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.


ARTIST BIOS

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. Her recent works explore the themes of social relationships, media, and consumerism. Her current work aims to explore systems of privilege and oppression, and observe human identities on both personal and political levels. Instagram: @ashna.jpeg

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.  Andy is a 2022 United States Artists fellow, 2022-2023 Leonardo Crip Tech Incubator fellow and a 2018 3Arts/Bodies of Work fellow at the University of Illinois Chicago. In 2020 Andy was acknowledged for his art  by the New York Times in their article, “28 Ways To Learn About Disability Culture.” Andy’s current work focuses on advocacy  for accessible art and technology, Alt-Text for sound and image, the phonology of the blind body, spatial audio for extended reality, and sound design for film, dance, and video games. Www.thisisandyslater.net

Dayna Danger (they/them) is a Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer, Métis-Saulteaux-Polish, visual artist, hide tanner, drummer, and beadworker. Danger’s art practice is an act of reclaiming space and power over society’s projections of sexualities and representation. This transpires in Danger’s art by their intentionally large-scale images that place importance on women-identified, Two-Spirit, transgender, and non-binary people. Their art uses symbolic references to kink communities to critically interrogate visibility and rejection. Danger centers Kin and practicing consent to build artworks that create a suspension of reality wherein complex dynamics of sexuality, gender, and power are exchanged.

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. In 2015, she performed her poetry for the first time at a Toronto subway station — an experience which gave her the confidence to perform in RARE Theatre’s latest production After the Blackout. Created by Judith Thompson — winner of the Governor General’s Award, Order of Canada and Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award — the play brings together a cast of artists who are deaf, blind or living with brain injury or lost limbs.

Stephanie E Creaghan (they/them) 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. Their first major solo exhibition, Hideous Intimacies, was presented at Projet Pangée in 2019. Recent exhibitions and works include Soleil-astre, soleil-arbre, a public sculpture installed at Outremont Park (Montreal), There’s a Lot You Can Do With a Hammer with Michelle Furlong at TAP Art Space, and The Dailies, a solo show at Projet Pangée. They have exhibited and performed in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Chicago, New York, LA, Paris, and Prague. and completed international residencies in Paris, France, Stolpe/Oder, Germany, and Wexford, Ireland, as well as at the Centre for Expanded Poetics in Montreal. http://www.stephaniecreaghan.com/ https://lentretieninfini.com/

Aislinn Thomas (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, sculpture, installation, and text. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, creating work that ranges from poignant to absurd, and at times straddles both. Many of Aislinn’s recent projects respond to access and disability. She gratefully works alongside and in the legacy of so many who–often out of necessity–treat both as spaces for creative acts. Aislinn is a white settler of Ashkenazic and British descent. She lives in Unama’ki, on ancestral and unceded Mi’kmaw territory.

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. She has exhibited her work in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, London, Ontario, and throughout New Brunswick. She has a Masters in Visual Culture from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD. Dykeman is an instructor at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. Open to experimental venues, her work has found its way into galleries, exercise studios, a rare book library, and a geodesic dome. gilliandykeman.com @gilliandykeman 

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.

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. Her practice has been supported by numerous awards, grants and residencies.

 

CURATOR BIOS

Megan Gnanasihamany is an artist, writer, and curator in Tio’tia:ke. Their work in painting, photography, and poetic text explores the political world of images through their dissemination, collection, and reproduction, examining the image’s capacity to at once mirror and reify anew the conditions of its production. Their work can be found in Leste, Peripheral Review, Mood Magazine, and elsewhere, and they were most recently a presenting contributor at the Geopoetics Symposium 2022 at Hollyhock. 

Morgan Melenka is a visual artist based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary). She engages with sculpture and printmaking as she reproduces, modifies, and misuses familiar architectural forms and materials to engage with the world of architecture. She holds an MFA from NSCAD University and has exhibited in Canada and the US including New York, Nebraska and Tennessee. Her recent exhibitions include: Nonsuch at SNAP Gallery, the Scene at the Art Gallery of Alberta, The Works Art & Design festival, moveObjects On at the Plumb in Toronto, and There are no walls, only shimmering membranes as part of SAAG Art Library Project. She has taught visual art sessionally at NSCAD University, University of Alberta and MacEwan University. She was SNAP’s Seminar Series Coordinator 2020-2022.


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.