2023-2024 Projects

Fall 2023:  

Hollis McConkey: Phases (In and Out)

Curated by Sarah Shelton & Lauchlin MacQuarrie.

Sept.01 - Oct 23

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 invisible disabilities.

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

Curated by Pam Patterson

Oct 24 2023 - Jan 31 2024

Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis (detail),  2023, mixed media including antique textiles and embroidery, dimensions variable. Photograph by the artist.

Making –– Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis

Catherine 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 art.

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. Photograph by the artist.

Catherine 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.


Instagram:  freudsbride101 

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:

"Historically, redwork quilts could be made by individuals or by communities. Embroiderers would often add their names or initials to their work. I am tapping into this tradition by asking my friends and community to contribute to this installation project.
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
Opens March 01, 2024 until April 30, 2024.
5th floor hallway (vitrine and lounge annex galleries), 113 McCaul Street.

Here it is!, 2021, (Aluminum dipond print)

In Boy Toys, Vincent Depoivre reflects on masculine tropes using the form of children's toys. These LEGO pieces feature rounded edges, lack defining characteristics, and are made of plastic—there is nothing inherently sexual about them. Choosing these figures to act as signifiers of what we perceive as making the masculine form sexual challenges the viewer to reconsider their own perceptions of sexuality.

"As a queer man myself", writes MacQuarrie, "Depoivre's work prompts me to question my own perceptions of masculinity. Would I find these figures sexual if they were human?" The ostensibly serious nature of what is taught through Western gender apparatus can appear trivial when represented in a different form, such as that of a child's toy. But is it?

Depoivre also challenges perceptions of homosexuality. This is evident in Am I a Unicorn? displayed in the Annex Lounge of 113Research. The use of camp as a medium for questioning societal norms is a longstanding tradition within the queer community, and 113Research is excited to contribute to this tradition with this exhibition.

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.


Am I a Unicorn? 2023 (Aluminum dibond print)


Opens May 1, 2024 - Sept 30, 2024.

Curators: Alejandra Mendoza,  Lauchlin MacQuarrie, & Pam Patterson 
Curatorial Assistants: : Grace MacDonald & Rhi Hopperton

Artists: Sissie He, Jordan King, Billie MacFarland, Rae Sigrist and Kiley Brennan.  

In the Vitrine, Annex Lounge, and Video Galleries.

Ephemeral Pops  by Sissie He (2023)

In To Perform, We Perform we draw our curatorial premise from Judith Butler's 1988 text Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory. Butler here offers insight into how one might "trouble gender".

Butler notes:  

If the ground of gender identity is the stylized repetition of acts through time, and not a seemingly seamless identity, then the possibilities of gender transformation are to be found in the arbitrary relation between such acts, in the possibility of a different sort of repeating, in the breaking or sub-versive repetition of that style.

Vitrine Gallery

Still from video by Jordan King  

This exhibit poses the promise of how potential performative deviations – relating to gender and elsewhere - however slight, could affect social and cultural change.

We invited artists to consider how the (re)performance of transgressions, however subtle, over time, and in a range of mediums, might have an impact on affecting new perceptions of (dis)ability, materiality, gender, sustainability, and even survival.

The results, in exhibition, display a rich and fruitful range of responses that address historical colonial re-marking, gender or ability non-conformity, the power or influence of the abject or vulnerable body, and the imagined possibilities for human-non-human hybridity. Change here is revealed as personal, embodied, and sustainable and speaks to how we can enact visibility, expression, resistance, and even species transformation.

Exhibit proposals are welcomed now for 2025-2026. For this year, we will focus on student curatorial projects.

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OPENING Hollis McConkey: Phases (In and Out). Curated by Sarah Shelton & Lauchlin MacQuarrie. Sept.01 - Oct 23