JULIA ABRAHAM
NICOLE CLOUGH
LAUREN DZENIS
KIRA KASTNER
DUAA MANSOUR
ALEXANDRA SANDISON
DIANNE SHAWCROSS
MACY SIU
artist statement work cv
JOL THOMSON
RACHEL WALLACE

artist statement

Chinese-Canadian poet, Fred Wah poses the question, “how voice the silent dash?” in his poem “Hyphen” from the collection Faking It. The hyphen, this so-called “dash”, is the bridge between Asian and Canadian in Wah, and in my own personal cultural identity as an American-born Chinese-Canadian. In Asian-North American literature, ambiguity in the use of genre becomes “noise” that acts as a means to voice a sense of belonging within this dichotomy. Hybridity, as the mobilization of the hyphen, stands for a literary metaphor and poetic tool that I am now attempting to translate artistically through the confl ation of different visual mediums.

Calling upon the inherent properties of the photographic and film mediums, and their associations with time and movement in the still and moving image, I attempt to blend oppositions analogous to my own culture bending. Through an examination of the representation of self, my work layers and fl attens binaries between representation and the represented, male and female, and ultimately feelings of alienation and connection, all of which are highlighted formally, and then conceptually debunked. In The Dance, photography and video are hybridized in a photo-based stop-motion animation. Playing the part of both male and female, I become the common subject in these layers of static images, forced into motion by the medium.

The definition of self as an empowering “I” is constantly at play with the camera’s “eye”. There is no direct translation of inner identity except in subtle hints of physicality that hinges on social and cultural associations. Variations after Mozart depicts the fragmenting of a self that is split in the search for cultural connection. I sight-read the music score to this canonic Western repertoire in mimicry of a perfect recording (and failing as such). More interesting is that the variation’s theme is a tune popularly associated with childhood songs of learning (“ABC”, “Twinkle Twinkle”) – the fi rst steps of language or cultural conditioning. Frames of intimate body-cropping are edited in play with time and duration of the music to hybridize the visual and the audio. The video aims to capture involuntary gestures of the inner-self as opposed to the conscious construction of self in front of the camera.

[Re]presentation involves a two-tiered concept of seeing that functions almost as a Möbius strip of visual paradoxes. Instructing my subjects to represent me from visual memory with an isolated light source, I am thus producing pictures of picturing. The “eye” of my camera becomes inadvertently refl ected as the “I” of my self. In these prints, hybridization of the hierarchical relationship between artist and subject comes in full circle, where control only lies in the formal technicalities of the photographic medium.

To me, border-crossing between oppositions becomes a metaphor for my culturally-mixed upbringing. The concept of hybridity expressed in these works mirrors my own transitions and translations between the spaces within myself. There is an intrinsic sense of displacement within the hybrid condition, and the hyphen is the signifi ed placeholder of this “inbetweeness”. Whether this is presented through obvious points of visual disjuncture, or by self-consciously exposing the art process, external and internal boundaries collapse to dismantle conventions, and encourage a “noisy” voicing of personal narrative.

 

 

work

I'm of Immigration The Dance 2

 

cv

education

2005 – Present THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, Trinity College
Hon. B.A., Visual Studies, English, and Art History
Trinity One Programme (2005-2006), Visual Studies Thesis (2008-2009)

group exhibitions

2009 For What Is Not Said, Visual Studies Thesis Exhibition, University of Toronto
Chancellor’s Student Art Exhibition, Simcoe Hall, University of Toronto
2008 Eyeball Exhibition, 1 Spadina Crescent, University of Toronto
Presenting…, Art Lounge, University of Toronto Art Centre
Good, Better, Best Seminar, Solomon R. Gugenheim Museum, New York
Kinesthasia, Trinity College, University of Toronto
2007 Eyeball Exhibition, 1 Spadina Crescent, University of Toronto
Trinity College Art Show, Trinity College, University of Toronto

work and professional experience

2009 – Present THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Master Class, Artist in Residence: Vera Frenkel, Master of Visual Studies Programme
2008 – Present THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Video Work Study, Art Department
2008 THE POWER PLANT CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY, Toronto, ON
THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Critical Curatorial Lab Participant
Summer 2008 THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, New York, NY
External Affairs Coordinator (August–September 2008)
External Affairs Intern
2006 – 2008 ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO, Toronto, ON
Gallery Guide
Public Affairs Youth Advisory Committee

other relevant experience

2006 – Present THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO – Hart House, Toronto, ON
Hart House Review, literary and arts journal – Editor-in-Chief (2008-2009)
2006 – 2007 SCARBOROUGH ARTS COUNCIL, Scarborough, ON
Surface and Symbol Magazine – Contributing Writer

awards and grants

2008 Hilla von Rebay Intern Stipend, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
2007 Photography Award, The Trinity University Review