Gallery A and the RBC Artist Incubator Lab are an innovative exhibition and studio space within The Robert McLaughlin Gallery that support community activation and provide artists with professional development opportunities. The Artist Incubator Lab is a space for creativity and experimentation that strives to support the local arts ecosystem. The space provides artists with an opportunity to experiment, innovate, and grow their artistic practice. While in residence, artists are encouraged to create new work, generate bold ideas, have vision, and make meaningful connections with our visitors and our community.
RBC Artist Incubator Lab Programming
RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program
The RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.
Current/Upcoming Artist in Residence
Residency Dates: September 13 – December 5, 2021
Exhibition Dates: December 11, 2021 – January 30, 2022
This residency will take place onsite in the artist incubator lab and offsite with virtual engagement.
Meet the artist! Read Laura’s Blog post here.
We are so happy to welcome Laura Grier to the RMG as our fall 2021 RBC Emerging Artist in Residence. During their residency, Laura will be working on a research-based printmaking series that draws on their Sahtú Dene language and aims to nurture the space between the artist, their materials, and their surroundings. Laura has named the project Ǝrįhtł’é k’éíhtsi: K’enda, which was formed, as many Sahtú Dene words are, by using and reimagining known words to form new meanings. Using a handful of language resources currently available to them, Ǝrįhtł’é k’éíhtsi: K’enda is the term Laura has constructed to refer to the medium of printmaking. Along with their efforts to imagine words, Laura will use TseYǝ́dı́ı [wood] to create large-scale prints that gather marks and form patterns from urban objects. These works will continue Laura’s ongoing contemplations of urban Indigeneity and re-connectivity through land and language.
Artist Bio: 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.
There are lots of opportunities to connect with Laura virtually:
- 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.
- Join us for a virtual printmaking workshop hosted by Laura over Zoom. Stay tuned to learn more!
Previous Artists in Residence
Residency Dates: April 19 – July 11, 2021
Exhibition: October 30 – December 5, 2021
You can also chat with Florence directly during their virtual open studio sessions (read more below).
We are excited to welcome Florence Yee to the RMG for our spring/summer 2021 RBC Emerging Artist Residency. During their residency, Florence will build on an ongoing series of textile works, which problematize familiar forms of memorialization—such as photos, monuments, and archives—to critique, destabilize, and deromanticize linear narratives of diaspora, assimilation, and the self. Broadly, their practice is concerned with the self-defeating notion of belonging among queer and racialized communities, particularly how it is sought through labour, language, duty, and family. In these new works, Florence will consider how efforts to commemorate can fail and imagine new methods for queering memory that can be intimate, vulnerable, and ephemeral.
Artist Bio: Florence Yee is a Cantonese-struggling visual artist and recovering workaholic based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Their practice uses text-based art, sculpture, and textile installation with the intimacy of doubt. Their work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2020), the Mackenzie Gallery (2020), Gardiner Museum (2019), Centre A (2019), and Art Mûr (2018), among others. Along with Arezu Salamzadeh, they have co-founded the Chinatown Biennial in 2020. They are currently the Co-Director of Tea Base, a queer grassroots collective in Tkaronto. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U. They are represented by Studio Sixty-Six.
Residency Dates: January 4 – March 28, 2021
This residency will be taking place virtually until further notice. We look forward to sharing Joy’s work with you digitally until it is safe to reopen the gallery.
Exhibition: September 14 – October 24, 2021
We are thrilled to welcome Joy Wong to The RMG for our winter 2021 RBC Emerging Artist Residency. Wong’s art practice is concerned with surfaces and the relationships that develop between interior and exterior worlds. She is particularly interested in bodily experiences, including how insides and outsides stretch, spread, and seep across borders, both literally and metaphorically. In her painting practice, this has manifested in works on the cusp of decline and renewal. Using materials such as rubber latex, copper, and sea salt, Wong’s unconventional paintings court the grotesque with their fleshy colours and deteriorating forms. During her residency in the RBC Artist Incubator Lab, Wong will continue her artistic research and ongoing experiments with kombucha starter to create a new body of work dedicated to fermentation.
Artist Bio: Joy Wong (she/they) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tkaronto, with Cantonese immigrant settler ancestry. She works in painting, print media, poetry, and sculpture. Their practice focuses on the intersections of disgust and beauty, decay and decadence, and connects material investigations with the shifting physicality of a queer and racialized body. She obtained her BFA from York University with a double major in Visual Arts and Creative Writing and her MFA from Western University where she received a SSHRC grant for her research. Wong was a finalist for the 2018 RBC Canadian Painting Competition and was the 2019 Pope Artist in Residence at NSCAD.
Residency Dates: September 8 – December 13, 2020
Exhibition: Can I play outside? December 18, 2020 – July 18, 2021
We are excited to introduce the RMG’s fall RBC Emerging Artist in Residence: Jaspal Birdi. Jaspal will be working in the Artist Incubator Lab until December 13, 2020 on a project called, Can I play outside? Fusing photography and painting in large-scale works, the artist will draw on her own memories and experiences to create new paintings of suburban environments. The work will be exhibited in Gallery A at the end of her residency. The exhibition will invite viewers to contribute overlapping stories and novel interactions with the artist’s imagined worlds, encouraging community collaboration, integration, and sustainability.
Artist Bio: 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.
Residency Dates: December 16, 2019 to March 22, 2020
Exhibition: August 1 – September 24, 2020
We are excited to welcome Sophie Sabet to the RBC Artist Incubator Lab as the fourth Emerging Artist in Residence, supported by the RBC Foundation. During her residency, Sabet will be developing a multi-media installation that draws on found home-video footage from her family’s home in Iran, before they immigrated to Canada. The installation will investigate social and political themes related to family, geography, and representation.
Artist Bio: 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.
Residency Dates: September 23 to December 15, 2019
Exhibition: Lithic Innards, January 3 to February 2, 2020
Reception + Artist Talk: Friday, January 3, 2019 | 7PM – 10PM
During her residency in the Artist Incubator Lab, Bleiwas will be creating a new body of sculptural work that explores the nature of ritual and cycles, including seasonal cycles, economic cycles, and political cycles. In particular,the artist will consider the vulnerability of these cycles, to aging and change over time, through her use of materials.
Artist Bio: Ellen Bleiwas is an emerging visual artist currently based in Toronto. She has recently exhibited at Idea Exchange (Cambridge), Angell Gallery (Toronto), and Art Mûr (Montreal). Bleiwas holds an MFA from York University (2017) and a Master of Architecture from McGill University (2010). She has done artist residences in Berlin, Toronto, and 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 (SSHRC), and 401 Richmond, through the 2017-18 Career Launcher Prize.
Residency Dates: July 2 – September 22, 2019
Exhibition: Wild Braid, September 24 – October 20, 2019
Reception + Artist Talk: October 4, 2019 | 7PM – 10PM
During his time in the Artist Incubator Lab, Brian will be developing a new body of work inspired by his familial history and recent experiments with new mediums and abstraction. This new work will draw on the shapes, colours, and forms of traditional quilt patterns, Brian’s existing printmaking practice, and lived experience in some of Ontario’s natural landscapes, allowing him to react to nature in new and exciting ways.
Artist Bio: Brian Hoad is a visual artist from Port Hope, ON. He received his Bachelor of Fine Art Honours, Visual Art in 2015 from Queen’s University and Master of Fine Art, Visual Art in 2017 from the University of Regina. He maintains a studio practice at Dead On Collective in Kingston, ON, where he works as the Technician Supervisor for the Fine Art (Visual Art) Program at Queen’s University. Prior to attending university, Hoad served as a full-time studio assistant to Canadian Artist David Blackwood while receiving instruction in traditional oil painting methods, copper etching, and woodcut. His practice-based research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.
Alex R.M. Thompson
Residency Dates: April 1 – June 23, 2019
Exhibition: Civic Study (interim), July 7 – 28, 2019
Reception + Artist Talk: July 27, 2019 | 2PM – 4PM | Artist Talk 2:30PM
Alex R.M. Thompson is the first artist in our newly launched RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. Using the studio space in the Artist Incubator Lab, Alex will be working on two projects over the course of his residency. Advancing a project currently in-progress; Alex will be working on prototypes for an artist’s book. His interest in installation will shape his second project, which will be a collaborative drawing/animation piece. Stop by the Lab to meet Alex and learn more about this work and ongoing practice in installation and print-based mediums.
Artist Bio: Alex R.M. Thompson is a Brantford-born, Toronto-based artist, working with installation and print-based media. He graduated from OCAD University’s Printmaking program in 2013, earning the medal for his year. He has exhibited work at Art Toronto, The Artist Project, Nuit Blanche, Studio Sixty Six (Ottawa), and Timeraiser 150 at the Power Plant. He is an active member at Open Studio in Toronto, where he also acts as a custom printer and teaches etching, and has been an artist-in-residence at Centre and the Banff Centre. His practice investigates the relationship between the urban environment and its occupants, and the architectural representation of meaning.