From April 15th-23rd the public will be able to see 100 works illustrating the creative talents of 23 graduating arts students.
THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA’S 2023 Visual Arts graduating class will soon be unveiling their work in a transformative end-of-year exhibition, Don’t Need to Know to Feel It, from April 15th-23rd. An opening celebration will be held in the Visual Arts Building on Saturday, April 15th at 7 p.m. This exhibition is a unique showcase of work from 23 emerging artists, highlighting their extraordinary skills and creativity in 13 different exhibition spaces throughout the entire Visual Arts building.
Don’t Need to Know to Feel It features the work of artists who have spent the last four years developing their practices and exploring their own unique artistic identities. Curation co-chair Stella Mccaig explains that the exhibition hopes to “stitch together an array of making, creating dialogues in the work that mimic the dialogues we have had between ourselves for the past 4 years.” This show celebrates the end of their journey as students, but also the beginning of the journey towards the future, highlighting the potential of these young artists to shape the future of art here in Victoria. As Mccaig describes it, “this exhibition represents the moment. It represents personal identity, and cultural identity. It represents the otherness of one’s own body in space. It represents a response to the immediate environment, dream’s thought to be true, nostalgia as it is teased through the holes made in memory. It represents sex and desire felt through things and entities. It represents Love, Care and the act of making. It represents us, 23 humans, all of which have the desire to make, think, and perform outside themselves as they inch closer to feeling it.”
The collection will showcase around 100 different works in sculpture, performance, installation, painting, drawing, digital media, and animation. Themes that encompass the multitude of pieces in the show include interconnectivity, responsibility in the world to our fellow living beings and objects, and the amplitude of joy, beauty, and magnificence through this interdependence.
Understanding beauty, magnificence, and joy is not something you can learn, and therefore you need not know anything to feel it.
Be sure not to miss the performances scheduled for opening night as “they will arrive to and for the moment, not to be witnessed in real time again,” notes Mccaig. Come and support this year’s graduating class of amazing artists at UVic and witness the future of art in Victoria.
Below are a few of the artists and their works to be featured in the exhibit.
For the UVic BFA grad show, Don’t Need to Know it To Feel it, Jasper Pettman, a white/nêhiyaw (Cree), Two-Spirit/trans artist from Secwepemcúl'ecw (100 Mile House, BC), and a member of Cowessess First Nation, will be presenting a webpage they are coding as a project on reclaiming his and his family’s relationship with the Cree language.
“I have primarily painted for the past year and a half, and I wanted to branch out into digital media and the Internet because I like how expansive and flexible they can be. My base idea is creating a personal webpage/blog entirely in the Cree language, and from there it led me to start learning HTML and CSS in order to code the page myself, while also learning Cree,” Jasper shared. The work concerns themes of Indigenous language loss, reclamation and revitalization, and Jasper is inspired by old-school internet aesthetics and DIY internet spaces.
“I want to imagine or re-imagine the era of early Internet blogging in a personal, Indigenous context,” said Jasper. The blog itself is hosted on tumblr.com, but for the show he is intending to set it up as an interactive installation, as a computer monitor on a desk with a mouse for people to click around.
Jasper Pettman, Untitled (WIP), 2023
Tori Jones will be creating a unique performance piece for the opening night of the show on April 15th. Beginning in the first semester in 2022, Tori held interviews with each artist participating in the show, asking them about a specific chosen object by the artist, in relation to their life and their practice. The performance will be centred around them returning the objects as a ceremony of celebration for each of her classmates participating in the show.
“The goal for this performance is for each participating artist to feel recognized as artists and for their accomplishments and hard work here in the Fine Arts department. It will celebrate the artists with gratitude and congratulations,” Tori shared in reflecting on their intention for the performance.
Key themes behind this performance work are connection and disconnection, through the internet age, after COVID 19, “addressing issues of distance between real life and virtual experience.”
Inspired by her participation in Buddhist gratitude ceremonies, Indigenous blessing ceremonies here on the Island as well as in Hawaii, Tori hopes to create a space of interconnection and honouring of all of the hard work that has been put in by these graduating artists over the years.
Artist Tori Jones and object that was given to Tori by one of the performance participants.
Leina Dueck, an artist of Japanese, Canadian, German, and Dutch heritage, pulls from cultural histories of her upbringing within her art practice, focusing on how they have shaped her.
For the show, she will be working with various materials and projects—one being cyanotypes, capturing frozen moments and breaths through time.
The other work Mccaig will include in the show was originally created for the Audain Studio Seminar class, a year-long class taught by Lindsay Delaronde. Delaronde assigned her students in the first semester of 2022, as a final project for April 2023, to create their own regalia, which is to encompass their own experience of their cultural identity.
Dueck’s regalia will be constructed with traditional Japanese textiles and modern sewing techniques, and is intended to evoke conversation around the fetishization of Japanese culture. Leina explains that the piece will, “Emphasize the push and pull between being a cultural fantasy and the values my family have taught me, in which I hold dear in my heart. The concept of this regalia will be targeting my struggles with identity as a Japanese, Canadian, German, Dutch mix and the shifts I've had to make in order to subsist being culturally fetishized.”
Leina Dueck, Delirium, 2022, Cyanotype
Don’t Need to Know to Feel It runs from April 15th-23rd at UVic's Visual Arts Building. An opening celebration will be held on Saturday, April 15th at 7 p.m. Submitted by Cailin Blanchard, a soon-to-graduate Visual Arts student.