Digital Features

In this era of physical distance, the Artlab has established a Digital Features series to enhance its on-site programming. It is our hope that these features will expand on projects carried out by our students and faculty in useful ways, and broader their reach to virtual audiences.

Please email Ruth Skinner at for additional details on this and any other programming. For updates on the evolving situation please visit: 

Kirsty Robertson - Curating in a Time of Crisis

Our first Artlab Digital Feature is in collaboration with Professor Kirsty Robertson. On March 13th, because of the pandemic, the Visual Arts Centre was locked down. For four months, the Artlab Gallery's recent exhibition, Together We Average as Zero, remained installed in the abandoned building. Together We Average as Zero was curated by undergraduate students with Kirsty Robertson in the Museum and Curatorial Practicum. Though no one could enter the gallery, two banners reading ARE YOU READY TO SURVIVE THE NOW and ALL FUTURES ARE CONNECTED could be seen from the outside through the glass atrium. The accidental prescience of Together We Average as Zero is a reminder that pandemics may pass but the damage done to the world will continue to impact our futures.

Ellen Moffat - beginning again

Gertrude Stein’s notion of time as a prolonged present, a continuous present, beginning again and again, and using everything resonates with the temporal distortion of COVID. The performative action of volleying a balloon into space is a gesture of staying afloat within the here-and-now-of-what-is, beginning again and again and again. Balloon soundings and sound editing by artist and current PhD candidate Ellen Moffat.

Harper Wellman: Caught In Between: The Monuments of Princess Diana

Harper Wellman is a recent MA graduate from our Department’s Art History and Curatorial Studies program. In this Artlab digital feature, Harper talks us through his Master’s Research Project on the monuments of Princess Diana. Harper introduces anti-monuments and counter monuments, and illustrates how these concepts developed into the anti-memorial, or counter memorial. He shows us how Princess Diana’s memorials both enact and evade Neoclassical monument forms, and asks what monuments must accomplish following recent global protest movements that have razed outmoded markers to the ground.

Sam Wagter: We Were, And Then We Weren't - Developing an Art Exhibition During a Global Pandemic

A text graphic with the title of the article

Midway through September, certain locations and services on Western's campus were forced to close to the public in the efforts of community health and safety. Among these spaces was the Artlab Gallery, which had just opened the exhibition, We Were, And Then We Weren't by fourth-year BFA Practicum Students. In this digital publication, exhibiting student and Artlab Intern Sam Wagter recounts the group's collective challenges during the COVID pandemic: creating work through the summer at a distance, organizing a public exhibition, and then having that exhibition unexpectedly shutter to the public. Wagter also offers useful strategies for cultivating creativity in our present crisis.

Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti: To Be Me

Experience artist Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti's MFA thesis exhibition in this virtual walkthrough. Dashti’s experience as an Iranian diasporic woman is fragmented along ethnic, religious, social, political, and class lines. These fragments pose challenges to her attempts to bind with others and find solidarity based in multiculturalism and ethnicity. Dashti establishes her body as an integral material in her art practices to make the explanation of her experiences and challenges possible. She seeks to claim her body across multiple media of performance, video, and installation. Dashti focuses on traumas that underscore both personal experience and engagement with larger sociopolitical structures of the phallocentric systems that exist in both her homeland and her host countries. View the exhibition here. 

Everyone Here Has Something in Common

In this project, students from SA 2643: Introduction to Sculpture and Installation explore ideas of "where are you coming from?" with a focus on "your culture." Here, "culture" is interpreted both as culture in everyday life, as well as more specific historical and ethnic cultural backgrounds. Students explore cultural connections, exchanges, and crossings by using readymades and found objects to create collaborative installations. They are directed to incorporate ornaments, as ornate artefacts have circulated amongst various cultures and have been adapted/hybridized within new cultural contexts throughout history. View the exhibition here. 

Course Instructor: Soheila K. Esfahani
Teaching Assistant: Rebecca Sutherland 

Distance makes the heart grow weak

Distance makes the heart grow weak invited faculty, staff and graduate students to speak to how they've been experiencing the last year. It prompts participants to explore and express how isolation has shifted our focus, our research and art practices, as well as our forms of connecting with one another. The exhibition is also an opportunity for participating artists and researchers to show flexibility (and inherently, optimism) despite the high strangeness we’re all currently experiencing. In this time of shared solitude—unable to walk down halls, knock on studio or office doors, and enjoy quick hellos and impromptu conversations—we'll quote Chris Kraus (quoting Søren Kierkegaard): "art involves reaching through some distance."

Organized by Dickson Bou and Ruth Skinner. 

Video walk-through of the exhibition (4:41)

Featurette on digital catalogue, Distance makes the heart go weak, with Shelley Kopp

Featurette on Philip Gurrey's 14.12.20, 2020.

Featurette on Andreas Buchwaldt's Café Baisers, 2021

Feature on "The Coves: Researching Reciprocal Rituals: A collaborative practice by Michelle Wilson, Bridget Koza, Sophie Wu, Azadeh Odlin," 2021.

AJE19: Close for Comfort 

The Annual Juried Exhibition returned for its 19th consecutive year in the midst of the pandemic. One of the most anticipated undergraduate exhibitions in the Visual Arts Department, the AJE supports the production of new work made in a variety of media: painting, sculpture, digital media, photography, installation, sound, and performance.

AJE 19: close for comfort represents a diverse selection of work from all levels of undergraduate study in the Department. Despite our unusual circumstances, we received a significant number of submissions for this year's exhibition. These works speak directly and indirectly to living, thinking, feeling, and working one's way through a thing. With this in mind, the organizers have paired works together, closely, to jump-start some conversations. Gallery Manager Ruth Skinner tours your through the exhibition below.

Practicum Exhibition: No Thanks, Just the Cheque

This year’s Practicum Class exhibition, No Thanks, Just the Cheque, accumulates recent works of 21 artists created during the 2020/2021 term. This exhibition also serves as the cumulation of the work that these artists have put into developing their individual practices over the course of their experiences in the Bachelor of Fine Art’s program. No Thanks, Just the Cheque signifies the end of a journey taken into the BFA program.

View a digital version of the exhibition's complementary catalogue, No Thanks, Just the Cheque.

View a video tour of the exhibition, narrated by Artlab Work Study student Fernanda Recinos.

His House Will Leak

His House Will Leak is created by students in Professor Kirsty Robertson's graduate seminar, "Museum/Decay."

“In my telling, the Cyclops’ story is a revenge story….

While Odysseus is happily restored at home and publicly celebrated, the Cyclops’ story continues. She walks the vastness of his kingdom, slowly becoming a ghost. Her emptied socket becomes a mask. Her revenge feeds her, making her opaque, anti-gravity, a black hole. Odysseus is blind to her, no longer able to see the Cyclops as when he coveted her land and food. She hides in plain sight and crafts her haunting. She will orphan Odysseus as she has been orphaned, but not of family, land or body. She will strand Odysseus in constant unease, bereft of his cherished and clever reason. His house will leak. The walls will sag. He will dream of sheep. He and everyone around him will forget his name; he will become an unremarkable shadow of Nob’dy, the clever alibi and source of his fame.” - Eve Tuck and C. Ree. “A Glossary of Haunting.”

Matt W. Brown, On Ground

Virtual tour of Matt W. Brown's MFA thesis exhibition. Recent MFA graduate Mat W. Brown tours us through his exhibition, On Ground. Hear Matt discuss the deeply personal events and emotions that underlie this body of work. Matt also shares his formal and material considerations of colour as well as our embodied and perceptive experiences of colour.