Hollis McConkey: Phases (In and Out)
Curated by Sarah Shelton & Lauchlin MacQuarrie.
Hollis McConkey (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist based
in Toronto, Ontario, on the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the
Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe, and the Huron-Wendat. She recently graduated
OCAD U with a major in Drawing and Painting and minor in Art History and is
currently pursuing a graduate degree at Goldsmiths, University of London.
As a chronically ill woman, artist, and previous athlete,
Hollis aims to make visible the nuanced invisibilities of
her own identity and experience in/with Western ‘normative’ structures.
Taking references from contemporary media, sports, and historical art
practices, her work considers what it means to be an invisibly disabled woman
navigating structures designed to marginalize experiences outside of
heteronormative, Eurocentric, capitalist, ablest, and patriarchal systems.
Growing up in competitive athletic spaces, she considers
questions about 'belonging' and identity construction and how one must take up
certain practices to fit into patriarchal and ableist structures. From this
Hollis has established the concept of seeing and being seen as
the central focus of her practice.
In this exhibit, Hollis speaks indirectly to her own
disabilities by addressing her sister’s lived disability experience. Hollis
invited her sister Charlotte to write down her feelings and struggles in living daily
with a painful disability. This resultant collection – scraps of paper,
napkins, and wrappers – exposes the viewer to the consistent and exhausting
nature of surviving with certain disabilities.
In addition, Hollis unpacks the TTC’s accessibility poster
campaign. Despite appearing in street cars, buses, and subway trains across the
city, the TTC’s poster is often passed over and misunderstood by travellers in
the rush of commuting
The resulting dissonance between the TTC’s ineffective
poster campaign and Hollis’ sister’s visceral writing opens the viewer to
questioning how a lack of visibility further disables people with invisible
disabilities. In this, Hollis emphasizes the continuous marginalization of
Special thanks for exhibition support to Cathy Cappon and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Sustainability Initiatives (ODESI).
This link is to an audio recording on a loop of a breathing exercise practiced by
Hollis' sister. The listener can hear her inhaling and exhaling with changing
strength. Each inhale and exhale last about 2-3 seconds each. Many of the
exhales are louder than the inhales.
The curators invite you to contribute to an online community by sharing your experiences with invisibility. How do you experience disability -- culturally, physically, socially, emotionally... This links to a Facebook group page.
Catherine Heard -- Making - Red Work: The Emperor of Atlantis
The Emperor of Atlantis (detail), 2023, mixed media
including antique textiles and embroidery, dimensions variable. Photograph by
Making –– Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis
Heard’s exhibition Making –– Redwork: The Emperor of
Atlantis employs the creative form of the graphic novel to reflect on
the five-year process of creating a community-based textile installation. Her narrative emphasizes subjectivity,
revealing the complexities, uncertainties, and anxieties of producing a work of
The installation, which is on view at the Niagara Artist
Centre in Fall 2023, camouflages scenes of war, injustice, and resistance in a
patchwork of antique redwork embroideries. Patriotic imagery, homey
domestic scenes and fairy tale characters are juxtaposed with embroideries of
traumatic events, raising questions about how history is recorded in the
domestic sphere and the stories we tell ourselves as we try to make sense of
the world in which we live.
The complex work integrates embroidery patterns depicting
WWI, WW2, The Vietnam War, The War on Terror, Black Lives Matter, and the
current war in Ukraine. Additionally,
four guest artists have created patterns that reflect their personal
histories: Lolita Newman commemorates
her ancestral connection to slavery; Ghazal Tahernia documents the Iranian
Revolution; Star Nahwegahbo communicates her truth as an Indigenous woman; and
Sophia Boyadjian ties the history of the Armenian Genocide to present-day events.
During the pandemic, the project shifted from monthly, in-person, embroidery bees to an online model and began sending free embroidery kits to participants by mail. To date, over 200 people have contributed embroidered motifs to the project. You can see their individual contributions and read their words at https://www.emperorofatlantis.com/embroideries-by-participants
Red Work: The Emperor of Atlantis is a perpetually unfinished work. New participants are welcome to request free embroidery kits from www.emperorofatlantis.com.
Thank you to Studio Assistants, past and present: Krystal Bigsky, Tamar Bresage, Emma Feliciano, Phoebe Findlay, Salma Al Ghazhaly, Shiemara Hogarth, Mourin Hydier, Yvonne Gascon, Daniela Gonzalez Mantilla, Niku Koochak, Chad Mohammed, Jackson Piij, Tatjana Reithofer, Emily Roe, Katia Scandale, Semonde Snauwaert, Olivia Taylor, and Szaky Wu
Catherine Heard gratefully acknowledges the
support of the University of Windsor Women’s Research Fund, The University of
Windsor Ignite Work Study Program for funding studio assistants, and the University
of Windsor Humanities Research Group, where she is the 2023-24 HRG Fellow.
Making –– Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis (detail), 2023,
Photo Comic, Dimensions variable.
Heard is an interdisciplinary artist whose works integrate traditional textile
techniques into sculpture and installation. Historical crafts such as
embroidery become a foil for complex narratives and difficult subject matter,
including histories of the body, war, and injustice. Her most recent works
invite public participation, engaging the conversational dynamics of the
quilting bee. Heard’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in the
permanent collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, The Art Gallery of
Hamilton, The Art Gallery of Kamloops and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery. She lives in Windsor, Ontario, and is an
Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Arts at the University of
Windsor. She is represented by Birch Contemporary Gallery in Toronto.
Making –– Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis opens at 113Research (113 McCaul) Oct 24 and will run until the end of January 2024. The exhibit will be accompanied by artist talks/stitchery workshops. An in person stitch-in will be held at ODESI, 3rd floor, 100 McCaul Street on Wednesday Oct 25. Two others will be online 12-2.30 PM Nov 7 & Nov 9.
Pam Patterson and 113Research gratefully acknowledge the support
of Ashok Mathur, VP Research, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability
Initiatives (ODESI) for this project (exhibition, public talks, and workshops).
Ways to Contribute Embroidery to Red Work: The Emperor of Atlantis:
From Catherine Heard:
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to embroider! During the Victorian era, making a redwork square was often a first embroidery project for a young girl because it is an achievable learning task for someone who is learning to sew.
Learn how to participate and watch tutorial videos at: https://www.emperorofatlantis.com/blog/tutorial-videos
Patterns and materials kits will be provided for free at OCADU workshops (see below). You can also request a free kit via the website (see link above)."
Boy Toys by Vincent Depoivre
Curated by Lauchlin MacQuarrie
01, 2024 until April 30, 2024.
floor hallway (vitrine and lounge annex galleries), 113 McCaul Street.
Vincent Depoivre is a French artist and designer, and Director of Maison Depoivre Art Gallery in Prince Edward County.
Special thanks to the Faculty of Art and Dr. Pam Patterson for direction and assistance in building this exhibition project.
Spring 2024: TO PERFORM / WE PERFORM
Exhibit proposals are welcomed now for 2025-2026.