Co-produced with the Illingworth Kerr Gallery @ ACAD
Curated by Wayne Baerwaldt and Naomi Potter
Curatorial Consultant Steven Loft
The thirteen artists in Fiction/Non-fiction challenge mainstream cultural and political narratives by offering transcultural critique through works that propose counterpoints, rhetorical questions, and revisionist statements (often as increasingly abstract forms of representation) to official historical records or archives.
Through the reinterpretation of facts, traditions, and fictional elements that have informed identity politics and acted as borders and barriers to more elaborate discourse, the artists dissect not only personal and social identity issues, but also the nature and implications of their construction, and how these things are situated and represented in contemporary life.
Dion, Linklater, Boisjoly, Janvier, Draney, and Gibson are concerned with dismantling the colonialist mindset that creates and prescribes fictions as the underpinnings of an “authentic” and authoritative mainstream culture. By defying traditional binary associations and cultural expectations, and by bringing new frameworks to content and form, these artists actively examine and reset the boundaries and other culturally determined limitations of aesthetics, identity, and representation, and open a discourse that circumvents a Western, privileged position predicated on difference in favour of a multiplicity of narratives and self-identification.
Ligon, Funnell, and Stewart examine colonialist and post-colonialist public record keeping as a narrative that is malleable and agenda-driven. In each case, recorded cultural history (via 19th-century painted moving pictures, legal court rulings, and a CBC television documentary, respectively) is acknowledged as being based on fictional accounts that are thinly masked as voices of authority and authenticity.
Drever, Monkman, and Jones scrutinize the fiction of imaginative thinking that has appropriated and misinformed representations of Indigenous symbols and imagery. Norris reclaims the representation of marginalized subjects as an act of defiance and ownership. Created from the perspective of connection rather than separation, Norris’ work stands as a political statement that draws on both traditional and contemporary form and practice.
In each case the abstraction of an idea is a starting point for a critique that asserts the existence of evolving frameworks of identity that are formed through a combination of personal and social experiences and negotiations. Our understanding of Fiction and Non-Fiction is brought into question as each artist contradicts what we think we know. Our understanding of what is real, what is imaginary, or, more importantly, what constitutes a story and what constitutes history, is destabilized.
As an institution that supports production and display, it is essential that we question our authority and to admit that a single dominant cultural lens through which to impose meaning is an outdated and inappropriate concept. Fiction/Non-fiction endeavours to provide meaningful discourse toward notions of progress, to support the elimination of racism, to encourage multiple perspectives and self-definition, to reject barriers or imposed stereotypes, and to offer a space for artists to speak as they would like to be heard.
This exhibition is presented as an invitation to a conversation that reconsiders the traditional binary between the assumed non-fiction of history and the fiction or invention of storytelling. The resulting dialogue might resemble Jones’ infinity symbol—two sides joined at the centre, that suggest not a right or a wrong, but a fluid, ever-moving, more complete understanding of our connected past and, more importantly, our collective future.
Raymond Boisjoly is an artist of Haida and Québécois descent from Langley, British Columbia, who is currently based in Vancouver. He received an MFA from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Vancouver. Recent solo exhibitions include: (And) Other Echoes (2013), SFU Gallery, Burnaby; The Work That Work Leaves Undone (2012), Forest City Gallery, London; The Spirit of Inconstancy (2012), Lawrimore Project, Seattle; The Writing Lesson (2011), Republic Gallery, Vancouver; Indirect Angles of Encounter with Textual Events (2011), Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland; and The Ever-Changing Light (2010), Access Gallery, Vancouver. Boisjoly has participated in numerous group exhibitions and projects including: Beat Nation, Vancouver Art Gallery, (2012); Phantasmagoria, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver (2012); Tools for Conviviality, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2012); and Studies in Decay, OR Gallery, Vancouver (2011). In 2010, Boisjoly was awarded a Fleck Fellowship from The Banff Centre. He is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.
Wally Dion is a member of Yellow Quill First Nation (Salteaux) who currently lives and works in Saskatoon. He holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Dion has exhibited extensively throughout Canada and has had numerous solo exhibitions including Wally Dion: Star Blankets (2011) Ottawa Art Gallery; Thunderbird Series (2010), Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon; Red Worker (2008), Grunt Gallery, Vancouver; and Wally Dion (2008), MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. His work has also been included in major group exhibitions including Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes (2013), Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington; Oh, Canada (2012), MASS MoCA, North Adams; Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years (2011), Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg; Flatlanders: Saskatchewan Emerging Artists (2009), Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Honouring Tradition: Reframing Native Art (2008), Glenbow Museum, Calgary; and No Word for Goodbye (2006), Kenderdine Art Gallery, Saskatoon. Dion’s work can be found in numerous prominent collections including: the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada Council Art Bank, Aboriginal Art Centre, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, and many private collections.
Brenda Draney’s practice is based on her experiences and the relationships formed between her current hometown of Edmonton and the northern community of Slave Lake, where she was raised. She holds both a BA in English Literature and a BFA in Painting from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, as well as an MA in Applied Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver. In 2009, she was named the 11th winner of the annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition, and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2013. Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada, including at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto; the Toronto International Art Fair; MKG127, Toronto; and STRIDE Gallery, Calgary. Her work is currently on exhibition at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie as part of a touring group exhibition titled They Made a Day Be a Day Here. In 2013 her work will be featured in a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. Most recently, she was a participant artist in the thematic residencies Woodland School – What colour is the present? (2013) and Trading Post (2012) at The Banff Centre.
Dean Drever was born in Edmonton, Alberta and currently conducts his studio practice in Kingston, Ontario. He holds a BFA in sculpture and design from the Alberta College of Art + Design. Drever has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions across Canada and internationally, including at the Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; White Columns, New York; Cooper Gallery, University of Dundee; and MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. A touring exhibition of his work, curated by Robert Enright, will open at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie in the fall of 2013. Drever is represented by Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton and Vancouver, and MKG127, Toronto.
Jeff Funnell recently retired from the University of Manitoba School of Art, Winnipeg, where he was an influential professor of art for over thirty years. He holds an MFA from the University of Cincinnati and a BFA from the University of Manitoba. Funnell’s work has been included in numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions including: The Cat Show (2013), White Columns, New York; Continental Drift: Conceptual Art In Canada The 1960s and 70s (2013), Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; My Winnipeg (2011), La Maison Rouge, Paris; SCHOOL OF ART (2009), MKG127, Toronto; Instructions for 59 Drawings, Raymond Roussel (2004-2009) (2009), White Columns, New York, Carte grise à Guy Maddin Collage Crimes (2008), Dazibao – centre de photographies actuelles, Montreal; and La Biennale de Montréal (2007). His work is part of the major group exhibition Traffic: Conceptual Art In Canada 1965-1980, which will be travelling across Canada from 2010-2013.
Jeffrey Gibson is an interdisciplinary artist based in Hudson, NY. His artworks make reference to various aesthetic and material histories rooted in Indigenous cultures of the Americas, and in modern and contemporary subcultures. Gibson currently has two solo museum exhibitions traveling; LIKE A HAMMER, organized by the Denver Art Museum, and This Is The Day, organized by The Wellin Museum. Other notable solo exhibitions include The Anthropophagic Effect (2019), The New Museum, New York; Look How Far We’ve Come! (2017), Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee; Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me (2017), Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center; and A Kind of Confession (2016), Savannah College of Art and Design Museum. Select group exhibitions include The Whitney Biennial (2019), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Aftereffect (2019), Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Suffering from Realness (2019), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; Re:Define (2019), Heard Museum, Phoenix; and Art for a New Understanding:Native Voices, 1950s to Now (2018), Crystal Bridges, Bentonville. Gibson is a member of the faculty at Bard College.
As a member of the commonly referred to “Indian Group of Seven”, Janvier is one of the significant pioneering aboriginal artists in Canada. Born of Dene Suline and Saulteaux descent in 1935, Alex Janvier was sent to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St. Paul, Alberta at the age of eight. Although Janvier speaks of having a creative instinct from as far back as he can remember it was at the residential school that he was given the tools to create his first paintings. His works involve unique style of modernist abstraction informed by the rich cultural and spiritual traditions and heritage of the Dene in northern Alberta; they incorporate abstract and representational images with bright, often symbolic colours. Janvier received formal art training at the Alberta College of Art, Calgary and graduated with honours in 1960. Immediately after graduation, Janvier took up an opportunity to instruct art at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. In 1966, the Canada’s Federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs commissioned him to produce 80 paintings for Expo 67, which, for various reasons, were never exhibited. Instead, he helped bring together a group of artists for a separate “Indians of Canada Pavilion” at Expo 67, among them Norval Morrisseau and Bill Reid. In January 2013, Janvier received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2010, he was named a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and in 2007 he received Member of the Order of Canada.
Jonathan Jones is a member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of Australia and is currently based in Sydney. He works across a range of mediums, from printmaking and drawing, to sculpture and film. He is perhaps best known for his site-specific installations and interventions into space, which use light, subtle shadow and the repetition of shape to explore Indigenous traditions, relationships, and ideas. Jones’ work has been shown both nationally and internationally in numerous solo exhibitions such as: Jonathan Jones (2013), Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland; Jonathan Jones (2013), Manly Art Gallery and Museum; untitled (salt) (2011), Galerie Mirchandani and Steinruecke, Mumbai; untitled (the tyranny of distance) (2008), Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney. His work has also been included in a range of major group exhibitions in Australia and internationally, including: My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia (2013), Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (2013), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; 18th Biennale of Sydney: all our relations (2012), Sydney; unDisclosed: Second National Indigenous Art Triennial (2012), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Parallel collisions: 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years (2011), Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg. He has won several awards for his work, including the 2002 New South Wales Indigenous Arts Fellowship from Arts NSW and the inaugural Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award from Queensland Art Gallery in 2006.
Glenn Ligon lives and works in New York. He received a BA from Wesleyan University, Middletown, and was a participant in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, New York. He works in a variety of media, including painting, neon, installation, video, and print to explore issues surrounding race, sexuality, representation, language, and America’s cultural legacies. Ligon’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including the travelling exhibitions Glenn Ligon: AMERICA (2011), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2011), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2011-2012), and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2012); and Glenn Ligon: Some Changes, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2005), Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2006), Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2006), Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2007), Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver (2007), and Mudam – Foundation Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2008). He has also been included in numerous major group exhibitions, such as NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (2013), New Museum, New York; The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Andy Warhol (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Untitled 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011); Learn to Read (2007), Tate Modern, London; Documenta 11 (2002), Kassel; 3rd Gwangju Biennale (2000); Venice Biennale (1997), Jurassic Technologies Revenant, 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996); and Whitney Biennial (1991 and 1993), New York. Upon entering office and moving into the White House, President Barack Obama installed Ligon’s Black Like Me No. 2 (1992) in his family’s private living quarters.
Kent Monkman is a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. He has had solo exhibitions at numerous Canadian museums including: Montreal Museum of Fine Art; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Winnipeg Art Gallery; and Art Gallery of Hamilton. He has participated in various international group exhibitions including: Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (2013), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Oh, Canada (2012), MASS MoCA, North Adams; My Winnipeg (2011), Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sete; Remember Humanity (2010), Witte de With, Rotterdam; The Beauty of Distance (2010), Sydney Biennale. Monkman has created site specific performances at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Compton Verney, Warwickshire; and McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg. He has also made Super 8 versions of these performances, which he calls “Colonial Art Space Interventions.” His award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals, including ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2010 and 2011), the Berlinale (2007 and 2008), and the Toronto International Film Festival (2007). His work is represented in numerous public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Museum London; Glenbow Museum, Calgary; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington; and Vancouver Art Gallery. He is represented by Galerie Florent Tosin, Berlin; Trepanier Baer Gallery, Calgary; and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal.
Jude Norris (a.k.a. Tatakwan) is a multi-disciplinary Métis artist of Plains Cree cultural affiliation. Originally from Edmonton, she is currently based between New York City, Ontario, and the Okanagan Territory. She studied painting and experimental sculpture at Middlesex University and Kensington and Chelsea College, both in London, as well as integrated media at Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto. Norris also apprenticed in Plains-style doll-making with award-winning traditional artist and dancer Dallin Maybe, and learned elements of beadwork from a number of other skilled beadwork artists and teachers. Recent selected solo exhibitions include: Mooswa, Muskwa, PuskwaMoostoos-Digital Creations with Immemorial Relations (2010), Hamilton Artists Inc.; Gratitude Root Code Mural (2009), hq gallery, New York; Diary of a Nomad (2009), Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna; Between the Lines: Digitized Dialects and Encoded Traditions (2008), Harcourt House, Edmonton; and Indigenous Metropolis/Immigrant Wilderness (2007), Grace Exhibition Space, New York. Her work was also included in the recent major group exhibition The Old Becomes The New: New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement And The New York School (2013), Wilmer Jennings Gallery, New York. Norris is a recipient of the prestigious Chalmers Arts Fellowship and has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. Her work can be found in numerous public collections, such as the Royal Alberta Museum, University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, National Museum of the American Indian, and University of Toronto.
Krista Belle Stewart
Krista Belle Stewart is an artist of Okanagan descent who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is currently a MFA candidate at the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, and holds a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver. Her work engages the complexities of intention which emerge and change through time. Beginning with archival material, she approaches questions of mediation and story-telling to unfold the interplay between personal and institutional history. This work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions, including Utopics – 11th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition, Biel/Bienne.
Wayne Baerwaldt is Director/Curator, Exhibitions, Albert College of Art + Design, Calgary. He was the Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto from 2002-2005, and Director/Curator of Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg from 1988-2000.
Baerwaldt has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions including Theo Sims: the Candahar, Under the Influence of Fluxus, Pierre Molinier, Joep van Lieshout, Susan Turcot, Montreal Biennale 2007: Crack the Sky, The Royal Art Lodge: Ask the Dust, John Kormeling, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Paradise Institute (Canadian Pavilion, 2001 Venice Biennale), Paulo Whitaker, Glenn Ligon: Some Changes, Sheila Spence: All About Star, Iran Do Espirito Santo: Wall Drawings, Stephen Andrews: subject, John Noestheden & Shuvinai Ashoona: Earth & Sky, Adam Pendleton: BAND, Gabriela Garcia-Luna, Blake Little: Western Project, Zachari Logan: Fugitive Garden and other projects that trace performative elements in artmaking.
Numerous film and video co-productions include The Eternal Network (26-part television series for WTN), FILM(dzama), Glenn Ligon: Death of Tom, Adam Pendleton: BAND, Iran Do Espirito Santo, Shari Hatt: Two Clowns…, Janet Cardiff & George Bure Miller: Walk With Us, and Graeme Patterson: Smithbilt.
Baerwaldt has contributed articles and essays to Blackflash, Catalyst, POV, City Magazine, Art&Text, Border Crossings, Parkett, Art on Paper, TIME, Guia des Artes, Poliester, Art Papers, MoMA Sao Paulo, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Oh, Canada) and C Magazine.
Naomi Potter is the Director/Curator of Esker Foundation in Calgary. Over the last sixteen years she developed numerous curatorial, artist, and residency projects in Canada and Central and Eastern Europe. From 2009-2011, she was curator of Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre where she produced solo projects and exhibitions with many artists including: Anthony Burnham, Geoffrey Farmer, Melanie Gilligan, Brian Jungen, Ragnar Kjartansson, Silke Otto-Knapp, and Ron Terada. More recently she has worked to develop solo projects at Esker Foundation with Peter von Tiesenhausen, Cedric Bomford, Cynthia Girard, Mia Feuer, Colleen Heslin, and Etienne Zack, to name a few. In 2003, Potter was awarded a year-long Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) artist residency in Istanbul, and from 2003 to 2007 was co-director of the international artist residency program at CESTA in the Czech Republic. In 2015 she was a guest of both the Australian Arts Council and British Council International Curatorial Visit programs. Potter holds a BFA from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and an MFA in sculpture from Concordia University, Montreal.