Projections ± Predispositions | Brandon Giessmann | June 6 to July 31, 2018


Brandon Giessmann

Brandon Giessmann is a Canadian visual artist and writer who explores how trauma, gender, and sexuality intersect in response to notions of identity and its related politics. Giessmann is interested in codifying and veiling information to consider how his projects interact with one another, the spaces they inhabit, and how reusing materials can inform present and future work. Installations and performances become vessels for conversation and reflection, where he addresses his own trauma, the process of healing, and his fear of social and institutional repercussion as a gay man. These thoughts are translated into various collections of critical text, creative writing, and visual art that help him understand his own positions and feelings regarding these often confusing topics and the disorientation he continues to experience due to his privileges as a cisgender white male recovering from past sexual assault and abuse. Brandon Giessmann is a recent BFA graduate from the Alberta College of Art + Design and is a University at Buffalo MFA candidate.

Projections ± Predispositions considers the parallels between exclusion from public and private spaces, through the dual lenses of marginalization and trauma, which work to sever confidence in safety and bodily autonomy. Soil from past installations creates a bed, a place for potential growth, reflection, and rest, while a distressed sheet evokes intimacies between those who have been, are, and will be. The surrounding pansies are disrupted by barbed wire, violent boundaries demanding exile, submission, and observation. As the flowers wilt due to a lack of care, the wire makes its presence increasingly known, holding up the plants as examples of what is to come as these structures remain.

In a Constant State of Flux | Candice Davies | February 6 to March 31, 2018


In a Constant State of Flux replicates the non-traditional ‘art objects’ often found in exhibition spaces. Items such as extension cords, a power bar, and electrical faceplates are realistically rendered using traditional fine art materials including alabaster and African wonderstone. Playing with elements of display, illusion, time, and labour, In a Constant State of Flux foregrounds mundane objects and occurrences, so that their function, worth, and political utility within the context of the display of art may be called into question.

Candice Davies

Candice Davies holds a BFA from York University, Ontario and a MFA from Concordia University, Quebec. Her art practice draws attention to layers of meaning within the gallery space and questions existing assumptions surrounding the art object by engaging the viewer in an unexpected encounter with objects through subtle material interventions in the gallery space. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, namely at The Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Parisian Laundry, CIRCA, Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre and an upcoming solo exhibitions at la Centrale Gallerie Powerhouse and TRUCK Contemporary Art.

vision's fickle centre, peripheral flicker, denter | Brett Bonk | December 6 to January 31, 2017


The silhouette of an ashtray left on construction paper, its colour bled by the sun. A divot or flattening, as the indentations left in carpet by loveseat legs or the settling of earth upon an interred thing. An action’s afterimage treads softly but exerts real force, connecting and repelling bodies and objects across time, throughout space. Not quite the whole thing, maybe... the hole left by the thing?

what the world does may not be worth doing, and yet it cannot be left undone | asmaa al-issa | October 6 to November 30, 2017


what the world does may not be worth doing, and yet it cannot be left undone intersects Daoist philosophies and Islamic art practices. The work engages seemingly conflicting concepts to think through the transformative nature of the world as a creative process.  
The screen is used as a site of contradiction and opposition: curves are rendered on a grid surface and indeterminate moiré patterns proliferate out of linear grids, which overlap intentionally cut patterns. This work continues a line of exploration that draws on notions of spontaneity, chaos, and creativity.

asmaa al-issa

asmaa al-issa’s practice is heavily informed by art and philosophy of different spiritual traditions. Working in a range of media including drawing, photography, sculpture, and installation, asmaa maintains an art practice that contemplates what is affective but has no form. She recently received a Master of Fine Art in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University. 

Does your body remember how to play? | Mabel Tan | August 6 to September 30, 2017

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Do you remember the first time you were at a playground, and wondered, exactly how does this work? Or, is this the right way of playing? Mabel Tan’s interactive installation Does your body remember how to play? positions play as a means of understanding environment, wherein ceramics evolve into vessels for active play. Straddling both humour and the absurd, clay becomes a gravitational force amidst performative negotiations of space and place.
Throughout the course of the exhibition, viewers are invited to engage in both imaginary and participatory interactions with the installation, creating new visceral exchanges between bodies and ceramics.
The exhibition will be open for Playtime on the following dates: August 9th from 12:00PM – 3:00PM, August 18th from 6:00PM – 9:00PM, and September 28th from 6:00PM – 7:00PM.

Mabel Tan

Mabel Anabelle Tan is a Calgary-based artist from the Island City of Singapore who graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design in Ceramics. Her creative investigations involve aspects of humour, play, and spatial negotiation. In fall 2017 she will be participating in a ceramics residency in Medalta, Medicine Hat. When not involved in clay making, she is keeping it real (with other forms of clay) while overseeing the ACAD Community Garden, or digging at Archaeological excavations in Italy and Singapore.

TWIST (Factory of Kisses and Doves) | Leigh Tennant | June 6 to August 1, 2017


Factory of Kisses and Doves is a series of exercises that explore the difference between a deductive structure and a non-deductive structure that is between construction and composition. In a non-deductive structure there will always be a leftover part, “a space that cannot be accounted for within the governing structure established by the figure.” TWIST is the first in a series of attempts to build a deductive structure in 3-dimensional space, in the legacy of the Russian Constructivist artist Karl Ioganson. Positing total transparency as hopelessly utopian, Tennant shifts the goal of these exercises away from the desire to eradicate the leftover part, towards a better understanding of how to use it…

Leigh Tennant

Leigh Tennant’s artistic practice speaks through the history and materiality of drawing and painting. She is also interested in the relation between femininity and truth, however this aspect of her practice seems to be endlessly deferred. Tennant was a founding member of the Vancouver project space TopDown BottumUp, active from 2011 - 2013. Tennant holds a BA in art history, a BFA in visual art, and an MFA in visual art from The University of British Columbia. Tennant lives and works in Vancouver.

The Junk Drawers in Model Homes | Nicole Levaque | April 6 to May 31, 2017


The stage is settled here, present for the gaze of window shoppers and corridor commuters. To determine where the eye is led the basics of set design are employed. The background, middle-ground, and foreground make a visual hierarchy where sculptures stand in as a rotating cast of characters to be swapped in or edited out. A shifting display with an inherent mistrust of beauty, The Junk Drawers in Model Homes imagines the hidden spaces behind the staging of showrooms now brought out to buy.


Nicole Levaque

Nicole Levaque is an emerging multimedia artist from Hamilton, Ontario, whose research interests include processes and performances of making, and notions of value and labour. She holds a BFA with distinction from Concordia University in Montreal. Levaque has participated in international artist residencies, exhibitions, and talks in Cuernavaca, Mexico (VON 2014) and Reykjavik, Iceland (SIM 2014) and has exhibited internationally at the Kunsthall in Skein, Norway (2015). She is a founding member of Casino Artspace and Gallery, a studio collective and exhibition space based in Hamilton, and is a 2016 recipient of the Hamilton City Enrichment Grant. Currently, Levaque works as the Sculpture Practicum at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

A Few Similar Things | Tanya Lukin Linklater and Celia Perrin Sidarous | February 10 - March 31, 2017

L: Tanya Lukin Linklater, Hands (2011) R: Celia Perrin Sidarous, Chorégraphie de la main et de l’objet (2014)

L: Tanya Lukin Linklater, Hands (2011) R: Celia Perrin Sidarous, Chorégraphie de la main et de l’objet (2014)

She once suggested to a respected, successful, and generous curator that a particular artwork be included in an exhibition alongside another. The curator dismissed the suggestion without pause: “those works are too similar, it’s too obvious” said the curator.
A Few Similar Things presents what its title suggests; it comprises four pairings of similar works, made autonomously by different artists. Mounted in vitrine spaces throughout the Arts Commons +15 pedway in Calgary, each installation is a coupling of works that in some way—aesthetically, conceptually, formally—are forthrightly alike.
Curating often prides itself on revealing the esoteric connectivity of artworks: the potential for juxtaposition to illuminate as-yet-unseen kinships, to tease out subtle thematic and formal tendencies or progressions, to build bonds between disparate objects. In this way, curatorial authority is engineered and maintained. A Few Similar Things plays critically with this impulse, questioning the relationship between power and curatorial methodologies.
In another vein, A Few Similar Things is situated in the context of a post-Internet ecology characterized by dizzying effluences of material—an environment that makes the avant-garde impulse of unique, novel creation appear impossible. How might artists faced with such a climate reckon with the act of creating? What can we understand from these similar works, made entirely independent from one another, each likely in complete ignorance of the other’s existence? How do art works become agents who operate outside of particular constraints of control, once unmoored from their artist's hand?
Rarely are we afforded the opportunity to look at similar images alongside each other. Instead, images are contextualized within an artist’s body of work, within a movement, a style, a regional artistic dialogue—their uniqueness highlighted in variation, rather than in their particularities. In A Few Similar Things, obvious pairings of like with like open poetic confluences between works, but also trace the rhythm of their small differences. In the space of the Arts Commons +15 vitrines, these pairings might become a kind of experiment: how do we reckon with sameness? Can the foundational impulses of curating be undone or de-familiarized by gestures of obvious combination? What might aesthetic closeness lend to us for understanding each other?
Tanya Lukin Linklater + Celia Perrin Sidarous
Celia Perrin Sidarous’ Chorégraphie de la main et de l’objet (2014) and Tanya Lukin Linklater’s short video Hands (2011) centre human hands as aesthetic units within a greater composition, alluding to the poetry of gesture. Rather than take up the hand’s use value—its capacity for labour, service, creation, etc.—each work captures the rhythmic, formal, and evocative potential of the hand. In Sidarous’ photograph, the hands are caught in mid-air, performing some unknown movement, whose grace points both to the construction of the composition, and opens up a space in which to imagine some unknown ritual significance. In Linklater’s video, by contrast, the hands are removed from any relationship to an object. Their movements take on an investigative quality, in motions that correspond to observing or being observed. At times, the hands’ gestures evoke touch between lovers, family members, caretakers, while at others they are reminiscent of banal activities such as handwashing. Linklater’s video moves through a range of human contact, recognition, and contemplation. In both works, hands become a vessel for performing the choreography of complex social relations, staged through the symbolic language of fingers and flesh.

A Few Similar Things is presented in partnership with Untitled Art Society + Stride Gallery + The New Gallery + TRUCK Contemporary Art

Tanya Lukin Linklater + Celia Perrin Sidarous
Maggie Groat + Simone Rochon
Scott Benesiinaabandan + Sanaz Mazinani
Vuk Dragojevic + Liza Eurich
Curated by Natasha Chaykowski + Alison Cooley

Natasha Chaykowski

Natasha Chaykowski is a Calgary-based curator, writer, and researcher. She holds and MA in Art History from York University, and is the co-recipient of the 2014 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators. Chaykowski was editorial assistant for the Journal of Curatorial Studies, editorial resident at Canadian Art Magazine and Curatorial Research Practicum at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre. Her writing has been published in Carbon Paper, esse: arts + opinions, momus, Canadian Art, and the Journal of Curatorial Studies, among others. Currently, she is Director of Untitled Art Society in Calgary. 

Alison Cooley

Alison Cooley is a critic, curator, and educator based in Toronto. Her research deals with the intersection of natural history and visual culture, socially engaged artistic practice, and experiential and interpretative dimensions of art criticism. She is the 2014 recipient of the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators, and her writing has been published in Canadian ArtC MagazineFUSEBlackflash and Magenta, among others. She is currently the Curatorial Assistant and Collections Archivist at the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga. 

Tanya Lukin Linklater

Tanya Lukin Linklater's performance collaborations, videos, photographs, and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally. She is compelled by relationships between bodies, histories, poetry, pedagogy, Indigenous conceptual spaces (languages), and institutions. Her work has been exhibited and performed at EFA Project Space + Performa, NYC, Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago, Chilé, SBC Gallery, Montreal, Western Front, Vancouver, Images Festival + Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, and elsewhere. In 2016 she presented He was a poet and he taught us how to react and become this poetry (Parts 1 and 2) at La Biennale de Montréal - Le Grand Balcon curated by Philippe Pirotte.
Tanya's poetry and essays have been published in C Magazine, BlackFlash Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, Taos International Journal of Poetry and Art, Drunken Boat, Ice Floe, and in publications by Access Gallery, Western Front, and McLaren Art Centre. Tanya studied at University of Alberta (M.Ed.) and Stanford University (A.B. Honours) where she received the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the Louis Sudler Prize for Creative and Performing Arts. She is currently a graduate student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. She was awarded the Chalmers Professional Development Grant in 2010 and the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Literature in 2013. She originates from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions in southern Alaska and is based in northern Ontario, Canada.

Celia Perrin Sidarous

Celia Perrin Sidarous holds an MFA from Concordia University, concentration Photography. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at Parisian Laundry (Montréal), the Esker Foundation (Calgary), the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Montréal), The Banff Centre (Banff), WWTWO (Montréal), VU (Québec) and Gallery 44 (Toronto). Most recently her work was featured in the Biennale de Montréal 2016 – Le Grand Balcon, curated by Philippe Pirotte, at the Musée dʼart contemporain de Montréal. She is the recipient of a number of grants and awards, amongst them the Barbara Spohr Memorial Award 2011. Her works are part of several collections, including the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Living and working in Montréal, she travels frequently as a generative artistic approach.