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Exibitions 2020

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Index of artists, authors and curators

| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z |

OPTICA Fonds (Concordia University Archives)

Guidebooks to help in consulting the archives

Electronic Reproduction Fees




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Claudia Bernal, Portraits performatifs / Retratos performativos, 2019, impression numérique, 121 x 200 cm. | Digital Print. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Claudia Bernal, Christine Brault, Constanza Camelo, Livia Daza-Paris, Maria Ezcurra, Helena Martin Franco, Giorgia Volpe
Commissaire | Curator | Curadora : Nuria Carton de Grammont

From January 18th 2020 to March 13th 2020
Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras

Opening: January 18,2020 3pm to 6pm
Performance from Christine Brault
ApareSer (AparÊtre), 2019-2020, January 18, 2020 at 4 pm, duration of 1 hour 30

Saturdays with the Family: January 25 and March 14, 2020
Curator Guided Tour: March 14,2020 3PM

This exhibition takes a collective look at pioneering female Latino Quebec performance artists in Montreal, from the 1980s to the present. The artists making up this exhibition have developed a cross-border practice by finding spaces of recognition and social connection between Canada and Latin America; in particular, they amplify existing relationships and affinities between the various latinate communities on the continent at the turn of the century.

A singularity marking their actions revolves around the poetics of displacement inherent to the experience of migration: they make visible the tensions between political violence and gender identity, colonialism and discrimination, the expectations and the demands of effective integration in the host society. Performance here represents a symbolic field of action for addressing stereotypes and folklorized identities. Whether present or absent, the body is the point of departure of an intersectional feminism that challenges hegemonic cultural ethnocentrism. Taken together, these varied, geographically dispersed gestures reconstitute both individual and collective memory of North-South diaspora history.

For Constanza Camelo, performative action maintains an intrinsic affinity with the notion of exile, which, inspired by Tzvetan Todorov’s L’homme dépaysé, she understands as “circumstantial displacements.” Beyond the the rupture, the displaced body can offer an opportunity for self-discovery while also providing the experience of encounter with others, which Camelo puts into action in her public interventions.

At the crossroads of theatre, literature, video, installation and performance, Claudia Bernal embodies the position of historically colonized and racialized women. The performance becomes the locus of reception for various forms of resistance permeated by power relationships and armed conflicts, notably in Colombia. In a postcolonial iconographic turn, her work proposes to disarticulate the prevailing narratives through the emancipation of the woman’s body.

For several years, Christine Brault has engaged in a cross-border performative practice that is materialized in the recognition and evocation of certain historical events associated with human rights violations, the subjugation of indigenous people, gender violence, and femicides. Through testimonies and lived experiences, her work becomes part of a broader reflection on the importance of memory as a social fact that must be circulated and shared to be activated.

Emerging from contemporary dance scene, Livia Daza-Paris has undertaken a vast research project that addresses an absence, in mourning and ritual, on the disappearance of her father Iván Daza, a student leader belonging to the communist brigades who was captured by the armed forces in Venezuela in the post-dictatorship context of the late 1960s. “Poetics Forensics” is a procedure for the collection and examination of lived experience, composed of personal and institutional archives and of testimonials that present an unofficial reality of the history of the Latin American diaspora, conveyed through various sources.

Giorgia Volpe’s research also feeds on memories, stories, and experiences that take on the breadth of collective ritual and participatory action. Waste, surplus, and refuse are the materials of an aesthetic that develops on contact and turns sensory exploration into an intercultural demand in contemporary society. Memory is here the organic consequence of the collective body.

Maria Ezcurra’s work tackles the violent tensions masked by social stereotypes of the body. The garment, second skin and emblem of identity, addresses the gender violence imposed by stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. Nylon tights, symbol of the modern liberated woman, soft and translucent material, serve to reflect on the contradictions of eroticism, mass production, and the femicides in Ciudad Juarez.

Chameleon-woman, spider-woman, and elephant-woman, b>Helena Martin Franco shatters conformist molds of identity and gender. Through her self-referential fictions, she puts different faces on the individual and collective vulnerability imposed by the migration experience. Popular culture, new technologies, religious practices, and capitalist hyper-consumerism mingle humourously in her self-fictions.

Beyond origins and nationalisms, Latino-Canadian art presents itself as a new, complex, and heterogeneous intercultural subjectivity that calls into question politically correct discourses on so-called “diversity.” However, little research has been conducted toward an understanding of these practices taken collectively, as a hemispheric movement as such, for instance, with its own aesthetic, semantic, and conceptual issues. In this context, this exhibition is intended as a historiographical endeavour to recognize the contribution of these practices to the development of contemporary art in Quebec, in Canada, and globally.

Translator: Ron Ross

PRESS RELEASE_FR_and_SPA_(pdf)

PRESS RELEASE_FR_and_ENG_(pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

BÉDARD, Camille. « Pour mes camarades et moi : Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras », Vies des arts, n° 258, Spring 2020, p. 165-168.

DELGADO, Jérôme. «Contes et combats latino-américains dans les galeries », Le Devoir, 11 janvier 2020.

Simone de Beauvoir Institute
4TH SPACE




Nuria Carton de Grammont is an art historian, curator and lecturer at Concordia University, specializing in contemporary Latin American and Latin Canadian art. She is particularly interested in the territorial production of cultural identities through cross-border artistic practices between Latin America and North America.




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Démonstration de sable coloré, 2020. Crédit photo : Claudia Goulet-Blais

Samedi ensemble en familles |
Saturday with the Family
From January 25th 2020 to March 14th 2020
Autour de l’exposition Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras

OPTICA invites you on Saturdays January 25 and March 14, 2020, to come and share with your family a short moment or a full afternoon of art and creation. In the company of the centre's educators, you will discover the exhibition Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras. Afterwards, you are inviting you to come and participate in a creative workshop on "sand art". Come experiment and create with coloured sand while being inspired by the exhibition.

Practical Information
January 25, 2020 - 1 pm to 4 pm
March 14, 2020 - 1 pm to 4 pm

The workshop is open to the whole family and will run continually. Feel free to join in at any time.

Free | No reservation required

For children aged 4 and older

For more information, please contact Sandrine Côté: mediation@optica.ca




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Maria Ezcurra
From February 29th 2020 to March 1st 2020
Nuit Blanche : DIY Épinglettes, porte-clés et masques avec Maria Ezcurra

As part of the Nuit Blanche 2020, OPTICA offers a series of activities!

Programme

6PM_Opening of the doors
Come and discover the Un, dos, tres por mí y mis compañeras exhibition, curated by Nuria Carton de Grammont, presenting the work of pioneer female Latino Quebec performance artists.

7PM - 8PM_In Latin America Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras refers to the Hide and Seek game. In a fun atmosphere, come play and create with artist Maria Ezcurra. The programming includes masks making workshop with recycled materials. Hot chocolate will also be served! The workshop is intended for age 4 to 14.

8PM - 9PM_Presentation by artist Maria Ezcurra. She will discuss her artwork Ni una más as part of the Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras exhibition. Using this specific installation as a starting point, she will also present a series of works made from pantyhose. In English with translation.

9PM - 1AM_Join us with your friends and family to create socially engaged pins and keychains from recycled plastic. Hot chocolate, tea and cookies will be served and you are invited to create for as long as you wish until 1:00 am!

nuitblanche


Born in Argentina, Maria Ezcurra was raised in Mexico. Having studied Visual Arts at the National School of Fine Arts (ENAP) in Mexico, she pursued graduate studies at the Chelsea College of Art & Design (London, UK) and at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2010 she moved to Montreal, where she concluded a PhD in Art Education at Concordia University. A recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Award and the Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship, Maria Ezcurra is also a member of the National System of Art Creators (SNCA) in Mexico. She has participated in more than sixty group and fifteen individual exhibits in Europe, Australia, Latin and North America. She has taught art in a number of universities and schools in Mexico and Canada over the past fifteen, and was the first Artists-in-Residence working at the Faculty of Education, in McGill University. Currently, Ezcurra lives between Mexico City and Montreal.





Helena Martin Franco
Artiste à l'école
From March 1st 2020 to May 30th 2020

This winter, a group of Secondary 4th, students from Le Vitrail, an alternative school located in Rosemont La-Petite-Patrie, will participate in a series of creative workshops with artist Helena Martin Franco as part of the Artist at school.

Over the weeks, the youngsters will explore the fictional possibilities of the performance thanks to an alter ego that they will create while being inspired by the singular character of Fritta Caro. After some exercises suggested by the artist to familiarize themselves with the performative medium, the students will design and carry out performative actions which they will document using their mobile phone.




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Image trouvée dans l'Internet | Found image in the Internet.

Sayak Valencia
From March 12th 2020 to March 12th 2020
Conférence : The Body and Violence as Mass Media Language in Gore Capitalism

A lo largo de esta presentación, Sayak Valencia definirá el capitalismo gore y hablará de cómo se convierte en política snuff en las regiones fronterizas. Utilizará ejemplos de la manera en que los dispositivos audiovisuales y las redes sociales virtuales desafían y remodelan el régimen de la verdad, produciendo una subjetividad biohipermediatizada. De igual manera, examinará las formas en que el cuerpo contemporáneo se ha convertido en una plataforma para la producción de un nuevo lugar común difundido por los medios de comunicación, lo cual provoca cambios marcados en la subjetividad. Valencia analizará las tendencias, las modas, las apropiaciones culturales y corporales que se vuelven virales y que se cristalizan en cuerpos diversos, demostrando al mismo tiempo la influencia de las redes virtuales en la construcción del mundo material.

Este evento ha sido organizado por 4TH SPACE y se presenta en colaboración con OPTICA Centre d'Art Contemporain, en el marco de la exposición Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras
comisionada por Nuria Carton de Grammont
 en conjunto con el Instituto Simone de Beauvoir y el Acts of Listening Lab.



During this presentation, Sayak Valencia will discuss what Gore Capitalism is and how it becomes Snuff politics in the borderlands. She will use examples of the ways that audiovisual devices and virtual social networks challenge and reshape the regime of truth, producing a bio-hyper-mediated subjectivity. She will also consider the ways that the contemporary body has become a platform for the production of a new media-disseminated common sense, leading to marked changes in subjectivity. Valencia will analyze trends, fashions, cultural appropriations, and corporeal appropriations that go viral and crystallize in diverse bodies and demonstrate the influence of virtual networks in the construction of the material world.

Organised by OPTICA and 4TH SPACE in partenarship with l'Institut Simone de Beauvoir

The communication will be lead in English. A question and answer session will be held in Spanish and English.

Practical Informations

March 12, 2020_4 to 6 PM
Concordia University, 4TH SPACE, J.W. McConnell Building
1400 Boulevard de Maisonneuve West, SGW campus
LB 103

Free Admission

In partnership with Dr Luis Carlos Sotelo Castro,
Canada Research Chair in Oral History Performance,
Director Acts of Listening Lab, Concordia University


PRESS RELEASE_ESP_and_ANG_(pdf)

fourspace


PRESS REVIEW

Broadcast
Esther Bourdages (OPTICA) interviewed by Juan-Carlos Quintana, show: Listening To Latin Ameri- ca, March 6, 2020, Montreal, CKUT radio, 90.3 FM, www.ckut.ca



Sayak Valencia (Tijuana, Mexico) is currently Professor and Researcher at the Department of Cultural Studies of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a CONACYT research center. She has a doctorate in feminist criticism, theory and philosophy from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She is a poet, essayist and performance artist. She has studied with Judith Butler, Judith Halberstam, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Beatriz Preciado and Montserrat Galcerán Huguet. She has given lectures and seminars on gore capitalism, transfeminisms, Chicano feminism, postcolonial feminism, art and queer theory in various universities in Europe, Latin America and the United States. She has published the books: Gore Capitalism (Semiotext(e) /MIT, 2018), Capitalismo Gore (Paidós, 2016 and Melusina, 2010), Adrift's Book (Aristas Martínez, 2012), El reverso exacto del texto (Centaurea Nigra Ediciones, 2007), as well as diverse academic articles, essays and poems in magazines of Spain, Germany, France, Poland, Mexico, Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, and the United States of America.




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Crédit photographique | Credit : Arcpixel


Nuria Carton de Grammont
From March 14th 2020 to March 14th 2020
***ANNULATION***Visite commentée de la commissaire, 15h - 16h

As part of the exhibition Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras, there will be a guided tour by the curator of the exhibition Nuria Carton de Grammont.

Please note that the communication will be in French. Translation into English and Spanish available.

Welcome Everybody!

The curator will address issues concerning the practice of pioneering Latin-Quebec performance artists active in Montreal gathered in this exhibition. They ″make visible the tensions between political violence and gender identity, colonialism and discrimination, the expectations and the demands of effective integration in the host society. Performance here represents a symbolic field of action for addressing stereotypes and folklorized identities.”
N. Carton de Grammont





From March 15th 2020 to March 15th 2020
**IMPORTANTE_Mise à jour**

In the current context, regarding COVID-19, we are following the recommendations of Santé publique du Québec. In order to protect our visitors and our team, OPTICA is close until further notice. We will keep you informed through the social medias.

We regret to interrupt the exhibition Un dos tres por mí y mis y compañeras. Thank you to the artists, the curator and all the visitors.

The OPTICA Team





Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras
From April 7th 2020 to June 7th 2020
Post exposition, entretien audio sur fond de visite commentée avec la commissaire Nuria Carton de Grammont / en français et en espagnol

As part of the COVID 19 pandemic, OPTICA had to unexpectedly interrupt the exhibition Un dos tres por mí y mis compañeras which had started on January 18, 2020. In order to compensate for the cancellation of the commented visit, which was to take place on March 14, 2020, OPTICA offers you the fruit of an interview that took place on April 7, 2020 with curator Nuria Carton de Grammont. During this sound recording, the latter deals with the major themes that unite the works of the artists exhibited.

Discussion in French:_here_the_audio_link.

Discussion in Spanish:_here_the_audio_link.





Médiation culturelle_Spécial confinement 2020
Cultural mediation_Special
From April 10th 2020 to April 24th 2020
COLLE, PAPIER, CISEAUX : ateliers de création à réaliser dans son salon; chapitre 1 : COMMENT FAIRE TA PÂTE À MODELER MAISON

OPTICA launches GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS, a series of creative workshops that you can do in the comfort of your own living room. Follow us on Instagram @optica_mediation to keep busy with your kids! From keychains and pins, shadow theatre to homemade playdough, we will be posting simple art activities that you can do during this period of isolation.

This week, we have a simple and easy recipe for homemade playdough that we want to share with you. It can easily be made from ingredients you already have at home or that you can purchase at a nearby grocery store. Feel free to share photos of your creations with us; we'd love to see them!





Médiation culturelle_Spécial confinement 2020
Cultural mediation_Special
From April 24th 2020 to May 6th 2020
COLLE, PAPIER, CISEAUX : ateliers de création à réaliser dans son salon; chapitre 2 : THÉÂTRE D'OMBRE

OPTICA recently launched GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS, a series of creative workshops to be carried out in its living room. Keychains and badges, shadow theater, homemade playdough, follow us on Instagram @optica_mediation to discover ideas for artistic activities to do easily at home during this period of isolation.

How to make your homemade shadow theatre.
Materials: cardboard, pencil, scissors, sticks, tape, sheet (optional), lamp

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1
Create a few silhouettes on recycled cardboard (ex. cereal box). Draw silhouettes from imagination, trace the outline of a found object or simply copy a printed image of your choice.

Step 2
Carefully cut out your silhouettes and attach a stick to them with duct tape. Use what you have on hand: wooden skewers, straws, coffee or popsicle sticks or simply pencils.

Step 3
To create your theatre, hang a sheet, a piece of fabric or a large paper sheet in a chosen space in your home. One option can be to use the backs of two chairs and attach a connecting rope on them. You could also use the space under a table or even a door frame. If the space is lacking, projecting the shadow on a wall will do just as well.

Step 4
In the dark, place a lamp behind your screen. Note that a mobile phone lamp or a bike lamp works really well. Complete your theatre by using different objects/toys to create a set.





Médiation culturelle_Spécial confinement 2020
Cultural mediation_Special
From May 5th 2020 to May 12th 2020
COLLE, PAPIER, CISEAUX : ateliers de création à réaliser dans son salon; chapitre 3 : PORTE-CLÉS MAISON

OPTICA recently launched GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS, a series of creative workshops to be carried out in its living room. Keychains and badges, shadow theater, homemade playdough, follow us on Instagram @optica_mediation to discover ideas for artistic activities to do easily at home during this period of isolation. We invite you to follow the different workshops, the instructions are included in the text. Send us your photos resulting of the workshops by Instagram, we will publish them !!

How to make your homemade Shrinky Dinks DIY keychains.
Materials: permanent crayons (ex. Sharpies),scissors, recycled #6 plastic, small pliers, aluminium paper, hole punch, baking sheet, oven.

*look for the #6 stamp on the bottom of plastic food containers (ex. sushi, croissant containers) **if you do not find #6 plastic you can buy shrinkable plastic online or at an arts and craft store.

Step 1
a. Draw a design on a piece of paper or print one that you find online about 3 times the size of the desired final result for the keychain. Once you are happy with your design, trace it with a permanent marker on a piece of #6 plastic and color it in with colored permanent markers.

2. Step 2
a. Cut around your design with scissors and then punch a hole near the edge where you would like to attach the keychain.

3. Step 3
a. Place your plastic cut-out on a cookie sheet that is lined with a piece of aluminum paper and bake in the oven (preheated at 300 degrees Fahrenheit).

b. Cooking time is usually 2 to 3 minutes. You will see the plastic curl up and then once it flattens out again completely it is then ready to be taken out of the oven.

4. Step 4
a. Attach the keychain loop with the help of pliers

* You can also attach a pin or a magnet instead of a keychain loop depending on what you want to make with your Shrinky Dink creation.





Maria Ezcurra
From May 7th 2020 to May 14th 2020
Cómo hacer una máscara (con telas recicladas)_Comment faire un masque à partir de matériaux recyclés

GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS is a series of step-by-step creative workshops that can be done in the comfort of your living room. Follow us on Instagram @optica_mediation to discover creative art activities that can easily be done with the family at home during this time of isolation. We invite you to share photos of your creations with us and we will present them in a virtual exhibition!

COLLE, PAPIER, CISEAUX
Cómo hacer una máscara (con telas recicladas)

Esta semana haremos máscaras con materiales reciclados en un taller diseñado por la artista María Ezcurra. La actividad será en español y la traducción al inglés y al francés estará disponible en el pie de foto de Instagram.

¡Envíenos sus fotos del trabajo realizado en los talleres de Instagram para publicarlas!

Instagram @optica_mediation_Cómo hacer una máscara (con telas recicladas)

How to make a mask from recycled materials
Workshop by artist Maria Ezcurra

This week, we are inviting you to create playful masks made from recycled materials with a workshop designed by artist Maria Ezcurra. Please note that the workshop is in Spanish and that an English and French translation will be available on the Instagram post caption.





From May 27th 2020 to June 3rd 2020
COLLE, PAPIER, CISEAUX : ateliers de création à réaliser dans son salon; chapitre 4 : CABANE D'OISEAUX À PARTIR D'UNE BOUTEILLE DE PLASTIQUE

OPTICA recently launched GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS, a series of creative workshops to be carried out in its living room. Keychains and badges, shadow theater, homemade playdough, follow us on Instagram @optica_mediation to discover ideas for artistic activities to do easily at home during this period of isolation. Image: Sandrine Côté et Claudia Goulet-Blais


We invite you to follow the different workshops, the instructions are included in the text. Send us your photos resulting of the workshops by Instagram, we will publish them !!

Material: plastic bottle (500 ml to 2L), scissors, hammer and nail, wire or string paint and paintbrush, gesso or primer, glue, bird seeds

Step 1_Find a 500 ml to 2L plastic bottle in the recycling bin. Cover the bottle with two layers of gesso (primer). This will allow the paint to adhere better to the plastic structure afterwards. Once the gesso has dried, cut the bottle into two or three parts widthwise. The part with the cap will become the roof of the birdhouse and the part with the closed bottom will become the house structure. Don’t forget to draw and cut a door to the birdhouse as well.

Step 2_Now you can paint and decorate your birdhouse as you wish. We suggest you start with one color and apply it as a base coat. Once dry you can use a smaller paintbrush and add little details, for example flowers as seen in the image above.

Step 3_You can also decorate your birdhouse by glueing paper cutouts, beads, pom poms, buttons, etc. In the example, we made flowers and leaves motifs on paper using the leftover paint. Glue your decorations with a hot glue gun or any liquid glue made for plastic surfaces (with the help from an adult).

Step 4_Again, with the help of an adult make two small holes in the bottle cap using a nail and hammer. Then use wire or string to make a loop, which you can then use to hang your shed. You are now ready to go outside and hang your birdhouse in a tree. Don’t forget to add some bird seeds in the opening of your birdhouse to feed the birds, or add some small twigs to help them make their nest.





From June 21st 2020 to August 11th 2020
Solidarité

OPTICA wishes to express its solidarity to the Afro-descending community and to all those who experience racism on a daily basis. We also denounce all forms of police brutality. Cultural organizations, by their very mandate, are likely to play a key role in interpreting the struggle against racism, for they are bearers of and witnesses to a collective conscience. Through art, they have the capacity to raise and stimulate public awareness around values and principles, since the works not only convey ideas, but open up avenues for reflection. For millennia, art has helped to better understand the world arising before us.


 Over the next season, OPTICA will propose moments of dialogue and exchange on the themes of migration, vulnerability, surveillance, and regulated public space. The program of exhibitions and of critical and educational activities will highlight a multiplicity of perspectives in view of rethinking the art system and its privileges. These initiatives will focus, among other things, on listening, empathy, and one’s rapport with the other. OPTICA recognizes the importance of taking a critical, introspective look at its programming mandate, identifying and actualizing social and identity issues while maintaining a respect for communities.





From June 21st 2020 to August 11th 2020
COLLE, PAPIER, CISEAUX : ateliers de création à réaliser dans son salon; chapitre 5 : COMMENT FAIRE TON CARNET DE PORTRAITS POUR L'ÉTÉ

OPTICA is presenting you with a last creative workshop to be completed before the summer as part of the GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS series launched last March. With this workshop, you will be guided through the creation of a small booklet in which you can have fun sketching portraits at a distance of 2 meters or virtually of your family, friends and people in your neighborhood. You’ll also be able to document your best moments of the summer in this personalized booklet. Two versions of the sketchbook are presented to you with this workshop where you can discover different simple bookbinding techniques: an accordion fold technique and a stitching technique.

Follow us on Instagram @optica_mediation to keep busy with your kids and discover our visual step-by-step sketchbook workshop. You can also discover other ideas for art activities to do with the family this summer on our Instagram page. Please note that the English instructions can be found in the caption of the GLUE, PAPER, SCISSORS publications.

Send us photos of your sketchbooks and also of the portraits you’ve done by Instagram direct message, by e-mail or even by using the #opticacollepapierciseaux hashtag and we will publish them on our Instagram page.




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Sandra Brewster, Untitled (Blur), 2017 – 2019.
Détail, photographie transférée sur papier archive à l’aide d’un gel acrylique, 96 photographies,
25, 4 x 17,78 cm.
Avec l’aimable permission de Sandra Brewster et Georgia Scherman Projects. |
Untitled (Blur), 2017 - 2019. Detail, Photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 96 photographs,
25, 4 x 17,78 cm.
Courtesy Sandra Brewster and Georgia Scherman Projects

Sandra Brewster
From October 3rd 2020 to December 12th 2020
Entretien audio et vidéo en préparation de l'exposition solo de la torontoise Sandra Brewster

The latest solo exhibition of Sandra Brewster, Blur, was on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario until March 14, when the museum closed to the public. The exhibition has since been confined within the gallery walls. From October 3, OPTICA will present in its two gallery spaces a monographic exhibition of Sandra Brewster which will include this recent series, Blur (2017-2019) as well as other series.

In order to offer a taste of this exhibition, OPTICA met virtually to discuss with the artist on May 5, part of a video recording. Through her photographs, she adresses the reactivation of individual and collective memories that are part of narratives of Black culture. She also discussed about the concept behind her photographic transfer technique photo-based gel transfers on paper.

Please note that the communication takes place in English.

Discussion in English: video link.

Discussion in English: audio link.



Sandra Brewster is a visual artist based in Toronto. Her work explores identity, representation and memory, centring Black presence. The daughter of Guyanese born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with back home.

Brewster’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Art Gallery of Guelph, Or Gallery in Vancouver, YYZ Artists’ Outlet and A Space Gallery in Toronto and in group exhibitions including Mamuzic Gallery, Novi Sad, Serbia, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Arsenal Habana in Cuba, Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria, Musée des beaux arts in Montreal, Art Gallery of Windsor, and Allegheny Art Galleries in Meadville, Pennsylvania, United-States. Brewster’s exhibition It's all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize for outstanding featured exhibition of CONTACT Photography Festival 2017 in Toronto. She is the 2018 recipient of the Artist Prize from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and is a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Brewster holds a Masters of Visual Studies from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.





From October 3rd 2020 to December 12th 2020
Réouverture d'OPTICA et mesures sanitaires

We are pleased to announce that OPTICA has reopened its gallery for regular activities!
Starting October 3, 2020, OPTICA is presenting a monographic exhibition by artist Sandra Brewster (Toronto).
In the wake of current events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, OPTICA is following Québec public health guidelines and implementing measures to protect both our visitors and our staff.

We ask that you respect the following rules:

- reservations are mandatory for exhibition visits, use this form;

Unannounced visits may be accepted, depending on the number of visitors in the gallery spaces. We can accommodate a maximum of 10 people at a time.

- masks or other face covering are mandatory throughout the visit;
- hands must be disinfected upon arrival: hydroalcoholic gel is available on site;
- 2-meter distancing must be maintained between each person to facilitate circulation during your visit.

If you have COVID-19-related symptoms, please postpone your visit.

Welcome one and all!




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Art pour emporter. | Art to takeout. Crédit : Sandrine Côté.

Activité reportée_Art pour emporter ! / Postponed activity_Art To Takeout!
From October 6th 2020 to October 24th 2020
Journées de la culture 2020

Come to take out your kit from October 29!

For the Journées de la culture, OPTICA offers Art to takeout, a free creative kit to experiment from home. The Creative Kit allows young audiences to learn more about the artistic practice of Sandra Brewster, an artist from Toronto whose works will be exhibited at OPTICA this fall. Inspired by the Blur photographic series, the kit provides an introduction to the based gel transfer technique the artist uses in many of her works. On the menu: the equipment necessary for carrying out their own gel transfer, a virtual tutorial to guide participants through the various stages of carrying out the transfer, practical information and small fun activities.

Quantities are limited. Please reserve your kit at mediation@optica.ca and schedule a time to pick it up.

Also, you can book a kit through this form.

jdelaculture2020



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Sandra Brewster, Untitled (Blur), 2017 – 2019.
Détail, photographie transférée sur papier archive à l’aide d’un gel acrylique, 96 photographies,
25,4 x 17,78 cm.
Avec l’aimable permission de Sandra Brewster et Georgia Scherman Projects. |
Untitled (Blur), 2017 - 2019. Detail, Photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 96 photographes,
25,4 x 17,78 cm.
Courtesy Sandra Brewster and Georgia Scherman Projects

Sandra Brewster
From October 29th 2020 to December 12th 2020
Works from series:
Smith
Blur

Video:
Walk on by


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The Potential of Movement

Sandra Brewster has exhibited widely across Canada and the US, including a recent solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has also featured in group exhibits, such as What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic, the first diasporic Guyanese art exhibit, Un|Fixed Homeland, as well as in exhibits in the Caribbean and across the African continent – Lagos, Addis Ababa, and Cape Town. Her practice visualizes the Black diaspora, at home and abroad.

Sandra Brewster’s solo exhibit at OPTICA brings together images from Blur, its accompanying video installation Walk on by, as well as the Untitled Smith, work created over a span of eight years (2011-2019). While all these works build on the artist’s long-standing interest in portraiture, what brings these images together is a contestation of the polarized view of Blackness as either hyper-visible or disappeared.

Blur plays with the traditional notion of head and shoulder portraits; it is a series of photo-based gel transfers of Black individuals including self-portraits of the artist, whose head, hair, and body, are all captured mid-movement. Blur is the Black body in motion, both collectively and individually. The kinetic energy of the images suggests what you might miss in a blink of an eye -- a liveliness or restless motion beneath the surface.

For Brewster, born in Toronto to parents from the Caribbean, movement is many things. In these continuing times of anti-Black racist violence, movement demands we remember that change begins with political movements. The aesthetics of movement is also another way to think about migration, not as a fixed goal, but as a landing without destination (Brand, 2002). There is a potential to move forward, to return, to live in the “black and blur” between (Moten 2017), as an opening to other places. Take Kumina, a religious practice of Congolese origin practiced in Jamaica, where djembe drumbeats guide the dancers’ energetic and rhythmic motions. Miss Queenie, interviewed by scholar Maureen Warner-Lewis (1977), describes spirit possession in Kumina: “…is de ting dey call a spirit where you head ‘pin roun’ an’ you pupalick ‘pon you neck.” [Translation: is the thing they call a spirit where your head spins around and your neck does a somersault]. The kinaesthesia of Kumina is a re-orientation of the body. The spiritual possession of Kumina invoked in a ‘somersault of the neck’ suggests the power of inversions. These rapid movements and embodied connections to elsewhere are the product of diaspora and creolization. In the Caribbean, where cultures interact and – despite historical relations of dominance and subordination – potentially turn power relations upside down, orients us to the possibilities of something new. The submerged has the power to become subversive, as these gestural portraits suggests.

Similarly, the soft blurriness and timeless quality of Walk on by (recorded on a Super 8 Camera), of Black citizens simply walking in the everydayness of Toronto, implies not a recent arrival but long histories of presence that nonetheless require a navigation of invisible societal dynamics that shape movement and freedom.

Like Blur, The Smiths draws on the power of repetition. In the days of phone books, the last name Smith would be repeated in long columns, conjuring as Brewster states “sameness and invisibility.” In Untitled Smiths (Cold), multiples of Afro-silhouetted heads without faces, appear in a grid with the occasional pops of colour in clothing. In Untitled (Plain Black), the Smith characters become monotone, with white Afros and clothing, almost as if a photo negative image. Over top these white Smiths are two detailed images of young men in sports and hip hop inspired clothing from the 1980s, drawing on Brewster’s earlier portrait series Little Boy as well as Brewster’s concern for how young Black men are imaged in society. In Untitled (Whiteout), the Smiths are barely perceptible, almost completely whitewashed into the background. What are the disturbances in the embodied worlds of the Smiths (in North America) that requires Blackness to be assertive or to fade away?

Although Brewster’s art practice is grounded in the experiences of the Black diaspora, her work asks us all to interpret our own (perhaps insurgent) relations to other worlds, in the spirit and in the flesh.

Author: Nalini Mohabir

Nalini Mohabir is Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Geographies at Concordia University.

We would like to thank Georgia Scherman from Georgia Scherman Projects and Dr. Kenneth Montague from Ken Montague / The Wedge Collection.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)



PRESS REVIEW



Sandra Brewster is a visual artist based in Toronto. Her work explores identity, representation and memory, centring Black presence. The daughter of Guyanese born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with back home.

Brewster’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Art Gallery of Guelph, Or Gallery in Vancouver, YYZ Artists’ Outlet and A Space Gallery in Toronto and in group exhibitions including Mamuzic Gallery, Novi Sad, Serbia, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Arsenal Habana in Cuba, Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria, Musée des beaux arts in Montreal, Art Gallery of Windsor, and Allegheny Art Galleries in Meadville, Pennsylvania, United-States. Brewster’s exhibition It's all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize for outstanding featured exhibition of CONTACT Photography Festival 2017 in Toronto. She is the 2018 recipient of the Artist Prize from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and is a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Brewster holds a Masters of Visual Studies from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.