EXHIBITION: The Equivalence of Alloyed Gold

October 6, 2022 - November 26, 2022

Featuring works by Stephanie E Creaghan, Andy Slater, Gillian Dykeman, Chandra Melting Tallow, Ashna Jacob, Aislinn Thomas, Anne Macmillan, Tamyka Bullen, and Dayna Danger

Curated by Megan Gnanasihamany and Morgan Melenka

On view: October 6 – November 26, 2022

Opening Reception
Thursday, October 6th, 7 to 9 pm
401 Richmond Building, Suite 122

The making of art history is a process of translation. It flattens and unfolds through digital interfaces and methodologies of internet conservation, allowing exhibitions to spread through a temporal daisy chain of image, text, catalog, and critique. This chain of distillation — from material art object or experience to description and flat image—disseminates cultural themes, concepts, and conclusions across artistic landscapes, allowing for particular figures, galleries, and publications to become authoritative texts on contemporary work. Taking the 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition Anthropocene as its starting point, The Equivalence of Alloyed Gold is a year-long experimental commissioning and exhibition process hosted by Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC) incorporating ideas of communication and sensory translation.

Anthropocene, exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2018-2019, featured Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier’s photographs, films, and digital installations, proposing an environmental reckoning through meditations on the monumental scale of resource extraction and environmental devastation. Alloyed Gold uses a single photographic work from Anthropocene, Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #2 by Burtynsky, as the prompt for a daisy chain of interpretation between artists. The project began with curators Megan Gnanasihamany and Morgan Melenka providing Ashna Jacob, the first artist in the chain, with a text description of Burtynsky’s piece, focussing on the formal components, contexts, themes, and relevant histories as identified in the Anthropocene exhibition webpage and without identifying factors such as artist name, title, medium, or context. Jacob was invited to create a new artwork based on this description, reproducing and reinterpreting the work within her own mediums and methods. From there the chain continued: each artist passed a description of their own, newly formed artwork to a “switchboard operator”, another artist who would translate the artwork into a poetic text, again devoid of specifics like name or medium, which was sent to the next visual artist. Using the children’s game of “Telephone” as a formal conceit, Alloyed Gold questions the extent to which the work and themes exhibited in national galleries can represent a collective artistic consciousness while maintaining their own authority.

Alloyed Gold allows the imperfections of communication to pull us in directions we could not otherwise predict. As the so-called anthropocenic age is based in colonization, ableism, ongoing imperialism, and white supremacy, Alloyed Gold is a conceptual tool that seeks to configure a humble sibling to the AGO’s Anthropocene project, sticky with the complexities of power, authority, and culpability. Rooted in forms of visual description, Alloyed Gold provides opportunity to experiment with different forms of access support, building on CDCC’s commitments to accessibility in exhibition-making.

The project is made possible through creative collaboration with Kat Germain.

Location and Accessibility information

Critical Distance is located on the ground floor at 401 Richmond, a wheelchair accessible building with a ramp at the Richmond Street doors, and an accessible washroom on every level. The gallery is equipped with automatic doors and access to exhibitions, artworks, publications, and events is prioritized from development through production for all programs. This exhibition will include ASL videos and both visual description and descriptions of sound.  

If you have any questions about access, please do not hesitate to contact our Education and Accessibility Programs Director, Emily Cook at emily@criticaldistance.ca

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

About the Curator(s)

Megan Gnanasihamany

Megan Gnanasihamany is an artist, writer, and curator. Their work examines systems of power and structures of meaning within language and visual media.

Find out more

Morgan Melenka

Morgan Melenka is a visual artist from amiskwacîwâskahikan who has recently relocated to Mohkinstsis (Calgary). She engages with architecture to discuss how artifice functions in our built world, working between sculpture, installation, and printmaking through a constellation of materials that emphasize the veneer, including digitally printed fabric, vinyl, paper, ceramic tiles, mirror, and Formica.

Find out more

About the Artists

Stephanie Creaghan

Stephanie E. Creaghan is an interdisciplinary artist who makes work about how violence presents itself in communication, combining different forms of language (visual/audio/spatial/temporal) to reveal latent forms of manipulation.

Find out more

Andy Slater

Andy Slater  (he/him) is a Chicago-based media artist, writer, performer, and Disability advocate/loudmouth. He is a member of the Society of Visually Impaired Sound Artists and a teaching artist with the Atlantic Center for the Arts’ Young SoundSeekers program, Midwest Society For Acoustic Ecology, and 3Arts Disability Culture Leadership Initiative.

Find out more

Gillian Dykeman

Gillian Dykeman (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Working through an intersectional feminist and postcolonial framework, Dykeman seeks to empower her audiences in their own lives through playful and critical engagement with visual culture. Her work spans mediums and disciplines such as performance, video, sound, installation, and art criticism.

Find out more

Chandra Melting Tallow

Chandra Melting Tallow is a musician/visual artist/film-maker and semi professional lipsyncher of mixed ancestry from the Siksika Nation. They work primarily in installation and performance. Their work has been exhibited in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria and Istanbul.

Find out more

Ashna Jacob

Ashna Jacob (she/her) is a visual artist, designer and printmaker from Kerala, India. She currently resides in amiskwaciwâskahikan or so-called Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory. She works primarily in printmaking and often uses video, installation, and performance.

Find out more

Aislinn Thomas

Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, installation and text-based work. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, exploring themes of vulnerability, empathy, possibility and failure.

Find out more

Anne Macmillan

Anne Macmillan is currently based in K’jipuktuk (Halifax). She makes digital animations and drawings to consider relationships with what is unknown, and the appearance of things. She received her masters degree from MIT on a Fulbright scholarship, and a BFA from NSCAD university.

Find out more

Tamyka Bullen

Tamyka Bullen (she/her) is a Deaf artist and performer. As a social justice advocate, she has volunteered and worked with youth, deaf women, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities.

Find out more

Dayna Danger

Dayna Danger is a 2Spirit/Queer, Metis/Saulteaux/Polish visual artist raised in so called Winnipeg, MB. Using photography, sculpture, performance and video, Dayna Danger‘s practice questions the line between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with her larger than life scale work.

Find out more