Anda Kubis, MFA
Associate Dean, Outreach and Innovation
Faculty of Art, OCAD University
Jana Macalik, MArch
Faculty of Design, OCAD University
Other Worlds. The title conjures up imaginary places, new psychological spaces, and supernatural beings.
Graciously hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Other Worlds is an intentional bringing together of the formal with an idiosyncratic and diverse representation of our OCAD University creative community. In this exhibition, you will encounter highly experimental artistic practices set within the ceremonial and historical context of the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite.
OCAD University embraces imagination in all its forms. Like the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, we observe and honour tradition. A vibrant part of the university’s history, in fact, is preserved at Queen’s Park, where paintings by George Reid, a former principal of the Ontario School of Art (as OCAD University was known a century ago), proliferate across the hallowed walls of the provincial legislature. Additionally, OCAD University’s special remit is to push boundaries, challenge culture, and critically question society’s modes of production. For 140 years, our institution has nurtured unbridled—and sometimes radical—creativity, which has helped shape culture and create prosperity in Ontario, Canada, and far beyond.
Other Worlds is hard evidence of the innovation, intelligence, and skill for which OCAD University stands. A conscious and spirited engagement with the present state of the world is the ethos running throughout all the pieces. Among the varied strategies the artists employ are humour, visual and perceptual play, and the unexpected use of materials.
Thematic cohesion, meanwhile, can be found through the artists’ individual interpretations of landscape and personal space, and by subtle commentary on personal identity. Expressions of culture, politics, and sustainability are deftly handled, while the sensual and even strange use of materials generates engagement, causing the viewer to take a second glance and question each artwork’s intention. In addition, a critical gaze is slyly present, displacing preconceived notions and easy interpretations. By the time you leave this exhibition, we are confident you will have been nudged to look a little deeper and to place yourself in the “other worlds” these artists have invented.
Despite our outward differences, both OCAD University and the Lieutenant Governor, as important Canadian institutions, stand for many convergent values, most notably those of diversity, democracy, and the sustainable protection of our environment. We play different roles in society, but our work impacts one another in that we both encourage education and the active participation—especially of young people—in democratic decision-making and governance.
As a group exhibition, Other Worlds is a wonderful learning experience for OCAD University graduates and their teachers. We are grateful to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor for hosting Other Worlds, and we know that all the participants will be thrilled by seeing their work in these marvellous rooms.