My transdisciplinary visual practice examines processes of socialization into artistic circles and the socio-economic conditions of art-making. I’m particularly interested in art communities, and the ways that group membership is established through storytelling, gossip, and play. A key part of my practice has been examining the social roles of artists as educators. Informed by an academic background in sociology and employment in non-profit communications, I see my primary role as an artist as one that academic granting agencies call ‘knowledge translation’; in other words, making complex ideas accessible to a wider audience by tracing paths between insights gained through theory and research, and their practical applications. As an artist, I attempt to make visible and intelligible the hidden processes structuring our relations.
My work has explored the functions of gossip, storytelling, and play in establishing the professional identities of artists and cultural workers. Using humour, text-based games, and portraiture informed by children’s and “low” craft, my work has evolved in its representation of Canadian contemporary artists. In the series Friends of Friends (2007-12), I needlepointed photographic portraits of people I had never met, but felt like I knew through friends’ stories and art community gossip. Though Friend’s colourful, intricate portraits asserted group membership of both maker and subject, the stories which had originally informed them remained secret, figuratively sewn up. Art Party’s (2012-on) cheeky insinuation went one step further; in the fusible bead installation, I arranged life-sized portraits of queer performance artists in scenes implying interaction. Art Party’s candy-coloured, pixelated images are unabashedly suggestive. Interactive text based games like Now You See It (2013) and installation Wordgames with Friends (2013) animate art for broad, all-ages audiences. Super Art Activity Fun Book: Saskatchewan Edition (2014) reimagines classic children’s games to narrate surprising stories and facts about visual art in Saskatchewan from 1960-2014. These works’ humour and accessible style encourages general audiences to become familiar with artists’ names and work, while soothing the sting that comes from questioning institutions, regionalisms, and artistic canon. In the fall of 2014, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery commissioned “Downtown Lethbridge”; this permanent public project inserted punctuation marks into the architecture of historical Lethbridge buildings, literalizing the task of ‘reading architecture’.
Thesis show Assume the Position (July 2016), will explore anxiety as both an affective and physical approach. The core of this exhibition, Party in the Front, Business in the Back is a series of lenticular digital photographs in light boxes that combine miniature photography and the binocular flipping action of lenticular lenses to suggest new temporal possibilities for professional artistic disaster.