Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to present:
Summer Institute 2023: Slow Wonderings
led by faculties Maggie Groat and Crystal Mowry
August 7 – 19, 2023
This year’s iteration of Summer Institute will be lead by artist Maggie Groat and curator, Crystal Mowry. This year the faculty leaders will work together through their respective cultural practices to guide participants through a collaborative inquiry-based learning and sharing program. On the final day of the program, there will be an open studio.
During a discussion in preparation for Summer Institute 2023, there was a moment where we shared a mutual longing for more of two rarities in our late-capitalist lives: slowness and curiosity. There is, of course, the colloquial wisdom that “many hands make light work” but what might we learn from decelerated labour? What common wisdom might we apply to work with objectives that aren’t clear from the outset, work with value that might only come about through a slow reveal? What kinds of spaces allow for strange encounters? How are discoveries that have the ability to surprise us facilitated by slowness, deep looking, and moving into unexpected spaces?
During this time we hope to embrace radical/critical pedagogies and prompts that share a kinship with the Black Mountain College ethos of self-directed and collaborative learning: What is the kind of life you want to live? What tools do you need to live it? And how can responses to these kinds of questions model world-building and visions for collective futures?
Summer Institute 2023 will be a focus on practice, not product; It will be two weeks of meandering journeys, circuitous field trips, exchange, reading, listening, still, and moving water, a diary, a lesson, questions, few answers, making, and living new knowledge. Together, we want to understand how our commitment to heterotopic spaces assumes a different shape when we acknowledge its impermanence.
Tuesday, August 15 | 6 – 8 pm | Catalogue for the Gravitron Collection A talk by Nic Wilson
Thursday, August 17 | 6- 8 pm | Faculty Artist Talks
Saturday, August 19 | 6 – 9 pm | Open Studios
All public events will take place at Plug In ICA.
Maggie Groat is a visual artist who makes images and objects from found and salvaged materials. Her work considers the utility of images, possibilities of alternative archives, and the transformative, ritual potential of reuse, while living in times of climate emergency. Her methodologies are informed by states of being in-between, intuition, acts of care, responsiveness, decolonization, Indigenous Futurism, strategies of collage, and hopeful speculation. Many of Groat’s recent projects, including STSTS (Western Front, Vancouver), Deep time, portals, particles & pulls (Armory Street, Toronto), flowers also gardens, gardens also seeds (AKA, Saskatoon) and The Future is Dark…I think (La Datcha, Project Space Festival, Berlin), engage with public space through considering researched based, deep time approaches to working site-specifically. She has taught at Emily Carr University, Algoma University, and in the role of Lecturer and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.
Crystal Mowry (she/her) is a curator and collaborator based in Treaty 4 (Regina). Her work often explores the tension between perceived authenticity and troubled forms of representation. As a curator operating primarily within the context of a public art museum, she treats her role as equal parts co-conspirator and translator, often seeking ways to support artists in the development of new, site-responsive projects. Her curatorial work includes group exhibitions such as The Brain is wider than the Sky, I’ll be your Mirror, The Perennials, What the Bat Knows, and Romancing the Anthropocene, one of the three zones commissioned by the City of Toronto for its annual Nuit Blanche event. Her solo projects with artists Maggie Groat, Ernest Daetwyler, and Deanna Bowen have received Exhibition of the Year Awards from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (now Galleries Ontario Galeries). Her writing has appeared in various artist-focused publications on the work of internationally active artists Shary Boyle, Brendan Fernandes, and August Clintberg. Mowry held the position of Senior Curator at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery where she oversaw the gallery’s exhibitions, collections, and publishing activities for over a decade. She currently holds the position of Director of Programs at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
Nic Wilson (they/he) is an artist and writer who was born in the Wolastoqiyik territory known as Fredericton, NB in 1988. He graduated with a BFA from Mount Allison University, Mi’kmaq territory, in 2012, and an MFA from the University of Regina, Treaty Four Territory, in 2019 where he was a SSHRC graduate fellow. In 2021 they were long listed for the Sobey Art Award as a representative of the Prairies and the North. Fluent across media, Wilson creates videos, performances and artist books, and writes essays and art criticism. Their work often engages time, queer lineage, decay, and the distance between art practice and literature. They were the 2022 writer in residence for G44 Centre for Contemporary Photography. Their writing has appeared in publications such as BlackFlash Magazine, Peripheral Review, NORK, C Magazine, and Border Crossings.
Bev Pike is a Winnipeg artist known for gigantic immersive paintings of architectural utopias. Amid climate and pandemic catastrophes, she bases her research on three-hundred year-old subterranean shell grottos.
Pike shows her work in public art galleries across Canada, most recently at the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), Museum London (London), and St. Mary’s University Art Gallery (Halifax).
In addition, she is the recipient of major grants from the Canada Council, Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. Pike has volunteered for artist groups in Alberta and Manitoba.
Pike also creates humorous, provocative and feminist Agony Aunt columns in artist books that are in international special collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Modern, University of Bristol and others in England, Canada, Iceland and the USA. She has been a guest speaker from coast to coast. Finally, as a long-time community activist, Pike writes evidence-based satire for the Winnipeg Free Press, CBC, MSN etc.
sophia bartholomew works outwards from the ruins and runes of their own cultural inheritance to build material-spiritual constructions. They are descended from Norwegian immigrants on Treaty 3 territory in rural Northwestern Ontario, and English and Irish settlers in and around so-called Toronto. Spanning drawing, writing, sculpture- and installation-making, collaboration, and small, daily negotiations with found materials and household waste, their work borrows its poetics from rural knowledge systems, including craft patterns and junk piles, folk stories and sagas, improvised adaptations and decisions of necessity. Recent group exhibitions include grass taps at the plumb, Loose Parts at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and All Flourishing Is Mutual with Images Festival. Sophia has a BFA from UBC and an MFA from the University of Guelph.
Hazel Eckert is a multidisciplinary artist and designer from Toronto, ON, based in St. John’s NL. She received a BFA in Printmaking from OCAD University (2008) and a diploma in Graphic Design from the College of the North Atlantic (2017). Her work has been presented in numerous group and solo exhibitions across Canada. Eckert is the creator of Nothing New Projects, an independent risograph print and publishing studio with a focus on producing artist-led projects and contemporary print-based works.
Deinma David Iyagba
Deinma David Iyagba is a Southern Nigerian-born artist working out of Winnipeg, Canada. His practice involves multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary work. Time, history, religion, migration (diaspora), identity, cosmology, and relational aesthetics are some of the themes he engages with in his practice. Iyagba is interested in finding the multi-dimensionality and fluidity of mediums, pushing, and reimagining mediums and art objects. “Painting is drawing, film and video are about the perfect still; the one second of captured moments, photography is about duration, layers, and movement……” these are his approaches to medium use.
Shalaka spent their childhood between cities in India and Dubai, before moving to a neighbourhood spitting distance from Ontario’s largest mall/ They now join from Block 2 of the Haldimand Tract, splitting their time on Treaty 1 territory. Trained as an urban planner and practicing as a curator, Shalaka has worked across multiple roles, including audio journalism, in social innovation spaces, in urban planning departments, on rooftop gardens, and on farms. Across their work they strive to apply and ecosystem approach of thinking, dreaming, and sustaining.
Tomas Jonsson is a curator, writer and visual artist whose diverse practice focuses on the socially engaged, collaborative nature of the artmaking process. He received a BFA in 2000 at the University of Calgary, and an MFA at the University of British Columbia Okanogan in 2018. He has curated, presented, and performed work in Canada and internationally, including Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto), Suvilahti Cultural Centre (Helsinki, Finland), and MoKS Artist run space (Mooste, Estonia). He currently resides in Treaty 4 Territory (Regina), where he is Curator of Moving Image and Performance at the Dunlop Art Gallery.
My work utilizes an expanded approach towards photography through its incorporation of collage, sculpture, and alternative image-based processes. I often work with deconstructed and reclaimed photographic material —torn from reference texts, right-click-saved from online, purchased on eBay, stolen from archives, found in dumpsters, etc. I approach archives as spaces of creative potential, working with found images as a way to critically examine our understanding of photographic authority. As an artist-archivist, I move freely within systems of categorization as a gesture of queer resistance. Queerness, in its multitudes and expansiveness, functions in my practice as a way of seeing the world without fixed classifications. In my work, I use interdisciplinary approaches to working with found images in order to position photographs as queer objects.
Tyler Matheson is a queer interdisciplinary research-based artist, educator, and culture worker residing in the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. Matheson received his BFA in Fine Art and Art History from York University and his MFA from the University of Waterloo. Currently, Matheson is the Marketing and Development Assistant at Oakville Galleries, resident artist and fellow at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre, and serves on the Board of Directors at Hamilton Artists Inc. Matheson’s work has shown nationally and internationally independently, and as part of queer artist collaboration QueerSoftOrange. Matheson’s work has been published in Femme Art Review, Off Centre, Peripheral Review and dArt Magazine. Matheson’s practice has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts funding.
Christina Oyawale (they/them) is a Black queer non-binary disabled lens-based artist and curator. They hold a BFA in Photography and minor in Music and Culture from Toronto Metropolitan University. Their artistic and curatorial practice is based in documenting the radical occupation of space, influenced by their interests in disability studies and aesthetics with a focus on video, performance, photography and installation. Recent curatorial projects include, As I Live & Breathe at Xpace Cultural Centre and Fixations: Thoughts on Time at Artspace TMU in conjunction with CONTACT Photography Festival 2022.They approach their practice as a means of exploring the ways identity and culture are both embodied in our society, and how they intersect with other social categories such as gender, race, and sexuality.
Kate Whiteway is an independent curator based in Toronto. She was previously the Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She recently curated the first solo exhibition of Canadian artist John Devlin (John Devlin: Out of a Heart of Quiet, Erin Stump Projects, 2022) exploring the artist’s queer, cosmological worldview, and the category of “outsider art.” Whiteway studied Cultural Studies and Art History at McGill University before receiving a Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the recipient of the 2018 Reesa Greenberg Curatorial Studies Award and the 2020 C Magazine New Critics Award. Previous positions include Exhibition Coordinator at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and Head of Operations at Sugar Contemporary. She has recently published for Breathless (The Power Plant, 2019), C Magazine, Esse Magazine, and The Journal of Curatorial Studies. Her area of focus is on research-based art practices and contemporary exhibition histories.
We are on Treaty 1 Territory. Plug In ICA is located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the National homeland of the Red River Métis.
Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. We acknowledge the sustaining support of our Director’s Circle. You all make a difference.
We would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Johnston Group for sponsoring this program.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.
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