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Fine Arts 10th Annual Graduating Students Exhibition

June 18 – July 6, 2012

Vernissage: Wednesday, June 20, 6–8 p.m.

Exhibition description

We are pleased to present Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts students in the Tenth Annual Fine Arts Graduating Students’ Exhibition.  The Graduating Students’ Exhibition is a juried show staged during the weeks surrounding Convocation, and provides an opportunity for the students to display their work in a public venue while celebrating the completion of their course of study.   Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts offers an unparalleled range of programs in both the Visual and Performing Arts.  The Faculty is known nationally and internationally for the quality of both its faculty and its graduates, with more than 3,000 students currently enrolled in Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programs and over 18,000 alumni around the world.  

The 2012 show represents a cross-section of the many disciplines and research activities of the students completing their degrees at Concordia University, whether at the Graduate or Undergraduate level. The 23 students participating in the exhibition are representative of the Faculty’s different departments, including Cinema, Art Education, Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, Art History, Print, Photo, Fibres and Intermedia/Cyberarts. In addition to the 14 artists showing in the FOFA Gallery and its Vitrines, another 9 artists are exhibiting their work in the VAV Gallery located in the Pavillon des beaux Arts Building on René Levesque Boulevard.

FOFA gallery

The large scale photographs of Léa Trudel use the disruption of scale and hierarchy as well as decontextualization as a strategy for new questioning and understanding.  Her images of various ruptures, wounds, or scars on various topographies, from human skin to earth surface, investigate the potential for a conceptual and formal relationship between art and the sciences. “The wound is the result of an action; the index of a process that is natural or manufactured, sudden or gradual. It displays itself in the form of a fissure, a fracture, a circumstantial meeting point of a site’s surface and its depth. It is a vital sign that has the potential for either further suffering or healing. This project attempts to look at the wound as a biological and geological phenomenon – essentially, a force of nature.”

Bella Klein/Daniel Paterson produce haunting images evocative of the material and alchemical nature of early photography through the use of a trailer converted into a pinhole camera.This process requires them to physically go inside the lens-less camera and fix the projected light they see onto photographic paper.”  They have traveled across the continent with this apparatus in tow, conjuring the memory of early traveling photographers when the process of fixing images was rare.  This method and its results produce an uncanny engagement with everyday people places and things.

Patrick Guilbeault wants his painting to convey a physical experience for viewers, conflating the traditional borders between figuration and abstraction and then bringing it into perception. His portraits suggest photography in their black and white surfaces conspiring to bring a being into focus while presenting the very stuff of paint. The richness of the oil paint and the large scale of the work furthers this visceral relationship.

Carly Belford’s abstract landscapes consider the valorization we humans attribute to the natural world.  She begins with iconic scenes like a secluded lake or majestic mounting and the deconstructs them only to rebuild them using colour, shape and texture. This careful handling adds to how the “paintings become more about the human relationship with the space more than the space itself.”

The decidedly out of focus images of Stephan Jahanshahi subvert the standard indexical role of photography.  In an attempt to conjure the connection to the land he had heard others describe, Jahashahi travelled to isolated spaces of repose and quiet.  Instead of  connection, his isolation was amplified and he felt lost.  These photographs then become documents of his response, not of the spaces themselves.

Dirty Hair by Sidney Cohen is an expanded drawing installation that uses stereotypical tropes for the feminine, such as flowers and the moon, to examine her own reticent development into adulthood.  At once celebratory and melancholic the colourful banners that unite the multiple figures in space appear to blow in the wind, suggesting a natural force will propel her.

Marzieh Rahmani shifts bookworks into sculptural form in the project, Archiving Memory. Assembled in a linear display, each book supports the next in a sort of spinal configuration. Their intention is thus shifted into the construction of a whole and each can no longer be opened for specific examination.   We can register the decal edges of the multiple pages and acknowledge the careful binding to bookboard but can never know what each holds beyond these external reveals.  Rahmani says, “To prepare the setting …., I start minimizing the imagery and maximizing the energy, moving away from the literal to the poetic, and getting rid of unnecessary things by destroying them or by multiplication of some patterns and adding new layers.  Here, the books act like layers in the construction of a digital image or a traditional print, expanding the medium Rahmani ordinarily inhabits into a decidedly material realm.

Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik offers a digital animation, Searching for Paradise, that through the use of sculptural and post production techniques, as well as formal considerations like scale, creates a kind of futuristic bio-dome.  The image and sound wash over us allowing an inquiry into the line between artifice and the sublime within material culture.

Sobremesa, is a video installation that explores cultural tradition and its role in forming our notions of family.  Sobremesa is a term that has no equivalent on English and refers to the Latin tradition of remaining at the table to linger over an evening meal.  Tracy Valcarcel Rodriguez literally sets a table for us, and projects  4 distinct narratives upon the individual plates.  Drawing from sources as disparate as historical film footage from Peru, her mother’s archives, her own montage, and that of a friend, she recreates the complex social space that is the family table.  We serve as participants as we are invited to sit at the table and take in the multiple voices.

Unfortunately, It was Paradise utilizes found-footage taken from Eastern European documentary films and newsreels shot in the 1970s and 1980s, to further explore questions of identity, belonging, and memory.  The mirrored projections into the corner of the gallery creates a reflexive narrative that does not so much tell a traditional story,  but mirrors  psychological states of contemplation and belonging.  Ralitsa Doncheva is originally from Bulgaria and her installations reflect her experience as an immigrant that has come to realize, “that it is only when one does not belong anywhere that one can truly belong everywhere.” The video projection in FOFA will be silent, though the work can be presented with sound which is by Robin Pineda Gould. 

The black box hosts another introspective projection, Like This. David Martineau-Lachance brings the poetry of Rumi to life in a contemporary investigation equally formal elegance and considered retelling. Rumi’s poetry is complex though finds its essence in the smallest details of everyday life, suggesting a potential for transcendence within the simplest of actions. Martineau-Lachance demonstrates his technical skills have the potential to do the same, synthesizing collage and traditional pastel drawing with digital interventions into a seamless and beautifully timed film. Musical composition and electroacoustics is done by Music department student Marco Liy. 

Appropriately, the Ste. Catherine Street storefront vitrine returns to the expansive practices of Selina Doroshenko.  Information Centre is an in situ performative installation where various lines, drawings and doodles are amplified into abstracted forms that alter the perceived boundaries of the vitrine space. Part workshop, part lab and part display room, the Information Centre will be developed on site and “predicates on the familiar language of the shop and exaggerates the dialogue of exchange between the material and physical participants.”  Using objects associated with mercantile practices like a neon sign, and maintaining opening hours of the artists presence, the artist will engage in a relationship with her viewers that is direct and lighthearted, but invested deeply in contemporary practices that question the role of the artist to audience and vice versa.

Completing the suite of works at the FOFA is Sunday/Dimanche by Carissa Carman.  She reimagines the sculpture courtyard with a mise-en-scène established by three unique objects that relate in an uneasy way:  a large wooden trailer houses a portable sauna, a wall mounted sign proffering bread, and hand woven chairs.  Together they offer a meditation on service, transformation, commerce, and leisure. This uncanny assemblage prompts us to reconsider the use of this semi-public space.

VAV gallery

The current work by Christina Brezina has been adapted specifically for the VAV Gallery space. Identifying her practice as primarily sculptural, Manufactured, begins on the floor and extends its reach to the gallery walls. Brezina uses the architectural details of the site as a reference for her installation, and here also draws in a new architecture; the viewer is then faced with a skewed perspective of the room. Brezina echos this trompe l’oeil with her materials – imitation marble tiles and Mak-Tak with a wood grain pattern. Reflecting on the perceived elitism inherent to traditional sculpture material, these faux finis surfaces artificially elevate her humble materials. Concerned with these politics, as well as architecture and urban development, Brezina considers Manufactured a study in the limitations of sculpture as well as a foray into installation work.

Amanda Durepos’ artistic practices investigation on the fragmentation introduced into our lives by the use of technology. In her grayscale collage she investigates this fragmentation by juxtaposing two portraits. These two representative personas amalgamate into one, in so doing she questions the effect of technology on our identity. In her own words, she describes Alter Ego as being “a comment of how technology defines our profiles and forces us to articulate an explicit and fixed image of oneself, something which is generally in constant flux’. The use of collage as a medium accentuates this attempt to negotiate the excess of visual information that we are bombarded with and the effect this has on our experience.

Mika Goodfriend’s staged photographs record the personal lives of Quebeçois retirees living abroad. The artist’s intention is to depict a sense of displacement through studying the environment and personal objects of others as means of understanding the subject’s tastes, lifestyle and history. Canadians are notoriously easily integrated into other places and cultures, and yet the subjects of this series have chosen to relocate their Québecois community intact to Florida. In describing the process of her work and her relationship to her subject the artist explains, “the intimate nature of my practice involves fostering a sharing of what [...] in order to build a mutual trust and respect that I believe is crucial to this type of work’. She likens herself to her subjects. The artist’s sense of being born into the Quebecois culture to which she feels disconnected has created a heightened awareness of her own identity.

Pier-Anne Mercier’s I was not quite sure I understood what was expected of me in a situation such as this one, is best described as a sculptural collage. Hybrid creatures, found holiday ephemera, paper sculptures and disfigured action figures compete for space on a commercial shelving unit covered with a fine layer of beige flocking. It is reminiscent of a primary school art display case – giving what is essentially ‘play’ a bit of prestige. Mercier describes her process as intuitive, and how her various materials themselves dictate the pace at which she can work. She gives here equal importance to both the process and the final piece, and likewise it is I was not quite sure...’s loose assemblage of both concepts and images that achieve a sculptural whole.

The work of Alexandre Nunes is a literal take on freezing time. Nunes has constructed a trolley whose function is to hold both a fridge and a slide projector. Found slides are then projected by Nunes, during the performance, onto an attached screen. Slides, now all but obsolete, are in and of themselves nostalgic. A commonality between the vintage snapshots is the depiction of ice in various forms. Not that this shared subject is easily observed – each slide has been frozen in a block of ice, obscuring the projected image. Frozen and blurred, the artist has captured memory in a visual and tangible manner. Poignant experiences are often fleeting, and our natural ability to capture them as memories proves unreliable. Memory, like ice, is slippery.

Adrienne Pratt is fascinated with the architecture of ancient buildings and their current cultural representation. In hazy, dream - like depictions of buildings she questions the solidity of ancient architecture, as well as its relevance in our contemporary environment. Working from her personal photographs, issues of safety and disaster are apparent in the paintings, and implied is the problematic of representing history through its buildings. History and the built environment are constantly in flux. Neither is certain, nor secure.

Most objects and materials we encounter during the day go unnoticed, perhaps justly so. If we made a point to carefully study every manufactured product that passes through our hands (coffee cups, newspapers, patterns on napkins..) we might experience something of a sensory overload; possibly even guilt, when faced with their subsequent quick disposal. Such unnoticed objects demand the attention of Ngoc-An Trinh. Seeing the quiet beauty of a plain piece of paper, she uses it here as both her material and her subject. In large scale prints the artist examines the functionality of paper, thus elevating the material from the mundane. Crumpled paper, however disposable, becomes a study of delicacy and detail. Trinh describes her own practice similarly without ornamentation: ‘my work is an experimental and intimate study of the simple object.’


Exhibiting artist, Carissa Carman, invites visitors to an Open House of the Portable Sauna that is part of her installation "Sunday/Dimanche" situated in the Ste-Catherine Street, Sculpture Garden Courtyard.

Open House Viewings:
June 18 – July 6
Monday – Friday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Additional Guided Information Tours:
Tuesday, June 26, 4–5 p.m.
Thursday, June 28, 4–5 p.m.

Private Tours:
Please contact the artist at

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