BA (Laval University), BFA (NSCAD), MFA (UBC)
In the pile-up of language and spectacle which constitutes our amnesiac present, one role for art is to create a clearing within our petrified landscape, and, through an attentiveness to the agential potential of matter, through a reordering of all this new and mostly obsolete stuff, through bricolage and play, construct new meanings, new conceptions of reality and becoming, shot through with historical memory and visions of the future.
Cross-disciplinary in scope, my artwork investigates the intersection between materials, history, language, and ideology. It is my hope that the work addresses the need for a post-humanist perspective, counter to the dictates of anthropocentric hubris and its entrapment within binary power dynamics. Art can act as a bridge between culture and nature, ethics and drive, shedding light on a full spectrum of potential states in between – embracing the other. Lately my work has focused on animation as a medium. An interest in how animation relates to animism intersects with what Jane Bennet calls “vibrant matter” – how seemingly inert and inanimate matter has agential power and potential, pointing to a political-ecological viewpoint of which art can be an extension. The foundations of my research are in psychoanalysis, biopolitics, human-animal distinction, feminism, natural history, and linguistics. I am interested in a grotesque art: how human, animal, plant, mineral, and microbial life coalesce into new material formations. I am interested in creating new visual languages (allegorical) from which to think.
In 2001 I published sign after the x (Artspeak/Arsenal Pulp), a book which revolves around the letter X and its multiple meanings in Western culture: it is a familiar graphemic signifier for the Real, the Unknown, the Other, and Sex. I am currently researching and writing a new book about sovereignty, human-animal distinction, biopolitics, nature, and the letter Q, titled Queuejumping.
As for pedagogy: within the context of studio classes, emphasis is placed on students having an intense dialogue with the materials they use, on trying to mine what ideas can emerge from a deep engagement with and understanding of materials, objects, forms, and the space they occupy (including institutions). The material can be anything, from pigment to social networks. This focus on matter/materials of course does not preclude the importance of art’s history and the history of ideas. An informed practice is essential, one based not only on innovation and experimentation but also in historical memory: how and why did artists made work the way they did in the past, how do these works still speak to us today, how do we make work today, and why? I also encourage students to be good writers. Writing can be a significant part of one’s practice as a thinking/feeling artist, and having some control over how one’s work is contextualized and received textually can provide the artist with some added agency.