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Intentional Community: Undergraduate Student Exhibition opens January 13 at FOFA Gallery

January 15, 2020
By Amelia Wong-Mersereau

Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux

Undergraduate students from across the Faculty of Fine Arts will come together from January 13 – February 21 to present their yearly exhibition at the FOFA gallery. Intentional Community was put together by a jury of directors from the FOFA and VAV Galleries to showcase the most promising student submissions from a range of disciplines.

FOFA Gallery exhibition coordinator Catherine Deschamps-Montpetit says that Intentional Community delves into themes of gender identity, the environment, and is about “thinking about things other than the individual.”

Professional experience in a gallery

Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux

This annual undergraduate student exhibition is an important opportunity for students to gain professional experience with a gallery, says Deschamps-Montpetit. The gallery treats the exhibition as they would any other show, with contracts and professional technicians to help install the works.

Students from departments outside Studio Arts also get involved. For the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, students from the Department of Art History were selected to write about works in the show. These texts were edited by FOFA Gallery staff, then given to students from the Department of Design and Computation Arts who proposed a layout and created the publication.

Cross-disciplinary Collaboration

Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux

As in previous years, students from the Department of Contemporary Dance will participate in the exhibition by working with the visual artists on contemporary dance responses to the works. Their dance pieces will be performed for the public twice across the duration of the exhibition, on January 23 and February 6 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Undergraduate dance student Amelia Jacobs will respond to Sonya Kertész’s The Net (2017), a soft sculpture made of papier mâché. Kertész’s work is informed by her diving and deep-sea expeditions, and how garbage has become an increasingly common sight underwater. Jacobs describes working with Kertész as an ongoing exchange where she tried to understand the artist’s process.

“Was this piece for them? How did they do what they did? I took those as seeds of inspiration to start at the same place, to then end up somewhere that hopefully reflects and compliments what [Kertész] made.”

Jacobs says that the opportunity was meaningful to her because it was so site-specific.

“Usually we make work for a stage and not usually other spaces. It has been very nourishing and eye opening to create work for another space.”

“It’s also realistic,” adds Edie Guo, another undergraduate dance student. “In the future we’ll have to hop on someone else’s vision and work with what they’ve already done or get added to a big project. It’s good to be prepared to adapt to environments that other people have created.”

Visibility for a range of non-normative identities

Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux

The artworks in Intentional Community explore a range of non-normative identities, from punk, queer, and trans- to cultural and ethnic minorities. The York Corridor and Saint-Catherine street vitrines feature wearable works, like Olivia Turchyniak’s ceramic piece YX (2018) or Mariana Moreno Caro’s Columbian ruana titled A Flor de Piel (2018).

Intentional Community also includes digital and video works, installation, sculpture, and other mixed media projects.

The title of the exhibition emerged, when Deschamps-Montpetit noticed that all the artworks had something in common: “a desire to improve community life by using critical assessment of topics such as identity, ecology and aesthetics and cooperation. All the students wanted to participate in a community that is more inclusive and accepting.”


Intentional Community runs from January 13 to February 21 at the FOFA Gallery on the first floor of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste-Catherine St West) on the Sir George Williams Campus. The vernissage and catalogue launch is on January 16.

Selected performances will take place January 23 and February 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. Check the event listing for a full description of the exhibition, including artist bios and artwork samples.

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