MSC Journal, Vol. 1 - No. 1, Winter 2019

Page 1


WINTER// 2019


Vol. 1 - No. 1 Winter 2019


Adam Mulder


Zsofia Agoston

CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Charette Julia DeKwant Madeleine Ghesquiere Jessica Matthys Adam Mulder Natalie Scola Jasmine Sihra Nadia Tirolese


Jessica Matthys


CONTACT: All inquiries, questions, comments, and concerns can be directed to:

FREQUENCY: The Museum Studies Collective's Newsletter is published four times per year:: January (WINTER), April (SPRING), July (SUMMER), and October (AUTUMN).

All right reserved. Any reproduction of the contents without written authorization from the Museum Studies Collective is strictly prohibited. The Museum Studies Collective cannot be held responsible for loss of, or damage to, unsolicited materials.



Photo courtesy of Artist (Victor Zhang).

04 Letter from the President 05 Our Partners' this Quarter

07 War of 1812 Re-enactment at Backus Heritage Conservation area 09 The Sentimality of Lockets 11 The Black Dress Project: Victor Zhang 16 Slow Down Music 19 Westland Gallery exhibition review and how to write an engaging review // 02


Anthropocene, installation view, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2018. Image courtesy of Adam Mulder.

23 Witnessing reclamation: Rebecca Belmore’s Facing the Monumental 25 Artist Interview: Brenda Fuhrman 30 Andil Gosine “Coolie Coolie Viens” 35 Art Gallery of Ontario: Anthropocene 37 Get Involved with the MSC 38 About the MSC // 03

LETTER FROM THE president Jessica Matthys


ruthfully, I never expected that I would be writing a letter

Our aim is to prepare students and emerging professionals

as a president of any organization. I have not considered

through the life lessons, and obstacles, we have already

myself a leader, but this proves that if you are passionate

encountered. Our goals are to offer possibilities to explore new

enough about an idea you can bring it to reality. The Museum

creative endeavours, showcase academic accomplishments,

Studies Collective (MSC) is just that idea. Going back to the

and gain valuable resume-worthy assets. Our first workshop will

beginning, last January to be precise, a group of students

train volunteers to use the popular museum software

including myself were applying to the university club board to

PastPerfect. In the future, we will continue to offer more training,

make the MSC a reality. When we got the news that our idea

resources, and opportunities by teaching and learning together.

was denied, the defeat was felt, and we lacked the gumption to pursue the venture further. However, that is when my frustration surfaced. I took the MSC idea to my professors, Dr. K. Robertson and Dr. J. Hatch, who both expressed their encouragement and interest. With their support, and that of my peers (P.S. many, many thanks), I started an independent project over the summer building a website. This turned out to be quite the feat with little-to-no tech-related experience where tears and yells at a computer screen were quite frequent. I began to realize the immensity of the project and sought out my administrative team. This group of fellow students, and close friends, have made the MSC possible. This would not have launched without them, so thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

In the spirit of the MSC’s interdisciplinary efforts, our newsletter offers opportunities for students and emerging professionals to showcase their academic achievements and interests which relate the diversity of museum studies. In our first newsletter you will find an interview with the indominable and inspirational artist, Brenda Fuhrman, and a reflective essay from student Nadia Tirolese on the impact of today’s social media saturated world on popular music which presses the need for music that goes beyond words, amongst many other inspiring submissions by our peers and upcoming events in the London area. I hope you enjoy what is just the beginning of a very exciting journey for all of us at MSC and are encouraged to add your voice to our collective.

The MSC has become my child, where my team and I have compiled all our knowledge and resources for our fellow students, emerging professionals, and those already established to create networks and publish their work. The MSC celebrates the hard-work of those passionate in their fields and strives to hammer home how museum studies and the visual arts is interdisciplinary and inclusive. The MSC offers the chance to bridge the boundary lines between faculties, emphasizing interdisciplinary cooperation. Museums offer an opportunity to show how skills from anthropology, engineering, health science, computer science, and media studies can come together to create a cohesive organization. Through our collective studies, the MSC team has identified where our education has lacked the tools to prepare us for the workplace.

// 04

President, Jessica Matthys


McIntosh Gallery Glimmers of the Radiant Real

January 17th - March 16th Opening Reception: Jan 20th, 2-4 pm Organized and circulated by The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Peterborough and McIntosh Gallery. Curated by Ruth Jones and Sam Mogelonsky By focussing both on the beautiful, mesmerizing surfaces of the art object and that which the surface covers up, hides, or obscures, this exhibition presents works by Katie BethuneLeamen, the Broadbent Sisters, Daniel Griffin Hunt, Sanaz

Westland Gallery Gallery Artist Group Show

January 2nd-12th Opening Reception: Jan. 5th, 2-4pm Come to the opening celebration of this group show, displaying works that take a colourful, surrealist look at nature, landscapes, and wildlife, hosted at the Westland Gallery. This exhibition of Canadian artwork includes Donna Andreychuk, Lisa Johnson, Erica Dornbusch, Denise Antaya, Sheila Davis, Carol Finkbeiner Thomas, Sarah Hillock, Catherine Morrisey, Eleanor Lowden, Gordon Harrison, and Jeanette Obbink. Visit the gallery anytime between January 2nd and 12th to experience the way that these local artists and painters see the world around them, in vibrant shades and hues. For more information on this and other exhibitions hosted by Westland Gallery, visit exhibitions.html. • Sarah Charette

Mazinani, Sandy Plotnikoff, Mary Pratt, Cole Swanson, Catherine Telford-Keogh, and Xiaojing Yan that cause the viewer to get lost in the interplay between what they see, what is reflected, and what hangs in the balance. The presentation of the art object as uncanny and fractured causes the viewers’ perception to become altered and distorted. Through the use of day to day materials and effects, such dollar store knickknacks, plastic wrap, and foil, alongside or behind the sheens of resin, glass, gold, and pearls, the simultaneous clarity and complexity of the artists’ perspectives are expressed. While communicating ideas of beauty, exoticism, and desirability, these works of video, sculpture, painting, drawing, and installation also enforce the opposite – that of confusion, obscurity, and complication of the ideal. To experience these works and their glittering effects firsthand, visit McIntosh Gallery anytime between January 17th and March 16th, with the opening reception and performance by Daniel Griffin Hunt occurring on January 20th. For more information on both the gallery and this event, visit • S.

Westland Gallery Jen Hamilton & Marilyn Lazenby January 15th-26th Opening Reception: Jan. 26th, 2-4 pm

Visit the Events Calendar page on and/or


Westland Gallery Helmut Becker

January 22nd - February 2nd Opening Reception: Feb. 9th, 2-4 p.m.

lazenby.html for updates and further information. • S. Charette

Visit the Events Calendar page on and/or for updates and further information. • S. Charette

// 05

Broadbent Sisters, Midnight Forms, short film, 2017. Courtesy of the artists.

Westland Gallery John Huggins & Michael Everett

McIntosh Gallery Deanna Bowen: We Are From Nicodemus

Visit the Events Calendar page on and/or

Visit the Events Calendar page on and/or for updates for

and further information. • S. Charette

updates and further information. • S. Charette

Norwich Museum Lunch and Learn, Dr. Tarah Brookfield

Norwich Museum Lunch and Learn, Richard Skevington

The guest speaker chosen for the month of March is Dr.

The guest speaker chosen for the month of April is bird

Tarah Brookfield, an associate history professor from Wilfrid

watching enthusiast and blogger, Richard Skevington. If you

Laurier University. Come visit and take in her presentation on

have an interest in birds, or even just nature in general, be

the revolutionary mother-daughter team, Dr. Emily Stowe and

sure to come visit and take in his presentation on the History

Dr. Agusta Stowe-Gullen. These women were among the first

of Birding. By gathering information through both his research

female physicians in Canada, facing great opposition from

and personal experience, Skevington can provide insight into

both the academic and social structures of the late 20th

this peaceful, historical, and unique pastime.

century. This emphatic pair campaigned for women’s rights to

• S. Charette

February 19th - March 2nd Opening Reception: TBD

March 13th, 11 am

higher education, careers in medicine, and voting rights between 1860s-1910s. Learn of their triumphs, tribulations, and their effects that can still be seen in our world today. • S. Charette

// 06

March 21st - April 27th Opening Reception: TBD

April 10th, 11 am



he MSC was excited to attend their very first event, the

After touring the first floor, we went up to the second floor to

War of 1812 Re-Enactment, this past September 8th, at

tour the rest of the bedrooms. The highlight, aside from the

Backus Heritage Conservation Area in Norfolk County. While

handmade reproduction of a son’s childhood kite, was the

at the re-enactment, we were able to walk the extensive

"modern" bathroom—something that Mrs. Backus refused to

grounds of the park and Backhouse Historic Site. When we

use, claiming the outhouse was much more sanitary.

first arrived on-site we were able to view the U.S. Forces Camp from our parking space. The number of tents visible from the first camp emphasized the scale of the re-enactment. Our first stop for the day was at the Forbes Barn for the Artillery Demonstration where the cannon crews performed the time honored tradition of the noon gun; a cannon blast marking mid-day.. Much to Adam’s dismay (MSC Editor-in-Chief), he was not prepared for the intensity and deafening blast of the cannon, which was to continue through most of the day. After the cannon and musket firing demonstration, we started exploring the grounds more thoroughly starting with meeting Roy, the re-enactor of Sutler Cyrus as well as the camp Surgeon and Apothecary. Once we learned more than our fair share about the grisly nature of wound care during the War of 1812 (including, but not limited to, limb amputation) we toured the camps for the Artillery and the Upper Canada Woodland Allies. The re-enactors were extremely friendly and resourceful, allowing us to view their tents and witness how they were to spend the next few days living as soldiers War of 1812.

Jessica Matthys (left) and Adam Mulder (right) at the Backus Heritage Conservation Area

Returning to the main area of the Historic Site, we received a

Leaving the homestead, we decided to walk through Sutler

guided tour of the Backhouse Homestead. It was partially

Row where vendors were selling goods, including the

restored from a late 20th century renovation which converted it

Canadian Heritage Merchant David from Glen Farms’ Past

into government offices for the heritage site. However, parts of

Times. Adam purchased a Merlot jelly. Noticing people were

the home’s charm never disappeared. While there is still the

congregating in the Forbes Barn, we decided to check out

low-pile classic blue/green/grey office carpeting, this is

what event was going on inside and we were delighted to find

overshadowed by the deep wheelchair scrape-marks

out that re-enactor Bob Rennie was giving a lecture on

embedded into the side of the main floor bedroom and the

General Brock, in full attire. Rennie was both an animated and

dining room across the hall. Visible from the door looking into

informative speaker on the subject of General Brock, showing

the formal living room is a stunning turn of the century wood

the full extent to which re-enactors immerse themselves in the

piano; a gift from Mr. Backus to Mrs. Backus.

history of those they are portraying.

// 07

After the discussion, it was time for the Main Battle Re-enactment to commence, which was commentated by Supervisor of Backus, Brandon Good. At this point Mr. Good warned audience members that there was going to be a lot of cannon and gun firing, and Adam began to brace himself (to no avail).

After the main battle, we watched of the Children’s Mini Militia re-enactment from a distance in the British Forces Camp, British Indian Department Camp, and the Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada Camp. Aside from the re-enactment, we were also afforded the opportunity to tour the other heritage buildings at Backus, including the Log House, the Schoolhouse, the still operational 1798 Backhouse Mill (grist mill) which was one of the few surviving mills from the War of 1812. As the day progressed, especially towards the end of the 1812 War Re-enactment itself, Adam was no more accustomed to the sounds of the cannon or gun firings. Overall though, the day was a wonderful opportunity to learn from re-enactors, witness the extent to which historical interpretation goes to present accurate and detailed re-enactments, and become immersed in the community of re-enactors and history buffs of all ages who came together to interact with the local heritage. The MSC looks forward to working with Backus Heritage Conservation Area in the future. • Jessica Matthys & The battle re-enactment at Backus provided a historical backstory to the burning of the mills of Southwestern Ontario in the American’s attempt to demoralize the populous and deny the British army of one of their main sources of sustenance led by General McArthur. For a more descriptive historical recount of the importance of the battle at Backus Heritage Conservation Area and the burning of the mills in Southwestern Ontario, please refer to the L.P.R.C.A. website (

// 08

Adam Mulder



ommon to my placement at the Norwich Museum as a

Containing portraits, or locks of hair, the often-transparent

summer collections student, a fair amount of my time is spent in

locket became a symbol of reciprocal commitment to a

the Museum’s collection scrounging for artifacts to post on social

beloved romantic partner. With the emergence of

media or putting them into a computerized system. Time spent in

photography, over the course of the century photo lockets

the collection has deepened my understanding of the people of

spread in accessibility and affordability.

Norwich, of their history, their lives, and of their customs. In our

The beginning of World War I in 1917 sought the emergence

collection, we hold hundreds of adornments ranging form hair

of wartime sweetheart jewelry and collectibles. Locket

pins to fans, but I have found that the most significant of these

necklaces were worn by women left behind to hope for a

artifacts are the lockets. Offering a window into the past, lockets

safe return of their loved ones and soldiers in battle carried

represent the history of the family and display a significant role

lockets with pictures of their wives, mothers, and children.

history holds, understanding the universal human experience.

991.02.03 Donated by Mary Mcke. C.1900

Evolved from ancient amulets, the European design for lockets

Carried on into World War II, the trend for sweat heart

date to the 16th century when pendants were worn to conceal

jewelry and collectables continued, cementing connection

good luck charms, small fabric squares soaked in perfume, and

during the wartime. Even with a resurgence, the modern

painted portraits. Over the course of the 18th and 19th century,

locket purpose has become a method of marking occasions

lockets continued to grow in popularity as heart shaped lockets

such as graduation and marriage, a commemoration of a

became representative of the bonds of marriage and love.

birthday or other celebrations. With modern innovations, it has also become easier for many to keep a deceased individual close to heart.

// 09

The prominence of wearing lockets containing ashes of the

However, it was not only women who adorned lockets of

deceased are becoming increasingly common as funeral

their loved ones, men as well often kept their loved ones

homes offer the bereaved keepsake jewelry containing their

nearby. Dating to the early 1900’s, this locket belonged to

photo or ashes. This locket serving as a miniature urn allows

John Pritchard, a clerk of the Township of North Norwich

the bereaved to keep there beloved close to them instead of

for nearly 30 years. Pictured in the locket is John Pritchard

scattering their ashes or burying them in a cemetery.

and his first wife Belle. Donated in 1991 by Mary Mcke, the

Throughout history, lockets have allowed individuals to hold

watch fob connects the locket to a black ribbon which

their loved ones close to them, offering a unique opportunity,

would have been clipped onto the upper pocket of a

keeping a moment or memory of their beloved.

waistcoat. Sometimes worn on the aprons of tradesmen or

Donated in 2016 by Ariel Rigby, this adorned locket once

merchants with the conventional watch chain. Similar to

belonged to Alice Merrill in 1877. Although the hinges are broken

Alice Merrill, we can only imagine how much Belle meant to

as result of ageing, the exceptional quality of the pictures within

John as he held her close throughout the work day.

the locket appear to be Hopkins VV, both a young man and an older gentleman.

2016.70.01 Donated by Ariel Rigby. C.1877

This well worn, tarnished gold locket no longer has a chain, but is

The vast majority of stories contained in lockets are

adorned with seed pearls in the shape of flowers. As with many of

essentially insignificant in history as they transcend their

the artifacts in our collection, the file on Alice Merrill is very little,

individual stories. Lockets represent the history of family and

leaving much to the imagination. However, with our understanding

display a glimpse into the interconnected tapestry of the

of the sentimentality of lockets, we can begin to understand that

universal experience. As we grow, marry, begin families,

this locket may have symbolized a reciprocal commitment to

age, and ultimately pass, lockets become a window into the

Hopkins and may have become a piece of remembrance. This

human experience. Although lockets appear to just be

heirloom represents a moment in time for Alice Merrill and is only

another object categorized as mundane, these mementos

a brief glimpse into her story.

provide a unique understanding of what it means to be human as they symbolize love and honour, an experience felt throughout the centuries. • Julia DeKwant

// 10

black dress project: vICTOR ZHANG by jASMINE SIHRA


hough Victor and I are good friends, I didn’t know what to expect

from his interview, partly because I had never done an artist interview before. With the answers below, you too will see why Victor’s work is necessary and urgent, and just how fascinating his experiences were at the Parsons School of Design in New York City (USA) and his current research for his Masters of Arts in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research.

Q: You are a student at Western University, what are you studying? Right now, I am a Masters of Arts (MA) in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at Western University. I graduated from Western as an undergraduate. Ideally, I am going to graduate from my Masters next August. Q: Tell me about your Women’s Studies research. My research interests are in Queer Migration. I come from a really interdisciplinary perspective, so I incorporate Women’s studies, gender theory, queer theory, but also migration studies in my research. Specifically, my research project for my Masters will focus on Queer international students and the experience of studying abroad and identity formation, along with their migration process. Also, I am trying to incorporate art in my research project, to discuss queer citizenship, homonationalism and transnationalist solidarity.

Photo courtesy of artist (Victor Zhang).

Apart from that, the project that I want to do for my research reflects on the art installation that I saw in the summer in New York City. This artist collecting stories from refugees from the Middle East and then she asked different

Q: Can you talk about your interest in fashion and design

Hollywood actors--- I think one is Julianne Moore--- to

and how this related to your research? Is fashion and

perform and read those stories. I think it’s called “Love”.* In

design art apart of your Masters research?

the video installation, you can see the comparison between refugees telling their stories and these actors retelling and

I have to make something clear here: before coming to this

performing those stories. I think she was trying to raise

program, I had no research interests in fashion or feminism in

questions about what kinds of stories can be heard and

relation to fashion, until last semester when I became a

what kind of stories can trigger the audience’s emotions and

Teaching Assistant (TA) for a second year Women’s Studies

how to empower those those marginalized people and give

undergraduate course called Gender and Fashion. The

them a platform to vocalize their existence. And so, inspired

Professor is from the Classics Department at Western, and I

by this, I want to collect the stories from Queer international

am really pleased to be her TA because I have learned a lot

students [at Western] reflecting their migration experience in

from her, and this became kind of a motivation for me to do

Canada, but their Queer experience specifically.

research into fashion and feminism.

// 11

Then, I want to record the local Queer identified students to

Q: What was the biggest way that you incorporated feminist

re-perform the stories in front of the camera. I want to create

and queer theory in your work?

a dialogue between these Queer communities, and I want to explore the meaning of Queer citizenship and

I think the biggest thing I learned from this experience is that

transnationalist solidarity. And I want to explore the

fashion is a kind of art and has the responsibility to reflect

possibility of use to move beyond the constraints of culture

social justice and social trends and sometimes it should be

and nations to create a collective Queer identity beyond

political. But also, I heard some people saying that

national borders.

advocating for specific issues in fashion would overshadow the techniques and the design in the garments. I remember

Q: I want to make something clear for anyone reading this

there was someone saying that he would rather focus on the

though; Queer studies and feminist studies is different yet

technique in the garment than the ideas behind it. But some


people would agree with me, that fashion can be a platform to different voices and can do social justice.

They are always connected, the queer sensibilities and feminism in my research are not contradictory.

Q: I know the idea behind the photos and dress that you made did not really have anything to do with the medium,

Q: You’ve always loved art and have always been fascinated by

but I want to hear more about the concept. Can you explain

art, but the interest in fashion only became an interest for you

conceptually what you were trying to do and how you used

when you came to Western. But you did a course in New York

the medium to express the concept? How did the gender-

City at the Parsons School of Design, and there was something

bending come up in your dress?

feminist and queer about that too? I didn’t really have a solid idea about how to conceptualize I was always into art and fashion, but I never got the

my dress initially. But I started with the idea that I wanted to

opportunity to explore this interest because growing up in an

make this political. I wanted to tell something beyond the

Asian [Chinese] family, I was being told that there is no

garment itself. I kind of adopted a novel technique in fashion

productive value of doing this. Also, my parents didn’t really

design; most people will do pattern-making or draping. For

encourage me to pursue a career in art and fashion. I think they

pattern-making, you have patterns laying out on fabrics and

saw that I didn’t have any talent in it, and so this convinced me

then you cut out the fabric and sew it together. For draping,

not to do it. But I was still always into it. So this past summer

you use a whole piece of fabric on the mannequin, and you

[2018], I decided to go to New York City and study in Parsons

twist and fold the fabric until you achieve the garment that

School of Design, which is a really prestigious fashion design

you want. After that, when you have the look that you want,

school in the world. And New York City is such a fascinating

you create the pattern. What I did was subtraction-cutting,

place and you feel like you can encounter things beyond your

where you get a whole piece of fabric, and in the middle you

mundane life. So I knew this would be such a great opportunity

just start drawing and you cut the piece in the middle, but

for me.

the fabric that gets left out becomes your garment. Then you sew it together. I used previous subtraction--- cutting work to

I took a summer program there in fashion design. Interestingly,

help me and my instructor helped me too. After cutting, you

some of the students in my class were fashion students; they

just try to find where the sleeve or neckline fits.

have a fashion background and they came to Parsons to enhance their skills and techniques. But there were people like me though, who had very different backgrounds, and came to the class because of our strong interest in fashion. It was really a diverse classroom; the students were from around the world and didn’t necessarily speak English. It was really a transnational experience.

// 12

Image courtesy of artist (Victor Zhang).

Image courtesy of artist (Victor Zhang).

// 13

Q: What kind of image did you want to present here? It was a figure of a Queen, but a little bit of darkness and little bit gothic. You can see that I am wearing dark lipsticks and I am wearing a crown and crocheted earrings. I had other props, like the veil and gloves. The image I was depicting is really androgynous, so it’s feminist but it’s a nod to gender fluidity and diverse gender representations here. Q: You did photography, but the photography is secondary to the work. It was about the dress. Was photography important though? Image courtesy of artist (Victor Zhang).

Q: How did the subtraction-cutting that you did reflect your political idea? That’s a hard question. I have to admit that I didn’t really think about theorizing this technique. I did it after I created the garment. I made this garment without using the traditional techniques, which is political; avoiding the

Well, I was instructing my photographer to take pictures at specific angles. I changed the form of my dress throughout the photoshoot, you can see the changing of the dress throughout the pictures. You can see that sometimes it’s a long dress, sometimes it’s short, sometimes it’s asymmetrical. I loved the fabric. I used the photography the manipulate how the dress looked.

normative practice. Sometimes when you try to speak up, it is really easy for you to be labelled as abnormal. I think the

Q: Do you have any formal training?

colour black, though it was decided by my professor, is really powerful. It’s really interesting because the colour

I don’t have an art background. But, when I was doing the

black is assimilated into the daily experience; it’s

course though, we were encouraged to go to the MET and

everywhere, but it can still stand out and it creates power

visit the exhibition Heavenly Bodies, which was fashion

through that. So I think black has potential to convey

garments inspired by Catholic religious history. It was really

different meanings.

interesting to see how female bodies were constrained in the garments and how those fashion designers were

Also, I love the idea that the form of a dress can be changed

twisting the traditional garments to create their own work. So

to different lengths, it’s not symmetrical, it’s always

I was inspired by that. I also took inspiration from the

“changeable”. It’s just like one’s own identity and experience

Handmaid’s Tale. The darkness in my images really comes

is always shifting and you don’t really share the same

from this, specifically the railing.

experiences as others. I think the course at Parsons was kind of semi-formal I had this moment when I was wearing the dress in New

training. Because before that, I never made any garments

York City and I felt connected to everyone who was fighting

and I never tried a sewing machine.

here before. You know, New York City is where the Stone Wall Riots happened, the beginning of the LGBTQ+ movement. It was like “I don’t know any of you but I want to dedicate this moment to you”- it’s like this instinctive feeling that you have, I can’t explain it.

// 14

Q: Do you think taking courses at an institution, like a

Q: What do you want to do after your graduate degree?

university, is part of facilitating an artistic inclination or artistic training?

(laughs) I want to find a job in Toronto first, so that I can live.

I feel that education and this opportunity allowed me to

• Jasmine Sihra

explore my ideas and practice my feminist knowledge and academic training. I feel really privileged, not everyone can afford to live in New York City or pay the tuition fees. I am really privileged that I get to navigate my thoughts in school. I have the ability to do the knowledge production that is beyond writing. For me, I really appreciate what I learned from the summer program. You can see that I used the feminist idea in the designing process. Q: How did this art-making process make you feel? This was the first artwork that I had ever made. It was painful. We were using industrial sewing machines and industrial sergers, and everyone was making garments. We were always staying back and making our projects, there were only 15 sewing machines that all of us had to use. It was 6 hours a day of cutting and sewing.

Q: Have you ever shown your work? Would you like to? I do want to show my research on Queer migration and my art project in a space. If it can be expedited to a larger audience, I would love that. My Queer art project comes from that artist in New York City, and I want to make sure I give her credit and get into contact with her. The idea is that I will make a video to show that will supplement my research thesis. I do want to say one thing, I am really thankful for a student in my class. Her name is Ashley, she is a fashion student in the States who is studying in England. She loves fashion,

Image courtesy of artist (Victor Zhang).

but she is very critical and incorporates feminist theory into her work. I was very inspired by her.

*The project Victor is referring to is Candice Breitz Love Story (2016), from the South Africa Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. It’s a video that stars Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore.

// 15

Slow-Down Music: Hammock Unites Music Fans From All Walks of Life nadia tirolese


n today’s media-saturated and hyper-connected world, it is

And it has largely been due to joining YouTube that the band

often the loudest voice that is listened to. But this is not always

has enjoyed their stunning success, with 1.2 million views on

the case, as is evident with Hammock. Formed by Marc Byrd

their most popular video, for their track, “Breathturn,”[1] and

and Andrew Thompson in 2003, the Nashville duo is known for

several other videos with over half a million views.

its genre-bending sound, combining “modern classical,

[1] “Breathturn,” by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, track 4 on Hammock,

shoegaze, ambient, and post-rock”[1] into sprawling, echoing

Chasing After Shadows...Living With Ghosts, Hammock Music, 2010.

soundscapes. Byrd and Thompson use a broad range of instruments to weave their sonic tapestries, from cavernous electric guitars to electronic instruments to string orchestras, and in their decade-and-a-half long career, the band has gained a lot of traction. Notably, Byrd and Thompson composed the entire soundtrack for the 2017 independent movie, Columbus,[2] and a number of tracks for the firstperson shooter game, Far Cry 5, in 2018.[3] [1] Hammock’s official website; “Hammock Is Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson.” 2016. [2] Columbus Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, YouTube, Hammock Music, 2017. v=UeBqrv94G40&list=PL-2hUcaJw68AAWtLNIFz-lBq6V4aU8TCu&index=1. [3] Far Cry 5 Presents: We Will Rise Again (Original Game Soundtrack), by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, Spotify, Ubisoft Music, 2018.

Hammock’s overwhelmingly positive reception on YouTube in recent years indicates an ability to connect with and understand its audience on a profound level. On the YouTube video for “Like a Valley with No Echo,” a user named Mr Frefontain self-dentifies as a “war vet” and continues: “this [song] reminds me of...the everyday...good, ugly, and everything else no words can describe.”[1] Cleary this song has had a significant impact on this listener, who took the time to communicate directly to the artists on their YouTube video. The expansive, immense scale of this track is typical of Hammock’s musical style, both in Oblivion Hymns and in general. Review and blogger postrockcafe describes the sound in Oblivion Hymns as “the ascent or descent into the life or death that is to come...the songs unfurl gently and burst slowly, like morning flowers.”[2] Indeed, Oblivion Hymns unviels itself

Since YouTube’s creation in 2005, music fans have had access to a dizzing array of artists’ works—from popular to obscure, professional to amateur—and with YouTube’s algorithm feature, users can access new music based on their established listening habits and tastes. Now that an increasing number of artists are uploading their albums to YouTube on

slowy, methodically, each track both an exploration and a journey to a far-off destination, a trek through somber emotional landscapes; listening to it evokes both melancholy and wonder.[3] [1] MrFrefontain. 2018. YouTube comment on “Like a Valley With No Echo” by Hammock. [2] postrockcafe. “Hammock ~ Oblivion Hymns: A Closer Listen.” A Closer Listen (blogging

their own channels, fans have a direct link to their favourite

site). November 26, 2013,

musical artists, allowing them to post comments on their

channel pages and videos, and to send them private messages. Due to joining YouTube, Hammock has enjoyed a stunning success, with 1.2 million views on their most popular video, “Breathturn,”[1] and several other videos with another half a million views [1] “Breathturn,” by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, track 4 on Hammock, Chasing After Shadows...Living With Ghosts, Hammock Music, 2010.

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[3] Oblivion Hymns, by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, Hammock Music, 2018. 2hUcaJw68AsDreMPaBWXhZGSx9LYBgj

Petillo, Thomas. Hammock, 2008, New York. July 2014. Photograph. Wikipedia article for Hammock,


Hammock fans have been leaving thoughtful, enthusiastic

Comments from fans show the impact that Hammock has on

comments on the band’s YouTube videos for years.

their emotional lives—from their multitude of different

Comments for some of their most recent albums, Mysterium

experiences and perspectives. At its heart, Hammock appeals

(2017), Everything and Nothing (2016), and Oblivion Hymns

to universal themes in life: loss, solitude, overwheming joy, and

(2013) are just a few examples of this positive reception.

moments of stillness. Is it any wonder, then, that their new

“Everything and Nothing is exactly the thoughts I've had on

album, released in early December 2018, is titled Universalis?

Hammock since I first heard them,” a YouTube user named

[1] Although Hammock’s music is mostly instrumental, people

tumble0weed wrote on Hammock’s 2016 album Everything

are still captivated by its lyricism. In the words of joshua kelly,

and Nothing’s track, “Turn Away and Return.”[1] “It's the

another YouTube commenter, on “Not Now and Not Yet,” a

emotion of both euphoria and despair, but it's the same

song from Hammock’s 2017 album, Mysterium[2]: “In these

emotion... Love you guys so much and what you do from the

comments I see people of all nations [and] diverse

bottom of my heart, and I'm sorry for not paying for this but

backgrounds that have been moved by this music that’s

grateful that you share your music for free too.”[2] “Turn Away

beyond words.”[3] Hammock creates a genuine and heartfelt

and Return” features gentle-toned electric guitars layered over

expression of the human experience without the heavy-handed

a warm cello melody and multiple tracks of ambient,

and forced corporate positivity that often dominates in media.

reverberating female vocals, giving listeners an airy, floating

In these times of ever-increasing complexity, maybe music that

sensation—the result is what I would imagine it would be like

is “beyond words”—along with stillness and solitude to catch

to soar over the Rocky Mountains—freeing, breathless.

our breath—is what we really need. • Nadia Tirolese

[1] “Turn Away and Return,” by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, track 1 on

[1] Universalis, by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, Hammock Music, 2018.

Everything and Nothing, Hammock Music, 2016.



[2] tumble0weed. 2016. YouTube comment on “Not Now and Not Yet” by Hammock.

[2] “Not Now and Not Yet,” by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, track 1 on Mysterium, Hammock Music, 2017. [3] joshua kelly. 2017. YouTube comment on “Not Now and Not Yet” by Hammock.

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Bibliography Audio “Breathturn,” by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, track 4 on Hammock, Chasing After Shadows...Living With Ghosts, Hammock Music, 2010. Columbus Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, YouTube, Hammock Music, 2017. v=UeBqrv94G40&list=PL2hUcaJw68AAWtLNIFz-lBq6V4aU8TCu&index=1. Far Cry 5 Presents: We Will Rise Again (Original Game Soundtrack), by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, Spotify, Ubisoft Music, 2018. Oblivion Hymns, by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, Hammock Music, 2018. “Turn Away and Return,” by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, MP3 audio, track 1 on Everything and Nothing, Hammock Music, 2016. Universalis, by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, Hammock Music, 2018. Electronic Hammock’s official website; “Hammock Is Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson.” 2016. postrockcafe. “Hammock ~ Oblivion Hymns: A Closer Listen.” A Closer Listen (blogging site). November 26, 2013, Social Media joshua kelly. 2017. YouTube comment on “Not Now and Not Yet” by Hammock. MrFrefontain. 2018. YouTube comment on “Like a Valley With No Echo” by Hammock. tumble0weed. 2016. YouTube comment on “Not Now and Not Yet” by Hammock.

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Westland Gallery Exhibition Review: “Anna Clarey & Erica Dornbusch: A Chromatic Life” & How to Write an Engaging Exhibition Review Jessica Matthys


wo of the goals of the MSC are to provide tips of the

As Barnet explains, when we write, first of all “we teach

museum studies trade while showcasing artists and

ourselves; by putting down words and by thinking about what

institutions. A necessary skill to learn is how to write an

we are writing we get to learn what our multiple responses -

effective and engaging exhibition review. Using our partnered

our likes, our dislikes, our uncertainties – add up to.”[1] You

institution, Westland Gallery, the following will provide the

may think you are writing for the instructor, but this view is a

steps to write an exhibition review by breaking the review

misconception; when you write, you are the teacher.

process into parts and giving an example of a review from the recent art exhibition: “Anna Clarey & Erica Dornbusch: A

You must imagine your audience – an imagined audience in

Chromatic Life”.

some degree determines what you, as the writer, will say – it determines the degree of technical language that may be

First things first: find a book, or teaching resource, that helps

used or defined, what kinds of evidence you need to offer in

you break down the key steps on how to write about

order to convince the reader, what degree of detail you need

art/exhibitions, then you can take the next step to effectively

to go into, and the amount of background material that must

write about art/exhibitions. For myself, the aide I use when

be given.[2] When you are revising, keep your audience in

writing about most museum or art related subjects is Sylvan

mind. And yes, revision is always necessary. In short,

Barnet’s, A Short Guide to Writing About Art. This has been

imagine that your reader is looking over your shoulder when

one of the best and useful gifts I have ever received in my

you are revising.

time as an undergraduate visual arts student. An exhibition review should deepen the reader’s We write about art in order to clarify and to account for our

understanding of art history, or enhance the reader’s

responses to works that interest or excite or frustrate us.

experience of works of art, or both. Writing a review requires

When putting words on paper we have to take a second and

analytic skill, but it is not identical with an analysis. The

a third look at what is in front of us and at what is within us.

review normally is concerned with a fairly large number of

Picasso said, “to know what you want to draw, you have to

works, many of which may be unfamiliar. The first paragraph

being drawing”; similarly, writing is a way of finding what you

or two of a review usually provides a helpful introduction gives

want to write, a way of learning.

some background material about the artist or movement. [1] Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2008, 10. [2] Ibid, 10.

// 19

This informs the reader/audience the intent of the writer and


how the review will progress from this point on. Barnet

Dornbusch occupy opposite gallery walls, spaced enough to

defines this process of teaching as, “gently educating readers

allow both individual and participatory interaction. The artists

– who are assumed to be non-specialists,” by providing

use similar color palettes to genuflect similarities, but the

necessary information that reader’s need to understand the

artistic styles embrace their differences as both artists seek to

exhibition, the artist’s influence, and coincidentally the

express the deep impact Ontario’s landscapes have on art

artworks themselves.[1] If an artist whose work is likely to be

and the psyche. Toronto-based artist, Anna Clarey’s work

fairly familiar to readers, you will not need to do more in your

seeks to escape the city and reconnect with nature. Canada’s

introduction than to announce the topic – in an interesting

raw beauty is reflected in the landscapes portraying popular

way – and then get down to business.

camping destinations, such as Algonquin Park, with

he respective artworks of Anna Clarey and Erica

unmistaken Canadian Shield geological formations and clear A review usually includes three key elements:


description, analysis, and evaluation: - A description tells reader what something looks like: how big

(After describing one artist, use an artwork(s) which stood out

the exhibition space is, how the works are displayed, and

most to you or accurately defines your argument.)

what the works look like (not necessarily all of them). - An analysis tells readers how some of the aspects of the exhibitions work, ie; how they interact and exert an influence overall. Think about how they are arranged and how all these create, hopefully, an immersive experience. - An evaluation tells readers whether the exhibition was worth doing, how well it was done, and whether it is worth seeing of course you will need to back up all of these judgments with evidence. To help visualize this writing technique, here is an example of a review written about Westland gallery’s exhibition: “Anna Clarey & Erica Dornbusch: A Chromatic Life” which the MSC was able to attend in September 2018.

Anna Clarey, “Charleston Lake Shoreline” (acrylic on canvas, 40x60).

[1] Ibid, 161.

It is already dark, the warm September wind buffets strongly on the walk to Westland Gallery for the exhibition, “Anna Clarey & Erica Dornbusch: A Chromatic Life,” nestled in London Ontario’s Wortley Village. The gallery stands out as a beacon in the dark, a cozy glow and definite chatter already audible. Upon entering the gallery space, you are immediately enveloped with the open atmosphere of the building. Simply designed, the exhibition space fills two levels with the artworks of both artists. (Now that you have set the scene, introducing the gallery it is time to move onto the artists and their artworks – to make this more impactful, make sure to refer to how the gallery space and the atmosphere helps play into the artworks.)

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Immediately upon entering the space, the first artwork to catch visitors’ eyes are Clarey’s “Charleston Lake Shoreline” (figure. 1), which takes up the full back wall of the gallery. The shimmering lake waters and immaculate details draw you to the painting. Whether you have experienced the views of Canada’s northern provincial parks, or appreciate the untamed beauty of the wilderness, these paintings emanate emotional and memorial feeling. (At this point, you can introduce the other artist, or if it is an single-artist show, you can use another artwork example.)

Turning to the left, visitors are introduced to the second participating artist, London-local Erica Dornbusch, who uses an examination of light from the perspective of a visually impaired artist with extreme light sensitivity. As Dornbusch explains, her paintings seek to study light as both a physical and metaphorical topic, where both “Outside Light in its physical permutation” and the “Light Inside” ones-self are explored.[1] The large canvases illustrate Dornbusch’s response to the question, “What do you see?”, emphasizing a moving connection between artist and viewer to impart an understanding of the artist’s condition and encounters with life. [1] Westland Gallery, “An Examination of Light with Erica Dornbusch,” on Westland Gallery Blog, July 22, 2018, accessed November 18, 2018,

(Time to include an example of an artwork from the exhibition.) Erica Dornbusch, “Isthmus Bay Kalein” (acrylic on canvas, 40x48).

Throughout the exhibition, the illusion of light is represented as contrast with shadow or variations in value and color on

It is interesting that two distinct styles and artist

the two-dimensional plane within the paintings. However,

techniques can create a seemingly cohesive symmetry

mood and story are also affected by the impression of implied

through emotive feeling and narratives. The depiction of

light source. This can imply a directional or reflective space

Ontario’s beautiful landscapes allows an emotional

dependent on the viewer’s personal experiences, affecting

connectivity between artists Anna Clarey and Erica

too, the intersection between subject and shadow giving a

Dornbusch, the artworks themselves, and visitors’

complexity to the artworks. In Dornbusch’s painting, “Isthmus

interactions. At Westland Gallery’s exhibition, the hanging

Bay Kalein” (figure 2), there is an imbued story to the painting

of the artworks across from one-another encouraged a

which shows marks her daughter’s crossing of Isthmus Bay

collaboration of narratives, creating a collective of shared

while battling the effects of multiple sclerosis.[1] The painting

experiences and stories through the beautifully depicted

is two-fold, reflecting the artist/mother’s perspective, and also

landscapes. Once the tour of the gallery space is

creating the story of her daughter, which is then viewed by

complete, conversations and new experiences made, it is

the audience. This boundless narrative symbolizes the effects

time to leave. The pervading darkness of the September

of light and landscape which takes on new meanings

evening is barely registered, the new memories and

dependent on the viewer’s personal interpretation and

shared stories created by the artworks brightening the

experience of the subject matter.

night. • J. Matthys

(At this point, a direct link between the two artists’ intent and going back to your thesis is crucial. This can act as a conclusion, or if you are writing a longer review, can be drawn to link to further research.)

[1] Erica Dornbusch, “Isthmus Bay Kalein,” September 18, 2018, accessed November 18, 2018,

// 21

Checklist for Writing an Exhibition Review – courtesy of Sylvan Barnet’s comprehensive writing aide, A Short Guide to Writing About Art: Have I asked myself the following questions? 1. Is the title informative and engaging? 2. Do the opening paragraphs give your readers the appropriate amount of background? And do they give the reader an idea dog your thesis? 3. Does the review provide the appropriate factual information (e.g., approximate size of the exhibition, concept behind the exhibition, light and labeling and other methods of display, freshness of the material)? 4. Are the value judgments expressed in the review supported by evidence? 5. If you include an illustration, does this illustration help the readers to see an important point? 6. If the topic is highly controversial, have you stated at least one other view in aw ay that would satisfy its proponents and, thus, demonstrated your familiarity with the issue and your fairness? 7. Is the tone appropriate? (Sarcasm is rarely appropriate.) 8. Is the review the assigned length? Bibliography Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2008.

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witnessing reclamation: rebecca belmore's facing the monumental Natalie scola Rebecca Belmore is an Anishinaabe artist who uses

The video shows Belmore carrying a broom, flowers and

performance and installation art to discuss the inequalities and

bucket before she sweeps clean the pavement and kneels.

challenges faced by Indigenous people. The exhibition Facing

She ceremoniously scrubs the ground as if to clean it of the

the Monumental (AGO, July to October 2018) uses multimedia

violence it has seen. Belmore then begins to call out the

installations, photography, video and sculpture to bring

names of the MMIW that are written across her arms; she

awareness to a variety of issues and topics pertinent to

tears apart a rose with her teeth after saying each name.

Indigenous and settler peoples alike, including missing and

Belmore pulls on a red dress over her head, and nails it to a

murderedIndigenous women (MMIW), tainted water supplies and

telephone pole, then desperately tries to free herself, pulling

the ongoing legacy of residential schools. The installations are

the dress the shreds.

spread throughout Walker Court, some in open spaces (Thin Red Line) and others in smaller rooms (Named/Unnamed). Video

The performance ends with Belmore and the bystanders

installations like Fountain and Named/Unnamedare viewed in

lighting tea candles. The video is interspersed with flashing

small spaces, adding a sense of claustrophobia and

lights, screwed directly into the wall on which the video is

discomfort. At Pelican Falls is situated on the floor between two

projected. The lights are meant to intervene in the

viewing rooms, preventing people from walking through what

performance, drawing attention to the spectacle of

would normally be an open passageway. Thus, viewers are

performance. The names Belmore used in the performance

directed into a large room where there are other installations;

were taken from a RMPC task force poster; many of these

while most of the gallery is free flowing, this one “blockage”

women were the victims of serial killer Robert Pickton. Pickton

stands out.

was found guilty of murdering a number of women from the Downtown Eastside over a 20 year period. Belmore’s act of

Belmore is upfront in her confrontation of Canadian

cleaning the sidewalk was partly to clean it of its violence, but

colonialism. Canada is often hailed as a free and tolerant

it was also a domestic act, one rooted in domestic femininity,

nation made up of kind people. For decades, there was little

easily overlooked and ignored like the missing women.

discussion of the state violence against Indigenous people,

Belmore’s work represents an act of reclamation and healing

who were- and still are- treated as a lesser class by many

in the fact of traumatic events.

government policies, and by many people living in Canada. Settlers live on Indigenous land and Belmore’s work

Water is another important theme in Belmore’s work.

constantly reminds viewers that the land is part of

Water is life giving and a symbol of renewal. However, it is

Indigenous culture. Named/Unnamed is a video of a 2002

a politically charged issue as many Indigenous

performance in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a low

communities have no access to clean water. Fountainwas

income neighbourhood notorious for having unsolved cases

Canada’s entry to the 2005 Venice Biennale and shows

of MMIW.

the power and complexity of water. The installation is set in a darkened room where a waterfall drowns out all other noise. Onto the water is projected a video of Belmore.

// 23

It begins in the water, where we see Belmore struggling to rise

Facing the Monumentalbrings a breadth of Belmore’s work

out of the sea. She emerges, holding a bucket; moving towards

together, focusing on issues that are extremely relevant. I

the camera she hurls the bucket’s contents to the screen. The

very much was intrigued by her work that made explicit

water and the screen turn red and the video ends with a red

reference to colonialism because Canadians still profit off of

washed Belmore glaring at the camera. The

colonial exploitation. Quote, Misquote, Facttakes a rubbing

word Fountainconjures up images of European culture, but that

of John A. McDonald’s imperialist works from the base of

is now being changed with implications of Indigenous struggle.

his monument in Kingston.Thin Red Linetakes its name

By presenting a commentary about water on a screen of water,

from Kipling’s “Tommy”, written about British sacrifice and

Belmore makes the issues inseparable. Water becomes blood

imperialist expansion. The instillation of coats brings to

and blood becomes water; the viewer feels a sense of

mind mass graves and question the presence of the body.

responsibility to the preservation of the element.

In all of Belmore’s work, the colonialist mindset is brought into question. Viewers are made uncomfortable when

Water and reconciliation are seen in another of the works, At

confronted with the reality that they might benefit from the

Pelican Falls. This multimedia instillation is found between two

oppression of Indigenous people. As viewers, we have a

of the smaller rooms, a large pool of denim obstructing the

responsibility to help heal the transgressions of the past.

hallway. A figure of denim rises out of the denim spread; from

Belmore’s art can help change the narrative and start a

one angle, the back is to the viewer. Text written by Belmore’s

new chapter of reconciliation. • Natalie Scola

sister Florence adorns the wall and is accompanied by a shelf holding pictures of boys turned away from the camera. On a back wall, a video shows water and a boy, rising out of a lake and splashing water over himself. Water is seen as a life-force, something that gives but also takes. The denim spread and figure echo the boys’ denim jackets but also look like water. The figure in the denim reflects the figure in the video; people are water but can be taken by water too. The denim blocking the pathway of visitors represents how water can block paths in the real world through its destructive force. The name of the work, Pelican Falls, is a reference to the Pelican Falls residential school; this work is a way to reclaim and heal from the horrors of the oppressive school system. The turned back of the denim figure and photographs question who is the viewer and reject the viewer’s gaze. The trapped figure can be an illusion for the students who were trapped in the school and died. However, water is transformative and can signal rebirth, a kind of reconciliation from the horrors of the past. Rebecca Belmore, installation view, At Pelican Falls, Art Gallery of Ontario. Image courtesy of Adam Mulder

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BRENDA FUHRMAN Feature artist

Brenda Fuhrman, feature artist adam mulder


t is a cold fall November day when I walk across campus to the Visual Arts Centre (VAC) to interview

Brenda Fuhrman: the Feature Artist for this quarter’s newsletter. I have known Brenda now for just over two years now, and I can safely say she is one of the most interesting and charming people you will ever meet. Brenda is a vision of your typical art student from her black clothing, to her black converse, all the way down to her signature pair of glasses with thin black acetate frames, a brass arch, and brass arms. Whenever you’re in the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre, you can find Brenda in the printmaking studios working on a new piece. It is 11 o’clock in the morning. The sun’s coming through the trees dappling the sidewalk. As I head into the VAC, I check my phone to see Brenda’s ETA (estimated time of arrival); she will arrive in ten minutes. I get comfortable as time passes, and see Brenda walking through the door. In typical Brenda fashion, she has a big smile on her face, she’s wearing all black, and she has her black acetate and brass glasses on. We head next-door to the North Campus building, grab some coffees, and sit down in a couple of club chairs. Sun fills the atrium overlooking the Thames River as we start the interview. • A. Mulder

Adam Mulder: Why did you decide to get your Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) after your careers as a nurse and lawyer? Brenda Fuhrman: I’ve always wanted to go to art school forever, but I was worried about making a living—and I always wanted to be a nurse too — and I thought, “I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life.” I didn’t mind, but, you know, you get burnt out. So I went to law school, but in between there I thought I wanted to go to OCAD. But, still thinking with practical stuff, I decided to mix mental health law and nursing. And then when I retired from nursing, because I still kept that up (Brenda laughs; “it’s so complicated,” she says), I just went, “NOW IS MY CHANCE.” So I went and talked to Sky [Glabush: painting professor at Western University], and he was so kind and nice, and he said, “sure try it.” So I tried it, and that was it. AM: Wow, I love that. BF: Yeah, and I always drew, and painted and everything, but in a suburban housewife kind of way taking lessons. But I did get a number of commissions making posters—I love posters. Working with patients and now with clients, sometimes I would draw to illustrate something. It’s a really good way of adding another layer of communication.

// 26

Image courtesy of Artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

AM: I really love how you’ve blended all three of your careers in

BF: I’m with another woman, Francis Foster, and she’s a

little ways. You said that you used to paint and draw; is there any

painter, so I decided to do all print for this one. She’s lived in

medium you like to work in most?

the neighbourhood where the gallery is for over 25 years. I just moved to there just two years ago on a part time basis,

BF: Oh I like everything. I start out with drawing though; drawing is

so my experience of the neighbourhood is mostly external. I

the basis of everything. So, pencil, pen and ink, I like to use acrylic

see the buildings that I like, I talk to mostly the shop people

as a base to experiment, and then oil. If I have a well ventilated

because, you know, you go in to buy something and you

place I like to fool around with oil. But oil’s intimidating because

have an exchange. I’m getting to make friends and such, but

you see all these amazing pictures in your art history courses or in

my contribution is external. We’re calling it “Inside Out;”

the museums, so you think, okay, what they’re doing with oil is

that’s the working title.

magic, and it takes so long to get there, but you have to be brave in everything so I’m trying everything now.

It’s kind fo a neat theme, I’m hoping. I want to do some zines. The theme for each zine will be on the little stores I go to in the neighbourhood. Because, it’s a neighbourhood, a lot of entrepreneurs are coming in; there’s a barber shop and some restaurants and corner stores. They’ve revolutionized corner stores and made them much more interesting, although they’re pretty interesting to start with. So I want to base them on my interactions with the neighbourhood. And we’re going to do some workshops on how to make zines. AM: Could you tell me why you work with zines? What draw’s you to them?

Image courtesy of Artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

AM: Now, I what you haven’t mentioned yet is your print work. I know you’re working a lot right now with relief prints. BF: Well, yes, this year. But last year I did mostly intaglio. But I do like lino; relief print. But relief can be so dramatic—it can be fine too—but the way I go at it it’s kind of more sledge hammered than fine lines (Brenda laughs). But etching is fine, and I like both, but one’s sort of dramatic and over the top, and I’m sure intaglio [etching] can be just as dramatic, but when I do it I tend to be lighter. I tried litho and it’s a long process—a lot of chemicals involved—but I’ve done that. It really lends itself to representational line work, but I’d like to get back at it and cycle through. I like print because there’s that element of chance. I think sometimes with a mistake, you end up with a really interesting

Image courtesy of Artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

work. So I try not to waste anything. I save everything. AM: Opening April 25th, you have a show in Montréal. Could you tell us a little about what we can expect?

// 27

Image courtesy of artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

Image courtesy of artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

// 28

BF: Well, it’s the fact that they’re stories that you leave around; little evidence of stories. and I like that idea of communicating. They can be anything. They can be instructional, they can be pure line; they can be anything. They’re little inexpensive things to make because you can xerox or photocopy them, and you’ve got little evidence of your art you can hand out for 10¢ or for free. But it’s hard because art can become too precious. Everyone’s going to go to Walmart to buy art if you don’t give a range of stuff for people have access to.

AM: Talking about access in your art; can you tell me a little bit about the paintings you left at bus stops around London about one year ago? BF: I really like the idea of having democratized art, and I would like to figure out ways I could make this gesture, so I thought, “I have a bunch of little paintings; little practice paintings. So I fixed them up a bit and made them a little spiffier, and hung them up on hydro poles. I wrote on the back something like, “This is your

Image courtesy of artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

piece of art, from me to you. You can keep it or throw it away—do what you want with it, but could you please email me and let me

BF: It’s interesting. He’s a really a romantic painter—not from

know if you found the painting.” And I got a few emails back. I

the romantic period—but he’s kind of nostalgic. Austria, like

only put up about six but I’d like to try that again.

Paris and Barcelona, at the turn of the 20th century, they had an amazing bloom of art, in Vienna anyway. I’m interested

AM: Quickly moving back to the work you’re producing for your

mostly in Vienna, but in Paris and Barcelona too, they had this

show in Montréal, you told me earlier that you were interested in

huge boom of creative print posters—for plays and dance and

the Austrian artist Carl Moll.

they were advertising their city; like Toulouse-Lautrec in Paris. And all these big beautiful artworks were printed so they could make a lot and put them all over the city. So that’s what I like; that’s another form of democracy. Carl Moll made some beautiful scenes in Vienna of buildings and et cetera. That inspired me to take the buildings that I like in the neighbourhood and reproduce that in my work. AM: Do you think your trip to Vienna will further influence your work? BF: I don’t know. The thing is, most of the time they don’t have posters up unless there’s a show. I should check that out further and ask. They have a lot of paintings up—a lot of painters were printmakers too. I would love to see a show of prints from Vienna. I bought a book called “Art for All,” and that’s about all the 20th century artists. The Succession people were making huge amounts of posters.

Image courtesy of artist (Brenda Fuhrman).

// 29


“Am I an animal, Jasmine?” “Yes, you’re a turtle.” We both laughed. What a weird conversation to have with someone, you might be thinking. And I might have agreed with you as well, but only before hearing and seeing Andil Gosine’s artist talk and exhibition Coolie Coolie Viens.

A friend and I had this silly conversation on our walk from Gosine’s

My friend asked me, “Am I an animal?”, after showing me a

artist talk to his exhibition at McIntosh Gallery. During his talk for the

picture of himself from when he was a child. In it, he was

Visual Arts Department’s Speaker Series Art Now!, I was nothing

sitting on a car, with his elbow on his knee and his hand

short of captivated by Gosine. I remember the very moment that I

balancing his head. His facial expression can only be

really started paying attention to Gosine’s verbal essay. It was when

described with one word: sassy. He was comparing his

Gosine recalled a story of a time where, as a child in Trinidad, he

childhood picture to Gosine’s work Coolie Colors (2016) that

was called “Coolie”- a derogatory term used historically for

showed photographs of Gosine from when he was a child,

indentured workers in the Caribbean. Growing up, I knew families

printed on Pantone fans, alongside two earthen pots with

from Trinidad & Tobago, who taught me that this word was never to

three flags (pink, yellow, red) on bamboo sticks. The pot and

be used because of its racially-charged and colonial connotations.

flags are meant to replicate jhandis, an object used by

So, I wondered why Gosine used this word in his exhibition title and

diasporic Hindus to observe and celebrate their religion away

works. I learned quite quickly during the talk that Gosine was

from their homeland. Gosine recalled that the photographs

attempting to subvert the word’s meaning. It was at this point that I

were taken in Trinidad, and his parents were the

became anxious to see his work.

photographers. Later in life, Gosine had this realization that his photos were “incredibly gay”.

I find it difficult to put into an exhibition review all of which Gosine discussed in his talk. Though, I do believe that my friend’s question really exemplified his exhibition. At least, it exemplified my own experience as an audience member to Gosine’s talk and as someone who interacted with his work on several occasions. Perhaps it came as a result of my friend’s question to me, but each time I revisited Gosine’s exhibition, I returned to one very small piece.

Everyone laughed when Gosine said this in the talk, while my friend responded with wait, I have a picture like that…

// 30

But what does having a photograph of oneself that seems “incredibly gay” mean? Well, the photographs and the pot with flags express an interesting binary. Gosine described that Coolie Colors rejects the hegemonic notion of sexuality and gender identity in contemporary discourse on LGBTQ+ rights, which promoted Western countries as more civilized because of the advancement of these rights, and non-Western ones as uncivilized or, in other words, animal. With the flags, Gosine uses the colours red, yellow and pink which are seen as evidence of the unsophisticated tastes of Indians in Trinidad. The British colonizers, who brought the Indians to the Caribbean as indentured workers, viewed these colours as unsophisticated further diminishing the aesthetics of Indians.

Here, I can only infer what Gosine is referring to. When women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights came to the fore of Canadian life and politics, these two marginalized communities were forced to prove their humanity in the face of discrimination and prejudice (transphobia, misogyny, sexism, homophobia, etc.) that often dehumanized them. The most recent example of this is the rampant transphobia seen today, that fuels a very grotesque and insidious form of violence against Trans People, and the recent changes made to Ontario’s education curriculum that excludes lessons on Trans rights by the current Conservative Provincial government and their privileged, rich, white, cisgender male premier. A historical example is the famous Person’s Case (Edwards V. Canada) of 1928, where 5

Gosine asserts in his talk that this binary is problematic because

women had to prove that they were “people” to be appointed

it does not represent the actual lived experiences of those who

to the Canadian Senate.

lived in these non-Western countries or grew up in these cultures. For Gosine, his childhood photographs are not at all concerned

This theme of animality and humanity runs throughout

with gender identity or patriarchal notions of masculinity that

Gosine’s exhibition. Gosine’s work is inspired by various

might render his photos “incredibly gay”. And yet, these photos

experiences from his life. His life in Trinidad and moving to

were taken in Trinidad, a country framed as being homophobic

Canada has obviously fuelled works like Coolie Colors.

and “behind” in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. Morever, his

Gosine’s work also explores and addresses the

parents/photographers did not attempt to correct Gosine’s poses,

intergenerational impact of the colonial system of labour that

to make him fit a gender role or expectation of masculinity. As

brought Indians and other Asians from Asia to the Caribbean,

Gosine pointed out during his talk, he was not forced to prove

to replace plantation slave labour. But, there is one

himself as a human, as a boy or girl, or, in other words, non-

experience that has really instigated this idea of animality

animal. And still, Trinidad and other non-Western countries are

and the exhibition: heartbreak. For Gosine, this feeling of

framed as uncivilized, as compared to places like Canada.

heartbreak is one of two animalistic experiences he has felt

Through CoolieColors, Gosine is interrogating this dichotomy to show the progressive ideas that exist in nonWestern countries, like Trinidad, but are often ignored. The binary established by these assumptions come to dominate

in his life, with the other being lust. There are multiple works in his exhibition, but the three below along with the aforementioned, express this animality/humanity dichotomy in the clearest way for me.

discourse about the politics and cultures of these countries, and upholds the notion of Western countries as more civilized. What becomes clear in his work is that from childhood, Gosine, and perhaps others in the Caribbean, were allowed to be people first, without any gender roles imposed upon them. There is something inherently free in this experience of not having to prove one’s humanity, that Gosine points out is not necessarily experienced in Canada, today.

// 31

Upon entering the gallery, I noticed an antique-looking table in

When I moved into the West Gallery, I was searching for

the corner with a stack of colourful sleeves filled with CDs,

one work that Gosine mentioned in his talk; (Made in

only to realize that this is one of Gosine’s works Coolie

Love) (2014). What Gosine does in this work is so

Music (2017). The back of the CD sleeve shows a mixtape of

insightful; he subverts the discriminatory assumption that

romantic songs, “a coolie mixtape”, but none of these songs

people in non-Western countries/Global South do not

are on the CD. All of the CDs in the stack are different, but all

experience complex feelings of love and romance. There is

include famous romantic albums. Some of the CDs are well-

a false assumption that those in the Global South only

known heartbreak albums -ones that even I must

married and had children out of economic necessity; but for

uncomfortably admit are quite personal to me- and others that

Gosine, he had always witnessed a strong, romantic love

are notorious for their expressions of irrational love and

between his parents in Trinidad. (Made in Love) shows a

passion. On the “Coolie” music mixtape, I am delighted to see

photograph of his parents around the time of Gosine’s

a popular chutney*song, “Real Unity” by Drupatee, that very

conception, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. A video

explicitly expresses feelings of lust and romantic love. What a

plays over this photograph of an individual singing and

perfect addition to the exhibition, I think to myself as I walk

dancing to the British pop ballad “A Whiter Shade of Pale”,

into the East Gallery.

a favorite of Gosine’s father. During an exhibition tour, Gosine said, “I began to use this image of my parents in

In the East Gallery of McIntosh, I’m witness to Gosine’s other

international development contexts to counter its dominant

animalistic experience; lust. Projected on the wall is a video

representations of Third World peoples, whether it was as

diptych of Natures: A Guerilla Girl Story (2014), with audio-

the heterosexual, over-reproducing poor, or the reckless

excerpts from an interview between artists Lorraine O’Grady

HIV/AIDS-spreading homosexual animals…” By using this

and Andil Gosine. It’s an adaptation of O’Grady’s The

photograph and song together, Gosine breaks down the

Clearing, a feminist art work exploring ideas of race, gender,

discriminatory stereotypes that those in Western countries

identity, diaspora and aesthetics. On one side of the video

hold with regards to those in the Global South, that

diptych, Gosine and another kiss lustfully, animalistically,

contributed to the dichotomy of Western countries as

aggressively; on the second side of the video, the pair kiss

civilized, and non-Western ones as “animal”.

each other lovingly, romantically, softly. The animalistic experience of lust is obvious in the former video, but the latter

Gosine’s exhibition is much more than my review could

feels constructed, not natural. The use of the video diptych

express. I do think attending the talk and reading the

juxtaposes these two actions and, as a result, the lovingness,

essays in the exhibition catalogue furthered my

romanticness, softness does not feel normal. Something about

understanding of Gosine’s works. I would recommend

the animalistic lust feels right. The other doesn’t. I found

reading the essays in the Coolie Coolie Viensexhibition

myself looking at the “animal” lust more, but this is arguably as

catalogue, as they are insightful analyses on Gosine’s work

a result of hearing Gosine’s talk beforehand, and my desire to

and exhibition altogether. And the mixtapes in Coolie

look for this theme of animality and lust in his works.

Music (along with various other takeaways), allows me to experience the exhibition long after I’ve left the space.

// 32

Andil Gosine, Coolie Colors (detail), 2015. Clay, bamboo, cotton, paper. Image courtesy of the artist and McIntosh Gallery.

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For my review, I purposely focused on the works that spoke to me almost immediately, or the ones that stood out to me during Gosine’s talk. Coolie Colors did mean the most to me, because it was this work that made me realize that all of the Gosine’s works were deeply personal expressions of various sociohistorical circumstances. As a Canadian-born child of Indian immigrant family, I found aspects of my own identity wrapped up in Gosine’s work. But it mostly made me realize that my silly conversation with my friend from before was more profound than I initially thought. His asking “Am I an animal?” was really the perfect segue from Gosine’s talk into the exhibition. And so, I suppose my friend isa turtle. But then again, if Gosine’s work has showed me anything, it’s that whether or not we try to deny it, we’re all animals. • J. Sihra *chutney is a genre of music famous in the Caribbean, specifically in countries like Trinidad & Tobago.

About the Artist: Andil Gosine is Associate Professor in Cultural and Artistic Practices at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. Dr. Gosine’s research, writing, and arts practices consider imbrications of ecology, desire and power. His scholarly publications include articles in the journals Small Axe, Topia Journal of Cultural Studies, Alternatives, South Asian Studies, Sexualities, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, and Canadian Woman Studies, as well as contributions to many anthologies and magazines including Art in America and ARC. His more recent arts practice began in 2011, and his work has since been performed and exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Jamaica Performing Arts Centre, Supernova, the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University and Queens Museum in the USA, Transmission and Golden Thread galleries in the UK, and O’Born Contemporary, Glenhyrst Gallery, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Canada. Dr. Gosine was born in Trinidad, until his family's subsequent move to Canada. He has since also lived in France, Britain and the United States.

// 34

Art gallery of ontario: anthropocene Madeleine Ghesquiere


ike the issue of environmental crisis itself, the

There were some more subtle ways the exhibition minimized its

Anthropocene exhibition should not be evaluated simplistically.

environmental impact as well: it used reusable metal bars with a

At first glance, the exhibition is stunning: gorgeous prints, huge

fabric backdrop to mount the photos on, rather than using

photographic murals, exciting technology, and a dramatic

resource-intensive temporary walls, and used simple reusable

presentation. After the dazzle wears off though, the question of

frames. In addition, although difficult to verify, the prints

what good it is actually doing creeps in. What is it supposed to

appeared to be inkjet prints rather than chromogenic prints;

do? The artists say they want their work to be “revelatory not

while inkjet printing still involves toxic chemicals, it is more

accusatory” and declare that “the shifting of consciousness is

environmentally friendly than the chromogenic process. Inkjet

the beginning of change.” Given the amount of media

printing also results in less glossy and vivid photos, which can

coverage it has garnered in recent years, it is hard to imagine

be read as an attempt to combat accusations that the works are

that there are many people who would be unaware of

overly aestheticized. The open geometry of the layout in the first

environmental issues, especially among those visiting the

room of the exhibition allowed visitors to tour through it in

exhibition. So what does Anthropocene add to the discussion?

whatever way they pleased, and subtly encouraged strangers to engage with each other around the works as it allowed

First of all, it seems fair to start with what Anthropocene does

groupings of people to form and flow, and the lack of barriers

well, and the steps that were taken to make it more

made it impossible to not overhear other conversations.

environmentally friendly. A panel near the end of the exhibition explains that the artists have purchased carbon offsets to counterbalance the CO2 created by producing the project (although it is unclear if that includes the exhibition itself, or just the work therein), and mentions some of the AGO's eco-friendly initiatives. Other panels and screens nearby explain what a carbon footprint is and offer ideas of ways for individuals to lessen their own, explain how the works shown connect to daily life, and provide some other information about environmental issues. As visitors exit, they have to pass a large panel listing “Anthropocene talks, events, and more,” and banners along the hallway outside of the exhibition exit promote an “Into the Anthropocene” podcast. Apparently, a plethora of resources for those wanting to enact change, but unfortunately, resources that are not all available after leaving the exhibition.

Augmented reality trigger for ivory tusk pile, installation view, Anthropocene, Art Gallery of Ontario. Image courtesy of Adam Mulder

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However, despite all of these positive qualities, there are some

In the end, Anthropocene takes steps towards what an eco-

serious issues that prevent Anthropocene from being touted as

friendly exhibition should ideally be, but it remains to be seen

being truly “green” or as an effective catalyst for change. The

whether it is powerful enough to initiate real change beyond

exhibition uses vinyl labels throughout, which cannot be reused

itself, or if it will prove to be another aesthetic greenwashing

and will become trash after the exhibition closes. The iPads used

gimmick. It is reminiscent of Olafur Eliasson's “Ice Watch”

to access the exciting new technology in the exhibition will likely

installation of icebergs in Paris, where the question is whether it

have a high rate of attrition, requiring significant resources to both

is justified, whether the cost of creating is worth whatever

recycle and replace. There are also those who question whether

“awareness” it causes or influence it has. Given the prominence

the aestheticizing of these human impacts has been taken too

of environmental concerns in the news, it may also be difficult

far, lessening the horror or scale of them. Other times, the works

to gauge what effect this exhibition has amid the flood of the

are misleading in different ways, as in the enormous mural

larger movement. It is also possible that the kinds of changes it

depicting a coral reef in vivid rainbow hues that are not actually

causes will not be obvious or of the expected kind. Perhaps it

visible to the naked eye. Or yet more disturbing, the time lapse

will signal a change in the way that museums and curators

video of coral bleaching in which pieces of coral were extracted

approach exhibitions, where they opt for more environmentally

from the wild and killed in a lab under the artists' direction; are the

friendly alternatives. • Madeleine Ghesquiere

artists justified in contributing to the destruction of coral reefs in the name of “awareness” and “art”? What concrete good will it do?

Augmented reality of ivory tusk pile, installation view, Anthropocene, Art Gallery of Ontario. Image courtesy of Adam Mulder

Bibliography Burtynsky, Edward, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier. “Anthropocene.” Accessed 10 October 2018.

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The Museum Studies Collective (MSC)'s Newsletter is published online every quarter, and can be read on the MSC website, Contributors permit future copying of their works only for the purposes of educating the pubic on museum, art, heritage, or education matters. Copyright remains with the author or creator. Credit must be given to the author or creator and to the source(s) used, to the MSC on all copies made. No work can be reprinted in any published form without permission of the copyright holder. The content of MSC News does not contain nor reflect any opinion, position or influence of the Board of Directors or the Editor and the editing team. Submitted articles must be in Microsoft Word format. Images must be sent as .JPG attachments in high quality resolution (300 dpi). Do not embed the images in the text of the article. Captions and credits need to be provided. Newspaper articles as updates to MSC activities cannot be used without permission of the newspaper and/or the original author. Articles are published in the language they are received. ARTWORK SUBMISSIONS can be submitted through the "MSC Art Submission Form" at: WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS can be submitted through the "MSC Written Work Submission Form" at:

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CONTACT: All inquiries, questions, comments, and concerns can be directed to:

FREQUENCY: The Museum Studies Collective's Newsletter is published four times per year:: January (WINTER), April (SPRING), July (SUMMER), and October (AUTUMN).

All right reserved. Any reproduction of the contents without written authorization from the Museum Studies Collective is strictly prohibited. The Museum Studies Collective cannot be held responsible for loss of, or damage to, unsolicited materials.


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ABOUT THE MSC. MANDATE The Museum Studies Collective (MSC) is an entirely student run organization, offering student volunteers to assist as administrators, content-writers, and student peer reviewers. VISION To be recognized as an essential networking and publishing destination for students, emerging museum professionals, and established museum professions. MISSION To inspire wonder and promote learning by sharing stories and work; to serve as a forum for diverse communities; to create knowledge that contributes to a better future; to assist with the networking of students and museum professionals; and to produce quality publications. VALUES The MSC’s core values are: Learning – by promoting curiosity, discovery, and teaching. Engagement – by encouraging student and interdisciplinary involvement in the museum and art community. Authoritativeness – by upholding rigorous inquiry, research, and professional integrity. Innovation – by being forward-thinking, open to new ideas, and knowledge by exchange and cooperation. Interdisciplinary – by taking into consideration and promoting the discussion of art and museums by various kinds of professionals. Inclusiveness – by encouraging students and professionals with diverse backgrounds to participate in discussions and publish their work. Diversity – by actively including and searching for perspectives which diverge from popular cultural narratives.

CONTACT: All inquiries, questions, comments, and concerns can be directed to:

FREQUENCY: The Museum Studies Collective's Newsletter is published four times per year:: January (WINTER), April (SPRING), July (SUMMER), and October (AUTUMN).

All right reserved. Any reproduction of the contents without written authorization from the Museum Studies Collective is strictly prohibited. The Museum Studies Collective cannot be held responsible for loss of, or damage to, unsolicited materials.


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The Museum Studies Collective Š 2019

FREQUENCY: The Museum Studies Collective's Newsletter is published four times per year:: January (WINTER), April (SPRING), July (SUMMER), and October (AUTUMN).

All right reserved. Any reproduction of the contents without written authorization from the Museum Studies Collective is strictly prohibited. The Museum Studies Collective cannot be held responsible for loss of, or damage to, unsolicited materials.


// 39

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