Sculpture of two faces
Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 5:00am to Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 4:00am

An OCADU Criticism and Curatorial Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition

Opening March 5, 7 – 9 p.m.

The pervasiveness of the abject in contemporary art proves that transgression has more to offer than short-lived shock value. For thirty years the abject has continued in the mainstream art sphere as a perturbing thematic that threatens mortality and incorporates bodily fluids. While other types of transgressive art have become accepted and even institutionalized, the presence of abject art remains undertheorized. The question endures: why is abject art still so provocative?

Nebularity presents an updated lens to reconsider the experience and display of abject art in the twenty-first century. Three contemporary artists – Louis Fortier, Jesika Joy, and Kim Stanford – employ abject tendencies that elicit emotional engagement and strong reactions. By confusing boundaries, imposing intimacy, and deteriorating conventional forms, these works demonstrate that the abject is not just another genre of art but a practice of continually challenging structures of subjectivity and knowledge.

Jesika Joy is a Toronto-based video artist who works with deliberately confrontational sexualized scenarios. With a PhD in social and political thought, Joy addresses feminine issues and bodily politics in an unapologetic graphic manner. Her works both repel and attract by drawing viewers into aggressive portrayals of intimate, abject activities.

Montreal-based Louis Fortier engages with malleable wax-like materials to create abject sculptures of facial and body parts. While gesturing towards Greco-Roman portraiture, the mutated forms are at once sensual, tactile, carnal and grotesque. The morphing shapes hint at alien forces that play with human flesh in impossible and monstrous ways.

Kim Stanford is a Toronto-based artist who creates unnerving three-dimensional sculptures and engulfing installations. Though the materials bear a familiar domesticity, they typically are things used and discarded, and so become abject through unnatural accumulation. Her aesthetic carries undertones of ambiguity, vulnerability and the uncanny.

Venue & Address: 
60 McCaul St. (Brinks Building), Toronto
<p>647 464 7961</p>

There Is Always More Than What We Perceive - MFA Thesis Exhibition

There is Always More Than What We Perceive
Friday, March 6, 2015 - 5:00pm to Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 4:00pm

Featured artists:
Michèle Pearson Clarke,
Abdi Osman
Natalie Wood

Thesis Exhibition Curated by Geneviève Wallen (MFA Graduate Student in the Criticism and Curatorial Practice Master's Program)

March 6 – March 14, 2015
Reception, Friday March 6th, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

We’ve been arguing for decades about identity and authenticity and who’s Black and who’s not and I want to yell above the din-Truce! – Touré

There Is Always More than What We Perceive is an exhibition project that explores the ways in which contemporary Toronto-based Black queer artists engage issues of identity, race, sexuality, gender and space in their art works. The selected artists namely Michèle Pearson Clarke, Abdi Osman, and Natalie Wood push against the confinements of an imagined authentic blackness that has been constructed around an assumed patriarchal and heterosexual ideology. There Is Always More than What We Perceive seeks to acknowledge different kinds of performances of Blackness in order to give latitude, freedom, and unbind Black identities.

Please join us for a performance by Natalie Wood on Friday March 6 2015, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 pm followed by a reception from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm at the Graduate Gallery, 205 Richmond Street West (at Duncan), Toronto.

There Is Always More than What We Perceive is made possible by the generous financial support of OCAD University, The State of Blackness, and Akasha Art Projects

Venue & Address: 
Graduate Gallery 205 Richmond Street West, room 104 (Ground Floor)
There is Always More Than What We Perceive


Reflective surface with red paper
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 5:00pm to 11:00pm


A curatorial project for CRCP 3B06, Exhibitions: The Work of the Curator

reMove is an experiment in unraveling and redefining designated art spaces. It seeks to resolve issues of inaccessibility of existing exhibition spaces for young or un-established curators and artists by reexamining the physical and temporal boundaries of gallery space, and by reimagining available resources as manipulable frameworks within which these new boundaries can be actualized.

The three artworks chosen, work by Toronto artists and OCAD U students Robert Anthony O'Halloran, Connor Olthius, Katelyn Gallucci, approach art-making through methods similar to the exhibition’s retrofitting of a U-Haul truck into a gallery.

Image: Katelyn Gallucci, 2014

Venue & Address: 
52 McCaul St. South Parking Lot


Installation by Nathalie Quagliotto. Image courtesy Nathalie Quagliotto.

Seven graduate students in OCAD U’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice programguest curated the popular First Thursday event at the Art Gallery of Ontario on February 6. First Thursday is a monthly art party bringing together art, artists and music.

The OCAD U team developed a theme of The Duel: Competition at the Heart of Play, choosing to explore the competitive nature that drives us, and our need, even as adults, for play. “The gallery can be a neutral and somewhat intimidating space,” said Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, whose role on the team was to coordinate the pop-up talks and logistics. “We wanted to transform it into a place where new and playful interactions could occur and give people a new way of relating to the artwork.”

The team selected pre-existing works from some of the artists involved in the evening, including concept artist Nathalie Quagliotto, whose fun, large-scale playground architecture installations, Maturity Correlation and Double Your Chances, bring giant swings, mini-golf and gumball machines to the AGO’s European galleries.

The team was excited to commission new works by performance artists Geoffrey Pugen and Sarah Febbaro specifically for the event. Pugen’s King’s Court is a table tennis duel played on a modified, circular table with Pugen head-to-head against a professional table tennis player. Sarah Febbraro’s Let’s Figure This Out Fast So We Can Just Be Together! is an alternative speed matchmaking service over text messaging that sets couples up on instant dates.

The evening line-up also includes pop-up talks by AGO artist-in-residence and indie videogame maker, Jim Munroe and collective artists from VSVSVS, plenty of music spinning and playing in the AGO’s Walker Court. “Between Tape Deck Bros., Tasha The Amazon and Pick a Piper there will definitely be a lot of music to dance to!” said Blakeney. 

The team of Criticism and Curatorial Practice students coordinating the event included Rui Amaral, Vicki Clough, Matthew Kyba, Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, Natasha Peterson, Erin Saunders and Genvieve Wallen. Blakeney said the opportunity to work with AGO staff in was an invaluable experience: “it definitely gave us a great insider view as to how an arts institution of this size functions on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

Learn more

The Art Gallery of Ontario First Thursdays

Criticism and Curatorial Practice



"(Whitey) Fern Gulley" by Olivia McGilchrist. Image courtesy State of Blackness Conference.
Work by Abdi Osman. Image courtesy State of Blackness Conference.

OCAD U’s Faculty of Art is host to The State of Blackness, an interdisciplinary event bringing together artists, curators, academics, students and the public to discuss diasporic artistic practice, representation and arts education in Canada. The conference, which takes place Saturday, February 22, combines accessible panels open to everyone with a series of closed working sessions specifically for delegates from across Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“As a curator, I’m concerned that the visibility of black artists has fallen off,” said conference lead, Andrea Fatona, an instructor in the Criticism & Curatorial Practice program. “The idea of hosting a conference came to me when I was doing my dissertation looking at arts funding, particularly black arts funding in Canada, and I feel it’s important to examine both what’s going on and how we produce knowledge about art.”

Fatona designed the conference program as a means to gather a network together and also create a space for ongoing discussion. She hopes the event will help identify pedagogical innovations and best practices that broaden our understanding of cultural capital in the knowledge economy. 

“We haven’t had a conference like this in a very long time,” said Fatona, who cited cultural theorist Stuart Hall and his recent passing as an inspiration for the conference. Hall was instrumental in thinking through multiculturalism and issues of representation both in galleries and education, and what practices might look like. His work in developing practices around positioning equity and diversity may act as a model for some of the thinking at the conference. “We want to develop practical pedagogical tools not only at OCAD U but also across the country,” said Fatona.

The conference was developed in partnership with The Ontario Arts Council and with support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Learn more:

Attend the conference

Conference website

Read the New York Times profile of Stuart Hall

What Are You Made Of?

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 5:00am to Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 5:00am

Panel discussion on Friday November 8, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. followed by a reception from 7:30 - 9 p.m.

CCP/IAMD First Year show

What Are You Made of? poses questions about how identity is created in relationship to objects and environments of daily life, and explores the ways in which human experience is intricately tied to material culture.

Featuring the work of select artists from OCAD University’s Graduate program in Interdisciplinary Art Media and Design, What Are You Made of? offers opportunities to form new understandings of personal and social identities via our relationship to the material world.

The exhibition features the works of Omar Badrin, Kris Brandhagen, Juan Bonilla, Carole Chaloupka Burton, Linda El Shami, Pilar Fernandez Davila, Siamak Haseli, Ana Jofre, JP King, Anna Kovler and David Constantino Salazar.

Please join us for a panel discussion on Friday November 8 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. followed by a reception from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Graduate Gallery, 205 Richmond Street West (at Duncan), Toronto.

What Are You Made of? is curated by OCAD University’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice First Year Cohort – Rui Amaral, Vicki Clough, Matthew Kyba, Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, Natasha Peterson, Erin Saunders and Genviève Wallen.

For more information on What Are You Made of? please contact the CCP First Year Cohort via email:

What Are You Made of? is made possible by the generous financial support of the IAMD and CCP Graduate programs at OCAD University.




Venue & Address: 
Graduate Student Gallery 205 Richmond Street West Toronto, Ontario