Erika DeFreitas is a Scarborough-based multidisciplinary conceptual artist. Placing an emphasis on process, gesture and documention, her work explores the influence of language, loss and culture on the formation of identity, with the use of textile-based works, and performative actions, which are photographed. Her work has been exhibited in venues such as Project Row Houses (Houston), Gallery 44 (Toronto), Angell Gallery (Toronto), Pollock Gallery (Dallas), Platform Centre for Photographic & Digital Arts (Winnipeg) and the Art Gallery of Mississauga.
Longlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award, a recipient of the Toronto Friends of Visual Arts’ 2016 Finalist Artist Prize and the 2016 John Hartman Award, DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.
My interdisciplinary practice draws on both personal and cultural histories to investigate the qualities of absence and presence, which comes from my curiosity with the various forms of loss one encounters, and a fear of the loss one anticipates encountering; such as the loss of an opportunity, a memory, identity, or of a loved one. I explore the dichotomy of absence and presence through textile-based practices, and performative actions that are photographed; this places an emphasis on process, gesture, and documentation – all relating to ways of affirming one’s presence. This is further emphasized in my use of large scale photographs that are often installed as serial/sequential images. What has evolved in my investigation is a playful obsession to find ways to make the impermanent permanent, or to engage in ritualistic acts with the hopes of regaining what is lost. A key component in my practice involves embracing the unpredictability of loss, while conceptually developing ways to highlight different aspects of loss in a contemporary context.