Intervals is a digital image commission that engages the in-between—intervening times, spaces, pauses, and breaks in activity—as taken up by artistic practice. Presented on the Mercer Union website and Instagram, this program invites artists to consider their experience of temporality through its disruption, and the sense of before, during, and after that is punctuated in the process of reflection.
19 May—31 August 2020
Rouzbeh Akhbari is an artist working in video, installation and film. His practice is research-driven and usually exists at the intersections of critical architecture, human geography and storytelling. Through a delicate examination of the violences and intimacies that occur at the boundaries of lived experience and constructed histories, Akhbari uncovers the minutiae of power that regiments the world around us. He holds a BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University, and a graduate degree in Visual Studies from University of Toronto’s school of Architecture, Landscape and Design.
Obsessed with passage of time during quarantine, Akhbari began a new fictocritical novel inspired by his late grandfather, Mahmoud Dehnavi’s unpublished drawings. The plot of his upcoming book revolves around circadian rhythms and various approaches to temporality in political Islam in connection to early 17th century anti-colonial warfare in the Persian Gulf. The following posts compile some of the soundscapes and materials informing the story.
Audio mixing by Shaahin Peymani.
Francisco-Fernando Granados is a Toronto-based artist. His practice extends from performance and drawing into a range of media that includes site-specific installation, moving image, text, public and participatory projects. He draws from refugee and queer experiences by using conceptual approaches and abstraction as strategies to structure the work. These strategies challenge perceptions regarding the stability of identity categories, while searching for moments of agency within narratives of struggle. Through these moments, the work seeks to articulate configurations of desire rather than expressions of need.
Maggie Groat is an artist who utilizes a range of media including works on paper, sculpture, textiles, site-specific interventions and publications to interrogate methodologies of collage and salvage practices. Her current research surrounds site-responsiveness, shifting territory, alternative and decolonial ways-of-being, gardens, slowness, margins, and the transformative potentials of found and ritual materials. Her practice is informed by her Skarú:ręʔ and Settler backgrounds, her roles as mother and environmental steward. She is a lecturer in Visual Studies at the University of Toronto and lives with her partner and three children on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Chonnonton, and Anishnaabeg.
Aaron Jones practice surrounds ideas of self-reflection and character-building, as a way of finding peace. Often using found images, videos, and lens-based media, he works with different forms of collage to build characters and spaces relating to surreal yet personal experiences. Whether it be physical mark-making on paper or overlapping content digitally, through a cathartic and ritualistic practice of deconstructing and rebuilding, his world aims to be a resolve for aspects of intergenerational trauma. His use of visual and creative fusion asks, both through its production and its process: How do we make our own [world] from what is given?
Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include: Zalucky Contemporary, Toronto (2020); Xpace Cultural Centre, Toronto (2020); Forest City Gallery, London (2019); Superframe, Toronto (2019); YYZ Artist Outlet, Toronto (2019); Toronto Image Works (2019); Art Gallery of Guelph (2018); The Margin of Eras Gallery, Toronto (2018); Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, Toronto (2018); OCAD University Ignite Gallery (2018); CONTACT Gallery, Toronto (2017); and Oakville Galleries (2017).
Karen Kraven is a Montreal-based artist working with photography, sculpture and installation. Influenced by her father’s (and his father’s) knitting factory that stopped manufacturing the year she was born and by the physicality of textiles, her practice explores the ways clothing registers the body–how the body is unfinished, unstable and under interrogation–pointing to the sustained impact of work, wounds and wear.
Most recently, she has been working with off-cuts and scraps, as well as deconstructing and reconstructing unwearable garments. These works expose the vulnerability of grief, the resistance of the unfinished garment and the strength of their seams.
Anne Low is based in Montréal, Canada. Her practice includes sculpture, installation, textiles and printmaking to investigate how particular expressive forms are able to unhinge themselves from historical contingency and speak to contemporary subjects such as the domestic, the decorative, utility and taste. Her work speaks to wider narratives around the impulse to individuate object and self and how the impulse to decorate is a desire that extends through history and is expressed onto the planes and surfaces of domestic interiors and objects.
Hazel Meyer is an artist who works with installation, performance, and text to investigate the relationships between sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Their work aims to recover the queer aesthetics, politics, and bodies often effaced within histories of infrastructure, athletics and illness.
Hazel’s current project The Weight of Inheritance looks to the legacy of Canadian artist and experimental filmmaker Joyce Wieland to work across questions of non-biological inheritance, dispossession, care and desire. She uses a motley crew of marble, holes, and trompe l’oeil to do this.
Hazel presently lives on the West Coast of Canada with their partner Cait McKinney and dog Regie Concordia.
Dana Michel is a choreographer and live artist. She is currently touring three solo performance works, Yellow Towel, Mercurial George and CUTLASS SPRING. In 2014, she was awarded the newly created ImPulsTanz Award (Vienna) in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments, and was highlighted among notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. In 2017, she has been awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance at the Venice Biennale. In 2018, she became the first ever dance artist in residence at the National Arts Centre, Canada. Recently, she was awarded the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. Based in Montreal, she is an associate artist with Par B.L.eux.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a 2SQ Vuntut Gwitchin artist working in performance, sound, textiles, collaboration, workshops and feral scholarship. They are now living in the ancestral, unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples and teaching at UBC.
Walter Scott b. 1985, is an interdisciplinary artist working across comics, drawing, video, performance and sculpture. His comic series, Wendy, chronicles the continuing misadventures of a young artist in a satirical version of the contemporary art world. Wendy has been featured in Canadian Art, Art in America, and published online on the New Yorker. Recent exhibitions include Slipping on the Missing X, Macaulay Fine Art (Vancouver), and Betazoid in a Fog, Walter’s first museum solo presentation, in 2018, at the Remai Modern in Saskatoon. Walter was recently an artist-in-residence, at the ISCP, in Brooklyn, New York. His new graphic novel, Wendy, Master of Art, is available from Drawn and Quarterly in June 2020.
Erica Stocking is an artist working primarily in sculpture, performance and installation. Her works explore the uncanny through conflation of binary systems questioning where value is located and where both an individual’s and an object’s sense of agency occurs. Her work has been shown in a number of exhibitions and her most recent project, The Artist’s Studio Is her Bedroom: a choreographed statement of autobiographical art making, is currently on exhibit at The Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. She received her BFA from the Emily Carr Institute in 2004 and is currently pursuing her MFA at OCAD University in Toronto.
Amy Wong (b. 1981, Toronto) is an Angry Asian feminist disguised as an oil painter. Her practice ranges from painting-based installation to collaborative projects that explore the politics of making noise, and conditioning spaces that allow for thinking through together. Wong completed her MFA at York University, Toronto and post-graduate studies at De Ateliers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Forthcoming projects include a solo exhibition at Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, NS, and Exchange Piece, DesignTO at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON.
Shellie Zhang (b. 1991, Beijing, China) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Canada. By uniting both past and present iconography with the techniques of mass communication, language and sign, Zhang’s work deconstructs notions of tradition, gender, the diaspora, and popular culture while calling attention to these subjects in the context and construction of a multicultural society. She is interested in exploring how integration, diversity and assimilation is implemented and negotiated, how this relates to lived experiences, how culture is learned, relearned and sustained, and how things are remembered and preserved. Zhang has exhibited at venues including WORKJAM (Beijing), Asian Art Initiative (Philadelphia) and Gallery 44 (Toronto). She is a member of EMILIA-AMALIA, a feminist reading and writing group. Recent and upcoming projects include exhibitions at Artspace (Peterborough), Patel Gallery (Toronto), AKA Artist-Run (Saskatoon) and the Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, Alaska).