Current Exhibitions

meromictic

Curated by MCS4605E
Exhibition: February 29 – March 14, 2024

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 29 from 5-8PM
artLAB Gallery

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Kionywarihwaen, or Crawford Lake, is a small body of water that formed in a limestone cliff sinkhole near Milton, Ontario, just over 100km away from the Artlab Gallery. This exhibition responds to the 2023 selection of Crawford Lake by the International Commission on Stratigraphy as the "golden spike" that marks the start of a new proposed geological epoch, the Anthropocene. The lake is meromictic, meaning the layers of water within it do not mix, allowing for the preservation of sediment deposits in the lakebed. Because of this, layers of sediment lie untouched at the bottom of the lake, showing, among other things, evidence of human impact on the world in a layer of radioactive plutonium from nuclear weapons tests - the marker that has been decided represents the moment human impact becomes evident in the strata of the geologic record; that is, the Anthropocene. 

How can we understand the impact of this moment? This exhibition uses stratigraphy as an organizing principle, pulling back layers to try to understand the complicated relations involved in naming a geologic era and marking it through a lake in Ontario. Seven artists investigating water, earth, air, soil, wood, rocks, and minerals, are paired with specimens and samples loaned from collections across Southwestern Ontario. Each pairing brings an additional level of complexity to the exhibition and illustrates the ultimate challenge of trying to fully grasp an epoch in a layer of sediment. meromictic focuses on both the opportunity to learn from the siting of the golden spike, and on all that escapes from accepted forms of knowledge.

Featuring artworks by Janice Brant Kahehtoktha, Greg Curnoe, Simon Fuh, Stefan Herda, Lisa Hirmer, Tomonari Nishikawa, Nico Williams, Kelly Wood. 

With contributions from Biodiversity Gallery/Nina Zitani, Conservation Halton, Neal Ferris, Jessica Johnson/Smithsonian Institute, McCarthy Lab/Brock University, the Museum of Ontario Archeology, Patterson Lab/Carleton University, Corcoran Lab/UWO, the Richard W. Hutchison Geoscience Collaborative Suite/UWO, Aaron Shugar/Queen’s University, Amanda White/FOFA Gallery.

This project was made possible with support from The Strategic Priorities Fund (UWO), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Rodger Research and Development Fund, The Department of Visual Arts (UWO), and the Centre for Sustainable Curating.

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Lisa Hirmer, We Are All Atmosphere, documentation of a public art project, 2022


RELATED PROGRAMMING:

tba journal launch and film screening
February 29, 5-8pm
artLAB Gallery, JLVAC, Western University
Launch 5-7pm artLAB Gallery
Screening 7-8pm room 100, JLVAC
Organized by tba editorial team

The editorial team at tba journal are thrilled to announce the digital publication of our 5th peer reviewed volume, PLASTIC, on view at: tbajournal.ca. Through exploratory interventions and historical analyses, the contributors to PLASTIC re-think plasticity as resilience, as an immortal being, and an active agent in post-capitalist colonial industrialisation. On February 29th at 7pm we celebrate the launch of our newest edition, screening three video-works featured in our newest edition by artists Morris Fox, Miles Rufelds and Wiebke Schroeder.

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FOFA Sustainable Signage Toolkit launch
February 29, 5-8pm
artLAB Gallery, JLVAC, Western University
Organized by Jasmine Sihra (BA Art History and Museum Studies, 2020; currently PhD Concordia)


Taking cues from the Centre for Sustainable Curating at Western University, Concordia University's FOFA Gallery began an initiative on sustainable signage to move away from vinyl PVC lettering. Through a series of hands-on workshops, in-gallery experiments, collaborations with artists and conversations with others working on similar ideas, the FOFA has developed and documented alternative materials and techniques for creating sustainable gallery signage. Our findings will be compiled into a free bilingual (French/English) toolkit, launching on February 29th, 2024, that showcases sustainable signage options that can be applied to a variety of arts and cultural programming contexts.

This event will be in person, and the toolkit available online after February 29th at www.sustainablecurating.ca

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Gwenyth Chao and Emily Chudnovsky, Curatorial Tour and Talk
terra aesthetica: art, activism, and the tectonics of power and pedagogy
March 5, 3-5:30pm
artLAB Gallery, JLVAC, Western University
Tour 3-4pm, artLAB
Talk 4-5:30pm, room TBA
Organized by Ashar Mobeen (PhD student)

Join us for a compelling panel in conjunction with meromictic, featuring artists Gwenyth Chao and Emily Chudnovsky. The panel aims to delve into the intricate nexus of art and activism, the dynamics of power structures, and innovative pedagogical methods, particularly within the context of the Anthropocene. Through their distinctive practices, Chao and Chudnovsky offer unique perspectives on materiality, ecological consciousness, and the potential for art to catalyze change. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the artists, sparking insightful dialogues that promise to enrich our collective understanding of the transformative power of art in addressing contemporary ecological and societal challenges.

About the Artists:

Emily Chudnovsky – Chudnovsky’s artistic practice is centered around the collection of organic remnants and synthetic decay, from which she crafts new iterations, connections, and regenerations through sculpture-based installations. Her intentional use of discarded materials prompts are evaluation of the boundaries between nature and waste. Chudnovsky’s site-specific research spans diverse landscapes, including Scotland, California, Yukon, and Ontario, reflecting a deep engagement with both local environments and broader ecological concerns.

Gwenyth Chao - Born in Toronto/Tkaronto, Canada, Gwenyth Chao holds a BA from the University of Guelph and an MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Her research praxis is driven by the question of how art can serve as a portal to envisage alternative futures through material engagements, thereby challenging and redefining systems of knowledge production and dissemination. Chao’s work, supported by prestigious arts councils and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, engages with material reconstitution informed by ecological awareness and transdisciplinary processes. Her exhibitions span across Canada, with upcoming solo shows and contributions to significant interdisciplinary projects. Chao’s work not only reflects an experimental approach to art-making but also a commitment to ecological and epistemological exploration.

This event was made possible by the Western Sustainable Impact Fund granted by the President’s Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainability (PACES).

This event will be in person.

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Francine McCarthy, Curatorial Tour and Talk
Defining the Anthropocene in Sediments from a Meromictic Lake  
March 12, 3-5:30pm
artLAB Gallery, JLVAC, Western University
Tour 3-4pm artLAB
Talk 4-5:30pm, room TBA

Dr Francine McCarthy is Professor of Earth Sciences also appointed to the Department of Biological Sciences and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University, Ontario. She is also Research Associate in Natural History at the Royal Ontario Museum and a voting member of the Anthropocene Working Group. She will talk about her work investigating the potential of the varved sequence in the hydrologically unique Crawford Lake to define the Anthropocene.

This event will be in person.
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Tahir Karl Karmali, Curatorial Tour and Talk
March 14, 3-5:30pm
artLAB Gallery, JLVAC, Western University
Tour 3-4pm artLAB
Talk 4-5:30pm, room TBA
Organized by Katie Lawson (PhD student)

Tahir Carl Karmali is a Nairobi-born and Brooklyn-based artist who works across photography, installation, papermaking, sculpture, and sound and concentrates thematically on migration, landscape, geology, labor, and belonging. His series Strata (2017-2019) consists of eight textile sculptures. Each work takes on different forms and styles of sculpture all using dyed raffia stained with cobalt. To create the dye, Karmali performs a ‘reverse mining’ practice whereby old American cell phone batteries—bought one Bay—are dismantled to extract the copper, cobalt oxide, and aluminum. Stratais currently on view as a part of the exhibition Erratic Behaviour(2024) at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, curated by Western PhD candidate Katie Lawson. As a part of programming for meromictic, Karmali will talk about his practice and the nearby exhibition Erratic Behaviour. 

About the artist:

Tahir Carl Karmali received a MA in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2015. Selected solo and group exhibitions include: Water Scarcity: Perpetual Thirst, Wave Hill, New York, 2022; Bound Between Cliffs, a solo show at Circle Art Gallery, 2022; Fictions, Circle Art Gallery, 2022;Heimaten, Museum für Gewerbe, Hamburg, 2021; Omniscient: Queer Documentation in an Image Culture, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York, 2021; Second Careers, Cleveland Museum of Art, 2020; Paper Boarders, IPCNY, New York, 2019. Karmali was commissioned to create work following the inaugural Open Call for The Shed Museum in New York in 2019. Recent residencies include the Watermill Center, New York State, 2020 and Montelo, Nevada, 2021. In 2022 he exhibited at The Armory Show in New York and 1-54 Contemporary Art Fair in London. Karmali’swork Swallowing Soil (The Scream 2) has been selected to be displayed at TheRockefeller Foundation's headquarters in New York, following his participation at The Armory Show in 2022. Karmali is set to exhibit in the main pavilion at the Dak’art Biennale 2024.

This event was made possible by the Western Sustainable Impact Fund granted by the President’s Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainability (PACES). The exhibition Erratic Behaviour is on at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery from January 27-April 21, 2024.


This event will be in person and recorded.

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Student-designed catalogues for the exhibition meromictic, featuring buckthorn berry ink on the cover.


ANTHROPIC

Exhibition: February 29 – March 14, 2024
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 29 from 5-8PM
Cohen Commons


Professor Sheri Osden Nault

Payton Atkinson, Patricia Barwicz, Genevieve Buchanan, Mariah Cowan, Stephanie Davey, Anastasia Fedorova, Cheyne Ferguson, Arlen Griffiths, Hannah Khiavi, Megan Lee, Venus Nwaokoro, Niyati Sahdev, Maggie Shook, Natasha Tacconelli, Mady Teeter, Emma Whitehouse

The artworks in Anthropic ask of viewers: What does it mean to be in relationship with the self, other, and environment in the Anthropocene?

In our day-to-day, we are forced to hold the presence of ever-looming crises alongside the persistent wonders offered by our loved ones and the world around us. Environmental degradation, climate change, and species loss pose challenges that compound with personal and interpersonal hardship, necessitating practices of care, play, and joy to soothe anxieties, carry on, and dream ongoing futures. Each of these artists reminds us, through their work, that humans must exist within our environment and alongside each other, that we are flesh and particles like all other beings, and that we must face this reality while in attentive dialogue with our internal worlds.

In conversation with the concurrent exhibition meromictic and the launch of TBA Journal’s Plastic, the works in Anthropic press viewers to dwell within the dissonance of surviving and finding pleasure, in spite of what looms and challenges us.

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