2014 MEDAL WINNER ALEX BERIAULT, SCULPTURE/INSTALLATION

Alex Beriault at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Images from Alex Beriault's "Head Study" work from The Study Series.

Alex Beriault’s medal award-winning work combines performance and sculpture in unconventional yet inviting installations to create an often confrontational experience she shares with audiences. Here’s how she describes it:

For my thesis, I produced a body of work entitled The Study Series. Often using myself as a subject of study, these works consisted of two performative installations, a video installation and a photographic series.

My final work, "Head Study," was a durational performance that entailed a kinetic sculpture attached by a harness to my head. The motor of the sculptural apparatus generated slow, repetitious movements that were echoed through the direct connection to my body. "Portrait Study" became a photographic continuation of "Head Study," placing myself into the role of the photographer while taking long exposure portraits of different individuals within the machine.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

One of the books I read for my thesis research included Craig Owens’ The Anti Aesthetic: The Discourse of Others. In it, Owens states that “suddenly it becomes possible that there are just others, that we ourselves are an ‘other’ among others.” I thought this was beautiful.

For the past few years I have been working as a professional art model, and this job as a study also positioned me as a very blatant other. The vulnerable nature of a model’s nakedness usually operates in tandem with a physical proximity: this socially shields the model from the artists, and vice versa. It is this precarious situation between intimacy and distance that I believe to be applicable to all human relationships. I wanted for my work to expose the viewer’s awareness to this, forcing them to re-evaluate their behaviours within the space my performance dominates.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

There were several new processes that I embarked on this year, such as video, photography and mechanics, all of which were heavily equipped with their own unique technical challenges.

That being said, because my work is performative in the final outcome, very significant realizations occurred during my performances, mostly within the moments shared between the viewer and myself. Depending on the situation, these experiences felt collaborative, almost like a choreography between two dancers who were meeting for the first time.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

I experienced the very rewarding opportunity to perform my piece, "Head Study" in my solo thesis exhibition at Katharine Mulherin’s No Foundation Gallery. That was my very first solo show, and I was lucky enough to have it happen at such a wonderful and reputable Toronto gallery. The opening performance night was a big landmark for me in a way that I will never forget.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

The news was told to me by my new faculty guardian angel, Wrik Mead. When he gave me the piece of paper acknowledging me as “Dear Medal Winner,” I really couldn’t read past that first statement.

I should note that I made a decisions to finish my undergrad in six years, and my parents were always a little (understandably) apprehensive about this length. After receiving the medal, I immediately phoned them both. Even though it was a joy telling them what happened, admittedly, there was also a very subtle and satisfying undertone of “Ha, I told ya so!”

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

Finding a new daytime apartment in the form of the Sculpture Thesis Studio.
Nerd nights with Doug Back and Simone Jones dude!
$5 Pitchers weekly between Monday and Sunday nights.
Conversations outside of the main building entrance as a non-smoking smoker.
Those short two-minute walks between point A and point B that mysteriously end up taking half an hour.
The tremendously supportive faculty of the Sculpture & Installation program.

What are you planning to do next?

Upon graduating, I have been working on a new contract gig with the Luminato festival while working an awesome job as an artist’s assistant. It is my intention to continue to make work, apply for residencies and to show, but it would be fantastic in a year or two’s time to work my way towards grad school, either in the United States or in Europe.

You never want to plan things too tightly though, because (if I may end on an optimistic note) things find their own ways of working out. Even in rejection, there can be opportunity.

Find out more about Alex Beriault

Alex Beriault at Cargo Collective

2014 MEDAL WINNER SANAZ MIANJI, ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN

Sanaz Mianji at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Design for House of Artists by Sanaz Mianji.

Sanaz Mianji’s medal award-winning project, House of Artists, is a space designed as a stable foundation for artists and entrepreneurs in which to grow a thriving community that nourishes inspiration and innovation. Here’s how she describes it:

House of Artists is a solution for coping with the growing pains of the expanding creative community. The house aims to nourish a strong independent growth, while building a stable foundation for artists within the community. The house will allow the artists to freely promote themselves by exhibiting their body of work amongst each other and the larger community. The major outcomes of this house are to learn, inspire, create, innovate, experiment and grow.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

My thesis project was the result of my own experiences in Toronto, when I noticed that there was a lack of creative outlets for artists and designers in order to create and promote themselves, while learning and inspiring one another. I was motivated and inspired by all the future potential for the creative crowds.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most when I had to research carefully and interview the technicians in order to accommodate all the needs for designing each workshop. Also, developing the concepts of communication, collaboration and individuality within this creative community required a lot of research in order to resolve the problems and create inspiring spaces for artists and designers.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

Although my thesis was a complex project, I was able to explore all the possibilities in the site. This led me create design strategies that would carry the conceptual values from the beginning of my process to the end. I very much enjoyed making the process models and I’m proud of how they could communicate the concepts and the ideas as a whole.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

Tears of joy seem like a rare occasion and I experienced that for the first time when I was informed my thesis project was awarded the medal. I will never forget how it felt!

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I have been blessed with many great memories at OCAD U such as meeting inspiring people and creating a new family that we call the “OCADIAN family.” I will miss our great teachers, all the shops, friends and our thesis space at 52 McCaul, where we spent most of our time for the past year.

What are you planning to do next?

I participated in The Stop Night Market Festival with four other graduates from OCAD U and we have been working hard to finish the design and execute our food cart for this competition. My plan is to work and gain more experience in the real world and I also plan on continuing my studies as a Master’s student in Architecture.

2014 MEDAL WINNER HUDSON CHRISTIE, ILLUSTRATION

Hudson Christie. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Illustration from Work Life Balance by Hudson Christie.

Hudson Christie’s medal award-winning project Work-Life Balance depicts people who must juggle their incompatible jobs and hobbies, sometimes in a disturbing juxtaposition. Here’s how he describes it:

My project was called Work-Life Balance, and it depicted ten people resorting to multi-tasking in order to make room for their hobbies.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I was attracted to hobbies as a subject in my thesis because they have a really great earnest candor surrounding them. The notion of taking hobbies, which are this really harmless thing, and putting them into situations that actually make them harmful was really funny to me.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

The sculpture/photography approach I used for my thesis is something I’ve only been developing for over a year now, so there was obviously a lot of growing to do in my technique. A big difference is how many corners I can cut now. I work a lot more efficiently today than I did in September.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

I am happy that I was able to make ten pictures that actually make sense to people 95 per cent of the time. It was always so frustrating when I would work for hours on an illustration but it would be totally illegible, just because I lacked the know-how to make images “readable.”

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was very excited. I remember shouting and hi-fiving the wall, and then calling my mom.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

The immersion in peers and professors that you get at OCAD U is a very unique thing that I will really miss. It becomes a lot harder to get that constant artist-to-artist contact once you’re done, especially with such a variety of people.

What are you planning to do next?

There are some installation opportunities opening up for me that I’m currently working on, during which time I’ll be developing my next photography series and hopefully picking up more illustration or animation jobs, which are really fun.

Website

LinkedIn

2014 MEDAL WINNER BRENDAN MCMULLEN, ADVERTISING

Brendan McMullen. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Brendan McMullan’s medal award-winning ad campaign concept for a soda company, Pursue the New, celebrates the stories of strange soda flavours and those who drink them. Here’s how he describes it:

My advertising thesis was entitled Pursue the New. Its objective was to get people to chase Jones Sodas again and frame the drink as an indulgence by getting people to pursue new and unfamiliar flavour experiences. I brought it to life in an entertaining and fun way by telling the stories of the Jones family of strange flavors and those who drink them and celebrating anyone willing to Pursue the New.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I was motivated by the brand I chose. Jones Soda is fun and eccentric. Choosing it gave me the creative liberty to literally do and make whatever I thought was cool and entertaining. Not everyone has the chance to do that in their career. Jones Soda’s quirky essence made it easier to be excited about working on the same thing every day.

The idea of tackling a soda company was an enticing challenge as well because of the stigma around the category. Blowing up its strangeness really positioned it as something you consume in moderation, guilt free.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from having to transition from a completely strategy focused fall semester to a completely creatively focused spring semester. It was difficult to go from one to another when you spend so much time on strategy before creative. I had to break a personal barrier between being caught up in a very rational strategic process and having to start coming up with crazy creative ideas. It taught me a lot about what mindset I had to be in.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

My project was always changing, past the day I handed it in and up until the day I pitched it to a group of peers and industry folk at the Masters presentations. I’m proud that I never settled and never got comfortable. I was able to kill ideas that muffled the message I was trying to deliver and completely change my delivery days before the pitch. I’m proud my campaign adapted and got stronger when obstacles came up.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

Despite dreaming of ending my university career as a medal winner, when I heard I won I was in disbelief. There was such a high calibre of both work and character in our program that I felt many of us deserved to win. I had been proud of my work and work ethic before but never as much as I was that day. It felt very validating to have my work appreciated by my teachers (and now colleagues).

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I will miss the ability to show up every day and get to work creatively with my best friends: people who push me, inspire me and make for one hell of a good time. I know I’ll have the chance to work with different creative minds in my career, but I may never have the chance to collaborate with my best friends like that again. My peers and friends motivated me creatively in ways I never imagined.

What are you planning to do next?

I’m staying in Toronto indefinitely, hailing from Montreal. I believe I have a future in advertising in this city. I’m currently interning at an agency I respect a lot and hope to take in as much as I can one day at a time. I aspire to always work for an agency that pushes creative work and has brands that I can get excited about.

Brendan invites you to check out his website, let him know your thoughts and connect on social media. Brendanmcmullen.com

2014 MEDAL WINNER BRI CLEARY, MATERIAL ART & DESIGN

Bri Cleary. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Pop dot pattern from TODOT: Urban Infographic Pattern by Bri Cleary.

Bri Cleary’s medal-award winning project TODOT: Urban Infographic Pattern communicates the relationship between people and the urban environment with a collection of patterns inspired by urban data such as weather patterns and transit rhythms. Here’s how she describes it:

TODOT: Urban Infographic Pattern is a surface design collection that communicates the architecture of everyday life in the City of Toronto. These designs are a reflection of the urban experience and the fluctuating relationship between humans and their metropolitan environments. TODOT is to mark, trace, record and connect the dots — to find the meaning in a mass of data. In our urban environment, data is all around. It lives in the flow of traffic, the beat of a neighbourhood and the vast network of people who are the pulse behind it.

The TODOT collection is a representation of this information and includes five infographic patterns that are each paired with a legend to read the data within the design. It creates a visual and tactile experience that makes everyday urban information meaningful

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

My passion for surface design combined with the desire to use data visualization to push the boundaries of pattern into a forward thinking and ever-evolving realm was my project’s fundamental motivation.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from my research on infographics and data visualization since, prior to this project, I had never incorporated those practices into my work.  And I’m so happy that I took the time to delve into a totally unfamiliar subject for my thesis project because I think my knowledge and understanding of graphic representation will continue to inform my future work.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

I am most proud of my project’s concept — to develop a thesis that was both forward thinking and original was very important to me and I am proud to have been able to achieve that.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

When I got the voicemail, I couldn’t believe it. The news that I had won the medal was surreal to me! Celebrating with my mom and boyfriend over a great dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Toronto, made it feel a lot more real. I couldn’t have asked for better people to share my good news with!

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

My fondest memories from OCAD U and something that I will miss a lot are the many hours spent late at night in the fibre studio (somewhat sleep deprived) with some great friends. Those were the times when everyone really got to know each other and things always managed to get a little silly.

What are you planning to do next?

Currently, I am a design intern at UMBRA in Toronto and I was recently offered a full-time position there as a graphic designer. I’ll be working with a great team of industrial designers to develop custom products.

Contact Bri Cleary.

OCAD presents medals to its top students

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto—May 5, 2010) This generation of young talent hopes to make the world around us a better place. With art and design that tackles tough issues — sustainability, diversity, cultural policy, socio-political concerns, spirituality and morality, 12 Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) graduates have been honoured with the university’s top accolades this week. In addition to being celebrated at a special gala dinner tonight, this year’s medal winners will showcase their thesis works alongside that of more than 500 of their peers as part of Enter OCAD, the 95th annual Graduate Exhibition, which opens to the public on Thursday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m.

“Our annual graduate exhibition is a time when OCAD gives back to the community that has supported our students and our university. This is a power-packed show that reveals our newly minted art and design talent to the world,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD President. “Please, Enter OCAD!

The 2010 medal winners are:

Faculty of Art:
James Gauvreau (Printmaking)
Marissa Neave (Criticism & Curatorial Practice)
Vanessa Maltese (Drawing & Painting)
Tim Manalo (Sculpture/Installation)
Meryl McMaster (Photography)
Reena Katz (Integrated Media)

Faculty of Design:
Lauren Dynes (Environmental Design)
Adrian Forrow (Illustration)
Catalina Navarro (Industrial Design)
Patrice Pollack (Advertising)
Setsuko Sanagawa (Material Art & Design)
Markus Uran (Graphic Design)

Enter OCAD, the 95th annual Graduate Exhibition, runs Thursday, May 6 to Sunday, May 9. For details, visit www.ocad.ca.

The 12 winners will receive their medals at OCAD’s Convocation Ceremony on Friday, June 4 at Roy Thomson Hall.

Background Information: 2010 OCAD Medal Winners

Faculty of Art:

James Gauvreau (Printmaking)
Working across disciplines, James Gauvreau’s thesis work Really Long Lake is an installation representative of a temple, covered with digital photographs of the textures and shapes of large bodies of water. Gauvreau calls Really Long Lake the “remains of a ruined temple from a religion that has yet to be formed. It has been buried for centuries under glacial ice and was recently revealed to archeologists as the ice flow receded.” Playing off “Long Lake,” a common name given to many bodies of water in North America, the work explores the notion of “the great escape” while attacking the indoctrination of the spirituality of nature.

Marissa Neave (Criticism & Curatorial Practice)
For her undergraduate thesis work, Neave put into motion an experimental microfunding model in order to explore the relationships between cultural policy and cultural production. In December 2009, tinygrants distributed four small grants to Toronto-based artists for their creative intervention projects. While facilitating participatory, collaborative and playful artworks that were visible in public and non-traditional spaces, this experimental microgranting model concurrently addressed issues of cultural policy and arts funding in Canada by asking the questions: What if an artist has a $300 project but does not have $300? What kinds of $300 projects can be conceived if an opportunity for funding arises? tinygrants considers the current state of arts funding in Canada and highlights the diversity of creative intervention practice. Neave will pursue her Masters in Art History at Concordia University in the fall, and will continue her research into the relationships between art, space and audience.

Vanessa Maltese (Drawing & Painting)
Vanessa Maltese’s series In Limbo investigates the “curious state of the in-between” through explorations of materials and abstract visual language. “I’m interested in the dialogue between the concrete nature of sculpture and the illusory space of painting,” explains Maltese. Her works emanate a sense of displacement, where unknown objects float in vacant grounds, or are anchored to fabricated spaces referencing landscapes. Her works also challenge the act of seeing, subverting simplicity with highly complex “Modernist alien playgrounds.”

Tim Manalo (Sculpture/Installation)
Tim Manalo is interested in the hidden concepts and ideas communicated by objects, which he likens to the way symbols and signs have meaning in language. His sculptural works attempt to re-present objects in a neutral state, creating conflicting or opposing readings to change the way viewers experience them. With his work High Praise, Manalo shares his fascination with the terrible beauty of mushroom clouds, while with his work Shift and Sniff, he envisions a dog’s snout as a security scanner.

Meryl McMaster (Photography)
Meryl McMaster’s series In-Between Worlds is an expression of her bicultural heritage —Aboriginal/European — as a strategic way of thinking and an examination of the connections between the two. In the development of the series, McMaster delved into the ancient practice of the vision quest, a search for meaning. The resulting portrait works, in which McMaster uses talismans as extensions of her body, suggest a collaging of cultural and personal identities and a state of suspended belief.

Reena Katz (Integrated Media)
For her thesis work, Reena Katz has created a wood, electronics and audio installation that plays off the poetics and physicality of walls: exile, separation, dispossession, enemies and reconciliation. With w2w, Katz inverts architectures of repression into structures of promise, empowerment, return, and unification. Using OCAD as a microcosm to discuss opportunities for political transformation in the world outside the university, Katz highlights the “humanness” of the diverse people who work there by involving them in the process of art production. w2w is comprised of three “anti‐walls,” which trigger sounds as viewers approach. Two of the walls play chants of resistance and songs of liberation, recorded from OCAD staff, administrators and security personnel. The third wall acts as a proposal to members of the public, inviting them to erect it using the instructions provided.

Faculty of Design:

Lauren Dynes (Environmental Design)
Lauren Dynes has designed a concept to revitalize Pier 4 of Toronto’s waterfront, located at 245 Queens Quay West, into a health and wellness centre, featuring a community market. The centre is designed to accommodate farmers, nutrition classes, spaces for social interaction, bathing facilities and massage therapy and treatment rooms. The project explores the balance between program spaces, public and private spaces and new versus old building structures.

Adrian Forrow (Illustration)
Adrian Forrow’s thesis illustrations are allegorical images about moral behaviour. His imagery speaks not only to adolescents, but also as “a refresher for those who have forgotten.”

Catalina Navarro (Industrial Design)
In exploring ways to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills, Catalina Navarro has designed cosmetics packaging that in and of itself has a use, and entirely bypasses the waste stream. Second Life Zero Waste is a packaging system that becomes a clean-burning candle in its “second life.” Instead of petroleum-based paraffin, Navarro’s packaging uses beeswax, with no artificial colours or damaging inks. Navarro studied several brands in the development of her design, such as Dove, Olay, United Colors of Benetton and The Body Shop, and incorporated the emotional and core values of the companies into the packaging system.

Patrice Pollack (Advertising)
As an aspiring copywriter, Patrice Pollack uses copy and type as the main elements in most of her work. “I believe that, when used properly, type can be more provocative and more powerful than any photo.” Pollack’s thesis uses type to educate the public on the dangers of commercial dog foods and the benefits of feeding raw.

Setsuko Sanagawa (Material Art & Design)
In her jewellery designs, collectively titled Venerable Spirit, Setsuko Sanagawa explores the Japanese folklore and traditional literature that has shaped her identity and sense of values. Her narrative pieces, created in silver and other precious materials, are wearable moral life lessons, some joyful, some tragic, and some entertaining flights of fantasy.

Markus Uran (Graphic Design)
A clothing designer before coming to OCAD, Markus Uran created the Metsa brand (www.metsadesign.com), a men’s clothing line constructed from carefully considered materials and practices. Uran’s goal is to deepen the attachment to — and longevity of — a garment by enhancing the client’s overall experience. By drawing on the rituals of gifting and taking advantage of the ubiquitous use of online shopping, Uran has developed packaging that creates an emotional attachment for its recipient. Wrapped to conceal its contents, each package is like a surprise self-gift, strengthening the user’s relationship with the object and enhancing the product’s sustainability. Metsa has already experienced market success, and is available through Nomad, at 431 Richmond St. West in Toronto.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
 

- 30 -

For more information or to request images, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

A Place of Refreshment

A Place of Refreshment
Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 4:00am to Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 5:00am

Opening reception with DJ Ad Run, October 17, 7-10 p.m.
Sign up for Movember 2013 on opening night and receive a reward!

New paintings by 2012 Illustration Medal Winner, Mark O'Brien

Pinched between reality and fantasy is a place where uncertainty is king. A place where being lost is the only way to see death, hope, luxury, anxiety and masculinity all making out with each other.

In support of Movember Canada. 100% of proceeds will be donated in funding men's heath initiatives.

 

www.mobartist.com

 

marc.obrien@mobartist.com

 

Free

Venue & Address: 
The Gladstone Hotel 100 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario

Pages