso prize for an outstanding Featured Exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

Lithic Innards

Opening Reception: Friday, January 3, 2020, 7PM -10PM | Artist Talk: Friday, January 3, 2020 8:30PM

Lithic Innards is an exhibition of new work by Toronto-based artist Ellen Bleiwas. The installation’s assembly of unfired clay figures prod at conscious and unconscious knowledge, prompting an experience that is something like recognition, a form of looking that is both familiar and new all at once. The individual works are formed from molded masses or coils of clay, rolled and stretched long into slippery ropes. These soft, pliable coils are wound around and around to form towers that are pinched and smoothed, creating space and texture inside and out. The arrangement of these forms activates circular movement, which direct the viewer to move around the works in a circle, reinforcing the artist’s interest in repetition, reflection, and looking in. Holding space, the installation also produces a feeling of grounded monumentality characteristic of architectural forms and primordial rock. Inviting you into this space and into yourself, Bleiwas asks: do you know this place?

Ellen Bleiwas is an emerging visual artist based in Toronto. She has recently exhibited at Idea Exchange (Cambridge), Angell Gallery (Toronto), and Art Mûr (Montreal). Bleiwas holds a MFA from York University (2017) and a Master of Architecture from McGill University (2010). She has participated in artist residencies including Takt Kunstprojektraum (Berlin), Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto), and the School of Visual Arts (New York). Her practice has been supported through grants and awards from the Toronto Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 401 Richmond through the 2017-18 Career Launcher Prize, and here at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery through the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. Immediately following her tenure at the RMG, Bleiwas is attending an artist residency at the NARS Foundation in New York, supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project