The Garden is part of a larger body of work called Eco Residency, in which Alejandro A. Rebollar Heres encourages the viewer to envision an imaginary space. This imaginary space is parallel to, and accessible from, our joint, real-world space. Eco Residency is inspired by the natural world’s abundance and creativity. It envisions an environment where humans are able to connect with nature and learn from its infinite wisdom. The Garden tries to envision not only the physical space of Eco Residency, but also its abstract, nonmaterialist dimension. In this work, preconceived notions of reality are challenged and the imagination is emancipated.
The imaginary world represented through Eco Residency is not intended to trap visitors in its parallel space—travel between the two realms is actively encouraged. The hope is that this movement between the worlds will enable discovery of once-hidden layers of consciousness and spirituality, leaving a lasting impression on travellers’ psyches.
Alejandro A. Rebollar Heres lives and works in Toronto. Rebollar Heres completed a Bachelor of Design in Environmental Design, with a minor in Sculpture/Installation, at OCAD University. During his time at OCAD University, he also participated in an exchange program with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In Pest, hundreds of insect and toy-part hybrids are housed in a series of custombuilt, museum-inspired cases. This work was driven by Swartz’s desire to represent human interdependency with other species as well as humanity’s often pest-like presence on the planet. The insect specimens provide a visual dichotomy between life and death as their perfectly intact exoskeletons often appear frozen in the moment of flight.
Swartz began pairing these creatures with figurine parts to explore both divisions and connections among the natural world, consumer culture, fantasy, and her own life experience. Arranged in larger tableaux, these compositions are informed by personal, political, and imaginary social uprisings intended to set the stage for diverse narratives filled with tension and humour.
Amy Swartz is a Toronto–based artist and a lecturer in OCAD University’s Faculty of Art. Swartz creates meticulously crafted collections influenced by mythology, personal narrative, scientific experimentation, and museum display. Her installations have been funded by the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council, and have been exhibited at private and public galleries, such as Angell Gallery in Toronto, the Cambridge Galleries, and Definitely Superior in Thunder Bay.
3^Fault^, by Andrew Rucklidge, represents a more recent creative direction for the artist. Three recent solo exhibitions have contributed to the formal and technical cross-pollination present in this work. This recent direction is manifested in the consolidation of multiple, distinctive techniques into a single work: mediaeval and early Renaissance techniques, such as distemper on linen (Tüchlein: 14th-century Netherlands), toned gessoed grounds (14th–19th century) and oil glazing, and more contemporary techniques, such as acrylic airbrush and, most recently, the gestural scanner fault digital print.
The working title X^Fault^X refers to both the linguistic concept of the shifter as well as the shifting direction of metaphor in Jacques Derrida’s heliotrope. Several of the paintings seed new forms via torn digital scanning and abrupt mechanical shearing. This last technique is new to the artist: one painting with a repeating sequence of painted colours (e.g., 2^Fault^3) is chosen and then gesturally moved as the scanner light passes in order to create a digital tear and fault. The result of this process is then printed. This is a pure digital gesture amplified with painting and without Photoshop mediation.
Andrew Rucklidge lives and works in Toronto, and is an instructor in the Department of Painting & Drawing at OCAD University. Since 2003, he has been showing his work internationally. In 2013, Rucklidge received both the K.M. Hunter Visual Artist Award and the Laura Ciruls Painting Award. His work is housed in numerous international public and private collections.
Drawing inspiration from Indigenous Futurisms, Chief Lady Bird has digitally collaged images to create a surreal landscape that depicts a young jingle dress dancer dancing across melting ice under a galaxy. According to Diné writer Lindsey Catherine Cornum, Indigenous Futurism is a movement that continually rehashes narratives of “the final frontier” and explores the notion of bringing Indigenous traditions into the future instead of leaving them in the past.
We Must Protect the Land for the Next Seven Generations acknowledges the symbolism of the jingle dress as a “healing dress” and represents the Indigenous Seven Generations teaching, wherein humanity must consider how its current actions will affect the next seven generations to come. The beaded glyphs floating through the sky symbolize a language that is indecipherable as a result of cultural genocide and Canada’s assimilation tactics; they are fragments of visual language that reference wampum belts, syllabics, and petroglyphs. The glyphs are intended to be “read,” but they remain frustratingly indecipherable. This is intended to emulate the frustration felt by members of Indigenous nations who are not able to speak their traditional languages.
Nancy King is a First Nations (Potawatomi and Chippewa) artist from Rama First Nation, with paternal ties to Moosedeer Point First Nation. Her Anishinaabe name is Ogimaakwebnes, which means Chief Lady Bird. King completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015 in Drawing & Painting, with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture, at OCAD University.
Chung-Im Kim is an associate professor in the Material Art & Design program (Fibre specialization) at OCAD University. Her recent exhibitions include living geometry at David Kaye Gallery in Toronto and participation in several group shows: Objects in Flux at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; International Sculptural Felt at Wollongong Art Gallery in Australia; and Bowl, a joint exhibition between Sweden and Korea at Vogoze Gallery in Seoul.
Dorie Millerson creates sculptures and installations using needle-lace technique and sewing thread. Themes such as memory, distance, and attachments to people, places, and possessions are explored in the forms she constructs. She is interested in how a line, or thread, can tell a story or create a small world and shifting perspective.
Bridge is a miniature replica of an iconic structure in the city of the artist’s birth. The piece was originally made to be suspended in a gallery setting in which the shadows of the threads seem to create an endless circle between the bridge and its points of connection. Bridge Study, featured in this exhibition, is a smaller iteration of this piece. When hung in space, Millerson’s pieces cast magnified shadows that appear like drawings on a wall. In Bridge, the thread forms show selective parts of the picture—a bridge with no landscape.
Dorie Millerson is based in Toronto and exhibits her textile sculptures and installations internationally. An assistant professor in Fibre and chair of the Material Art & Design program at OCAD University, Millerson is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and holds a Master of Fine Arts from NSCAD University.
Doug Panton’s paintings and drawings evolve out of a spontaneous working process that relies on the subconscious as he creates drawings by absentmindedly “doodling” on paper. The artist then refines these “doodles” through a more mindful, less subconsciously driven process during which he selectively adds colour and reinforces formal elements in order to create a more finished work. Panton refers to this final work as a “noodle.”
His recent explorations of detailed and ambiguous images, which allow the viewer multiple entry points into an artwork’s peculiar reality, can be seen through the work presented in this exhibition. The Worker (Art) is visually and conceptually playful as disparate images are spliced into a new, reconstructed whole. The final work is simultaneously a single image and multiple different images, thereby creating an ambiguous and ever-shifting reality.
Doug Panton is a professional artist and designer, and is an instructor in the Illustration program at OCAD University. He has achieved a variety of international accolades in both practices, and continues to receive assignments that require the design complexity of a multi-faceted project outcome.
Through the use of self-portraiture, appropriation, and simple sculptures, Prefix aims to retell and reclaim Farihah Shah’s origin story through a decolonial perspective. This series also explores the coupling of language with images and its resultant effect on interpretation. Prefix seeks to merge the historical and personal archive into a single continuum.
As a biracial person, Shah’s origin has always been a point of curiosity and contention—not Black enough to really be Black, and yet not Indian enough either. The work examines her historical family migration in relation to the colonial export of commodities: labour, tea, sugar, and rice. Shah uses these colonial tropes in the imagery to comment on identity formation, cultural appropriation, and the burden of cultural hybridity. Her series also engages issues of representation of the Black female nude and references the historical trauma suffered by enslaved peoples. Coupled with the prints is an installation of framed, tea-soaked fabrics that progressively get darker. The tea installation speaks to the “staining” of culture and comments on colourism within the Black community.
Farihah Aliyah Shah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, with a minor in Integrated Media, from OCAD University. Shah’s practice includes an array of conceptual, street, and studio photography; time-based film work; multimedia installations; and performance-based works that explore issues of racial identity, constructed and natural landscapes, personal and collective memory, and the ebb and flow of people in private and public spaces. Her work has been displayed in galleries in Finland, Germany,
Janine Wheeler is drawn to the beautiful subtleties of the natural world, such as the way water quietly shimmers and reflects in a creek or how it pools in a puddle. Her process-oriented oil paintings on smooth synthetic paper both stray from and evoke their inspired sources. She applies and manipulates layers of transparent fluid colour; this pooled, manipulated colour in turn creates textures and flattens space.
The paintings are a simultaneous illusion of flatness and depth. Wheeler allows the materials and the process to shape her work and chooses not to intervene in the “accidental” outcome of this painting process. Wheeler’s painting practice permits her to access this slippery visual space that is truthful to both the creative process and the imagery it represents. These paintings are an extension of her captivation with the phenomenological beauty that exists in the environments of her sources.
Janine Wheeler recently graduated from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing & Painting. She lives and paints in her rural hometown of Baxter, Ontario, where the presence and abundance of beauty in the natural world inspires and drives her studio practice.
Jean-Luc Lindsay’s work reminds the viewer of a collection of excerpts that diverge in tone and detail from one entry to the next, yet remain connected through their interlaced, broader narratives. The images tantalizingly vacillate between disclosure and disguise.
This body of work consists of images that consider the curation of home and memory through a hodgepodge depiction of wall decoration, album photography, personal documentation, and found objects. The work is designed to unfold across the images as a collection, operating within the interpretive potential offered by painting. Lindsay is interested in the ways images can both expose and occlude, and the ways individuals talk about themselves through the visible remnants of moments and memories. These paintings function together to form stories made of middles with no beginnings or ends; they function as fragments of a personal, collective diary entry.
Jean-Luc Lindsay completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing & Painting at OCAD University in 2016. His practice explores themes of collection and memory through iterative oil paintings. He has contributed to several group and juried shows in Toronto and throughout the Greater Toronto Area.