Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Geometry of Knowing Exhibition - in four parts

Simon Fraser University
Academic Quadrangle 3004
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6

Audain Gallery
SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC, V6B 1H4

Geometry of Knowing is a group exhibition that investigates approaches to the acquisition of knowledge in the full mind-body-spirit sense of intelligence. Organized in four parts and presented across two galleries located in a post-secondary pedagogical institution, the project investigates the way in which artists engage tactics of fieldwork, embodiment and materiality in a manner that reveals or instigates processes of knowing. In this moment of increasing standardization and specialization regarding how people learn, art is a space for innovative thinking and experimentation outside given frameworks. 

Many works in the exhibition engage hybrid forms of fieldwork, borrowing methodologies and tools from anthropology, hunting, marine navigation, chemistry, herbology and horticulture. For example, Kika Thorne's new sculptural work, The Question of a Hunch, extends her ongoing interests in geometry, the visible spectrum and magnetism as a field upon which to project questions regarding chemical composition and its political ramifications. 

Knowing through embodiment calls into play the geometry of sense perception, communication and collaboration between artists and physical enactments. For example, Carole Itter's 1979 photographic series, "Euclid," documents musician Al Neil tracing Euclidean geometric theorems in the sand in North Vancouver. These images were projected as part of a collaborative live performance with Neil on piano, used on Neil's Boot & Fog album cover, as well as existing as photographic works in their own right. 

Manipulating materials, forms and images is a fundamental aspect of artistic production and transfigures how we experience, interpret and know the world. Camille Henrot's 2011 video, The Strife of Love in a Dream, for example, composes a visual atlas of strategies to conquer anxiety and fear through mythology, medicine, religion, art, ritual and tourism.

At SFU Galleries, we understand the university as a site of knowledge production, dissemination and acquisition. Its architecture is spatial and social, formalizing communal inquiry, contemplation, critique and invention. Situated in this architecture, the exhibition imagines the open geometry of the gallery as a context to re-examine how the visual and material languages of contemporary art generate experiential, emotional, physical, environmental and intuitive intelligence. Geometry of Knowing explores emerging and reclaimed forms of knowledge as tools to frame how artists consider ways of witnessing, being with, querying and generating.

The exhibition includes work by over 30 Canadian and international artists across the first three parts, including works from the SFU Art Collection. The fourth component is constituted as an SFU School for Contemporary Arts visual arts course in which students respond to the exhibition's theme through archival research.

Curated by Amy Kazymerchyk and Melanie O'Brian. Supported by a Project Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Field Notes Book inspired by The Nature of Nature Workshop

Inspired by the words of participants at our The Nature of Nature Workshop, November 2014, we have completed an artist's book addressing regeneration through seed, root and sprout imagery created by camera-less chemical processes. 
Field Notes - three panel artists' book - completed 2015

Click here to view the images and manuscript in the codex iteration.

In developing the series Natural History, our photographic
research led us through botanical taxonomy, intuition,
chemistry, mythology, history, and personal narratives. This
process of aggregating information inspired an examination
of the nature of collecting knowledge. How do the processes
and practices of knowing occur and change over time? What
is lost, and what is reclaimed? How does wisdom evolve? Is
knowledge a collective endeavor or a solitary path?

The Stella Collective exhibition at the Ukrainian Institute of
Modern Art, The Nature of a Collective, gave us an opportunity
to explore these questions. In November 2014, we invited
guests to a botanically themed workshop to observe plants,
consider the process of regeneration, and respond in quick,
collaborative writing exercises. With the assistance of writer,
Anja Notanja Seiger, participants elaborated upon the forces
found within the plant world and our connections to
these forces.

We framed the collective wisdom cultivated in these
exercises with photographic images made in response
to the workshop writing. These volumes are an exercise in
regeneration – sowing seeds and watching how they grow –
connecting the many paths of how we come to know.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Natural History Portfolio - Finished!

With the help of Chicago bookmakers,  Julie Nagy and Trish Hammer, we have finished our first of four portfolios of Natural History embracing the herbarium metaphor


Botany and the Feminization of Photography - Katherina Steidl

Katharine Steidl’s article discussing early photography as botanical illustration addresess the technical accuracy of “contact printing” and it’s increasing popularity during the seaweed and fern-crazed 1830’s. 

During the Victorian Era, many women involved themselves in the study of natural history and embraced all aspects of botanical science, including documentation of specimens — what Steidl describes as the feminization of  photography. This afforded women a specific role in the scientific community.  The practice of contact-printed photographs used as scientific illustration fell out of favor when objects could be photographed with more dimensionality using a camera with lens.  By 1839, cameraless photography began to be viewed, like scrapbooking, as a women's hobby -- a technique for passing time, capturing trivial subject matter for amusement.

Discovered: Botanical Ideas at Yale Center for British Art

“Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower” highlighted the scientific pursuits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that resulted in the collecting and cataloging of the natural world, and that informed the aesthetically oriented activities of the self-taught naturalists of the Victorian era, particularly those of women who collected and drew specimens of butterflies, ferns, grasses, feathers, seaweed, and shells, and assembled them into albums and commonplace books.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Natural History featured in FLOAT Magazine

A beautiful publication. Thanks to Dana Stirling and Yoav Friedl√§nder for featuring 
both Natural History and Processed Views in Float Photo Magazine

Natural History - PhotoNOLA Review Prize

There was a wealth of outstanding work at this year's PhotoNOLA Reviews, Barbara enjoyed the intellectual and photographic camaraderie as well as culinary indulgence! She wasn't fully aware of the Review prize, so imagine our surprise at this fabulous information. The winners have been announced:
Eliot Dudik received the most votes, earning the PhotoNOLA Review Prize. 2nd Place winners, Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, and 3rd Place winner, Susan Kae Grant, are recognized with image galleries on the PhotoNOLA website. In addition, all will be highlighted in a LensCulture feature article & social media.
Congratulations to all! And thank you to each of the seventy photographers who shared their work in our portfolio reviews this year.
Mary Ann S - Sweet Woodruff from Natural History

ABOUT  PhotoNOLA’s Portfolio Review program offers photographers the chance to present their work to influential members of the photographic community. One-on-one twenty-minute meetings with gallery owners, editors, publishers and museum curators from throughout the U.S. provide photographers with networking opportunities, critical advice, and guidance for bringing their work to a larger audience.
At the end of the weekend, reviewers rank their favorite portfolios. The photographer earning the most votes is awarded the PhotoNOLA Review Prize, which includes a solo exhibition at the New Orleans Photo Alliance gallery the following December, a $1000 cash prize, and a marketing consultation with Mary Virginia Swanson. Second and third place winners are recognized on the PhotoNOLA website
PhotoNOLA 2014

Stella: The Nature of A Collective - The Nature of Nature Workshop

The Nature of Nature: An Afternoon Repast of Botany and Memory
Sunday, 2 November 2014  2pm - 4pm 

A botanically themed workshop combining an artists' talk by exhibiting artists Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, herbal refreshments, and participatory poetry writing led by poet Anja Notanja Sieger (Limited to 25 participants.)
Anja Notanja Sieger discusses sprouts with participants

Lauren Deutsch's memory stimulated with rosemary infused cookie 

Christine DiThomas discusses the Elders

Welcoming and helping tasked to Helene Fischmann, right

Barbara discusses Natural History  project with participants

Workshop participants discuss their responses
Chicago Artists Month Workshop

Nature, botany and memory coalesce

Stella: The Nature of a Collective Exhibition - Chicago Artists' Month

installation view at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

The Stella Collective includes 13 artists, 
2 of whom work as a collaborative team.

Stella: The Nature of a Collective features work by 12 artists in a variety of media originating in photography. The exhibition is organized around joint issues of the collective and the natural world. In conjunction with the exhibition, the collective plans two lively events inviting a diversity of women to partake in physical and intellectual nourishment based on exhibition themes. Stella formed in 2008 as a monthly critique group and has a rich history of mutual support and creative challenge. Presented in cooperation with the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) in Chicago's Ukrainian Village.
Stella: The Nature of a Collective will be part of Chicago Artists Month with a group show at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, opening October 3, 6-9pm. — with Christine DiThomas, Barbara Ciurej, Aimee Beaubien, Jean Sousa, Alice Hargrave, Suzette Bross Bulley, Lindsay Lochman, Peggy Wright, Kate Joyce, Patty Carroll, Mayumi Lake, Liz Chilsen and Mary Farmilant.
ChicagoArtist's Month Activity - Women and Ideas

Exhibition Opening Celebration - Aimee Beaubien and Alice Hargrave

Monday, January 26, 2015

Artemisia After Forty Exhibition

Artemisia after 40: Current work by past members
Bridgeport Art Center
1200 West 35th Street - Chicago
2 May - 13 June 2014
opening reception 2 May  6-9pm
closing reception  13 June  6-9pm

Artemisia after 40: current work by past members is a showcase of work by artists who were members of the women’s cooperative Artemisia Gallery. From 1973 until closing in 2003, Artemisia played an essential role in supporting and nurturing the careers of over 150 women artist members, their mentees and exhibiting guest artists, who made their mark on the Chicago art scene and beyond. Join us to celebrate the legacy of this influential and groundbreaking women’s cooperative 40 years after its founding.  

Barbara congratulates another past-President and Exhibition organizer, Fern Schaeffer

l-r                 , Joan Fitzsimmons, Michelle Stone, Barbara Ciurej