Current Student Research

Mohammad Hossein Abbasi 

Painting
mhabbas1@ualberta.ca

I am influenced by memories from my homeland and having gone through the process of migration. My paintings examine the structure of the home, working with different arches that are related to the architecture of both where I have come from and where I am currently living. Using these arches as a form rather than symbols, I create three-dimensional spaces that move between Renaissance and Oriental perspectives. In my mind, painting is very similar to poetry. I use visual expressions such as bird and flight, boat, waterfall, fountain, sea waves, candle and flame, flower, to create a dream that is a picture of an ideal home. This fantasy that has references to my childhood memories of the village my mother comes from, and its mountainous geography, and its sacred resources. Facing these images that I am creating is helping me rediscover and retrieve my identity.


Lindsey Bond

Intermedia
lbond@ualberta.ca 

Locating ourselves is a remembering process…Location establishes connection through memory. When we locate, we search through our memory banks and retrieve information about who we are, where we come from and our roots. (Absolon & Willett, "Putting Ourselves Forward" 115)". On a visit to my Auntie Betty's home, she gave me a red rose tea tin with the family negatives. The act of re-looking at family photographs begins my work of decolonizing narratives about home. Re-membering, as Absolon and Willet describe, encourages me to think about the capacity of how photographs and stories can point towards non-Indigenous responsibility, locating ourselves in relationship to Indigenous narratives, and creating anticolonial alternatives as we navigate shared pathways.I am an outsider, a settler media-artist and mother from amiskwacîwâskahikan. I make meaning through collaboration and create photographic and video installations, books and postcards that speak to identity, home and the memory-site. I am of Scottish and English descent and the last four generations of my family lived in Lone Rock/Lloydminster, SK, an unfamiliar place to me. Visiting and listening to my Auntie's stories of these photographs begins to establish relationships between the matrilineal line (Reynolds) of my family and Lone Rock, SK, during 1881-1962. For my MFA thesis, I am creating a photo-media installation that locates my relationship to family stories, unsettles local (settler) images and archives from the Lloydminster / Nunebor district, and re-frames "pioneering" narratives with Other-wise narratives in Treaty 6 Territory.


Chelsey Campbell

Printmaking
chelseyc@ualberta.ca 

The crack of the back, the weary sigh of tired limbs as they shift and grind into position, the sinewy snap of muscle stricken between malformed bone and flesh. Disability and chronic pain are a daily intervention, a constant renegotiation of an imperfect body's shifting terms and capacities. My research examines my body as both a medical object and a social construct; exploring the liminal space between patient and person, body and self. Drawing from my intimate history with chronic pain and disability, I am interested in the tenuous nature of the disabled body within social and medical frameworks fixated on diagnosis and cure. Utilizing medical documentation, data, and personal journals from a recent recovery period, I intend to recontextualize these illness experiences through printmaking, performance, and photography. Through these explorations my work seeks to create space for the body in pain, lend agency and voice to imperfect form, and reclaim the medicalized body as a reflection of self.


Yong Fei Guan

Intermedia
yongfei1@ualberta.ca

Our natural world is out of balance: humanity staggers at the edge of epidemics and climate catastrophe. The idea of “progress” is not in harmony with the planet. I strive to find solutions through an interdisciplinary approach combining arts, science, philosophy, and cultural heritage with multispecies collaboration. Daoist philosophy describes the flow of nature and reminds us that we are inextricably linked to the earth. The fundamental principle of Daoism is balance: push-pull; give-take; destruction-restoration. I am inspired by these concepts and view public art as an accessible space to provoke dialogue about environmental destruction and restoration in our contemporary society. I attempt to reinvent the public art experience by demonstrating that humans and their urban spaces are one ecosystem. Currently, I am investigating my everyday consumption and trying to transform my waste into new materials/energy through collaborating with earthworms who are active waste-to-energy-producersThese incomparable builders constantly turn and aerate the soil and produce rich compost (new soil). Will they restore some of the toxic soil polluted by chemicals and urbanization within our community? I see making soil with the humble worms as a form of activism to restore biodiversity. I am also researching whether goji, a Chinese heritage plant can co-exist non-invasively with the local ecology. Goji berry trees are not native to this land, but they have been living side by side with Indigenous species in the Edmonton River valley since the nineteenth century. Many people think that the Edmonton river valley should only be filled with native plants. The goji, however, has found a home here too. Does it not belong? How long does it need to be here to be considered part of the local community? Through a series of public art installations that examine the history of goji berries in Edmonton, I hope to open a dialogue regarding issues around migration, immigration, and settler-colonialism.


Alissa Hamilton

Printmaking
ahamilt1@ualberta.ca


Emily Hayes

Printmaking
ehayes1@ualberta.ca 

Where does our cultural understanding of a normal family dynamic and home life come from? In my current research I look at the clichéd ideas that form our concepts of normalcy and try to identify and in turn produce imagery that lends itself to those commonalities while focusing on ideas of estrangement, loneliness, and identity within domestic space. Both visually and conceptually, my art practice is informed by the work of Sally Mann, Rachel Whiteread, and Mary Pratt. While I am largely focused in photo-based printmaking processes, my practice can also be quite interdisciplinary as I look at the multiple through a more contemporary perspective that encompasses projection, textiles, and sculpture. Through my art practice and research, I'm interested in using images that exist within a liminal environment somewhere between nostalgia, and more dark and ambiguous emotions in order to draw on what is common within familial spaces and domestic environments. In doing so, I expand upon the feelings of opposition I have towards domestic space, and my personal history, as to foster more well-rounded narratives surrounding home.


Tanya Klimp

Painting
tklimp@ualberta.ca


Matthew Lapierre

Painting
mlapierr@ualberta.ca 

My painting explores the environments at the outer edges of the urban landscape. It's a continually shifting space where the development of human construction begins invading the wilderness. Concrete pathways are trailing off into overgrown fields and heaps of scrap-wood are piled next to dead thickets. At the same time, the wilderness can't be held back. It makes a place for itself among the violence and upheaval. Rabbits graze in the vacant lots that have yet to be developed. Coyotes lurk at the edges of yards. There is a pervasive sense of violence and tension as the natural and unnatural spaces intermingle and shift. I focus on this subject matter as it highlights my concerns about urban expansion invading and overtaking wilderness environments. My paintings are influenced by nighttime photography, using the in-camera flash to illuminate the immediate surroundings, while letting objects in the periphery of the scene fade into darkness. There's a sense of anxiety that develops as you see common objects obscured by darkness. Everyday objects become uncanny, and appear as looming threats when they linger at the edge of the light.


Emily Leglietner

Printmaking
legleitn@ualberta.ca


Lisa Mayes

Intermedia
lamayes@ualberta.ca

My research focuses on the bricolage of colonial and postcolonial diasporic displacement within the histories of the indentured, transatlantic slavery, highland clearances, and chosen migrations. As a person of African American, Muskogee Creek, Acadian, Irish, and Scottish ancestry, I excavate personal archives, in search of missing voices, inherited voids, apparitions of ancestral landscapes, and family portraits. I then work with this archival material, through print, painting, and digital media. Portraits of ancestors wearing historic costumes are etched onto multicoloured fashion plates; images of homelands, far-flung and local, are painted onto packing materials.  Through these gestures, I explore the complexity of negotiating bicultural and multicultural identities on these lands and at this historical moment. I strive to counterbalance the impact of the dominant colonial cultures on the lived realities of those who embody intersectionality.


Riddhiben Patel

Painting
riddhibe@ualberta.ca

Artist and psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger writes: “art is an expression of human relation to human psyche and to the cosmos. Abstraction has been widely conceived of as non-dependency on nature and connection to the void as well as discovery of invisible spiritual patterns.” My work draws connections between the self and the psyche through the repetition of marks. There is a certain meditative energy involved in the process of mark-making. I find the repetition of lines, continuous involvement, thin brushstrokes, and subtle colours are therapeutic and healing. Through meditative abstract and patterned drawings that create an atmosphere of quietness, stillness, and transience, I explore concepts such as endlessness, infinity, ephemerality, and abstraction, and invite viewers to give themselves over to subtle and poetic optical sensation.

 

Eszter Rosta

Intermedia
rosta@ualberta.ca 

My practice asserts relationships between bodily engagements, process-based studio investigations, and performative acts of making. My methods inherently necessitate the powerful gestures of repetitive bodily motions and the manipulation and transformation of materials. Lacanian, Foucauldian, and Freudian theories of object, "the real", compulsion/ repetition, and discipline/ power resonate with my interests to implicate my body in the collective production of meaning, using objects, materials, space, and form as sites of experimentation. I re-imagine the body's public dimension as object and temperament as always relational, creating sensory immediacies and subjectifications of spatial extension. The site of bodies as object and space transgress the literal spatial realities of art, and inherently reconfigure the somatic limits and aesthetic parameters of said spatial realities. Investigating the embodiment of spatial relations underscore the temperament of bodies, space, and form that I elicit; space is not literal, but discursive. As Richard Serra states, "the significance of work is in its efforts, not in its intentions; that effort is a state of mind, an activity; an interaction with the world" (Richard Serra, Writings and Interviews, 15).


Heather Savard

Intermedia
hsavard@ualberta.ca


Alex R.M. Thompson

Printmaking
at7@ualberta.ca 

My body of print- and installation-based work interrogates the structures of power and processes of land use that shape the contemporary world we occupy. My prints are monochromatic fabrications, using monumental, institutional, and infrastructural architecture to create hypothetical cityscapes from existing buildings. Through the process of combining disparate places, I illustrate spaces that are simultaneously plausible, familiar, and forlorn. Recognizable structures emerge outside of their contexts, looming above empty streets that do not exist. My research at the U of A focuses on the methods, costs, and repercussions of resource extraction and residential development, questioning how we account for responsible stewardship in the systems that we function within. The inter-reliant nature of urban areas and the compression of distance as technology connects cities underpin my methods of creative generation, leading to reflections on architecture that embrace its timeliness/timelessness.


Yi Lu Xing

Printmaking
yilu3@ualberta.ca