15 May—12 June 1997


Sprawl: An Experiment

The programming committee of Mercer Union invited four guest curators from Diverse backgrounds, nationalities and experiences to coordinate "Sprawl", and exhibition and symposium. From a wide Ontario spread, the co-curators Sylvie Fortin, R. William Hill, David Merritt and Daniella Sneppova are committed to exploring the embodied and imaginary relationships which lie between place, community, land and politics.

Sprawl: A Geography

From far off places, the four curator assembled an exhibition of seven artists: Christine Burchnall (Windsor), Sara Hartland-Rowe (London), Paul Lamothe (Toronto), Naomi and Shyrl London (Montreal), machyderm: Dermot Wilson and Christopher McNamara (Windsor and Hamilton), Greg Staats (Toronto) and Jeffrey Thomas (Ottawa).

During the long-distance collaborative process between the curators, many of the issues arising from the theme became realities to negotiate. This was also evident in the work exhibited in "Sprawl". Notions of the implicit or explicit presence of location, geography, community, institutional structures, and economic struggles of artists and curators alike, manifested itself in the work and process.

These issues were traversed in ways which did not necessarily construct polarities such as regional/national/international or centre/periphery, but instead created a space for diverse exchange. In "Sprawl," the viewer is invited to explore the many questions that arise in relation to "local" practice and post-industrial environments, identity, politics, migration and memory.
The Co-Curators