Brief CV
Education Master of Arts; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, NY, USA (2004) Honors Bachelor of Arts; University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada (2002) Professional Experience Curator, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC, USA (2008 – present) Curator, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, MB, Canada (2005 – 2008) Awards Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award (2010) Publications paperless, Steven Matijcio (ed.), essays by Xu Bing & Douglas Coupland (2012) Interviews in Guide for the 27th Bienal de São Paulo (2006)
Curatorial Statement
The indelible affect of place upon people, history and discourse provides endless fodder for my practice of curating as geopolitics. In every part of the world I have worked thus far, I have mined the respective city as a prismatic archive, interrogating society as a symptom of underlying cultural conditions. Heeding the lessons of Foucault, the “local” becomes a fertile, if admittedly tenuous vehicle for cultural examination within an international forum. In the process, I continue to develop methodologies that translate indigenous idiosyncrasies into a platform for broader socio-political consideration. Fusing states of autism and exile, the platform for my projects traverses the line between intense sociological reflexivity and the ambivalent freedom of an “outsider’s” interpretation. Interrogating place to interrupt its perception, I am driven by the way exhibition organization can de-familiarize the social subconscious. Toronto was an early and ongoing site to measure the potential of art as a revelatory mirror within a colorful, if somewhat contested site of state-mandated multiculturalism. My studies, research and continuing relationship to this amorphous city inform my prevailing interest in the exhibition as a space for hypothesis, exchange and self-examination. My next major stop in Winnipeg was a difficult, yet revealing experience into the pathologies of place. As a timeworn, blue-collar city wrestling with Canada’s largest urban aboriginal population, geographic isolation, ghosts of a socialist past and plague-like climate, Winnipeg cultivated formative explorations into the haunted state of history. This anthropological approach to project organization (exhibitions, writing and performance) has intensified as a result of my move to the “Bible Belt” stretching across the southeastern region of the United States. Intrigued by the stigmatized history of this region, and its “outsider” status relative to the metropolitan dominance of artistic discourse in the U.S., I experience Winston-Salem, North Carolina through a curatorial lens. As this city tries to re-imagine itself in a post-industrial environment (where previous staples of tobacco, textiles and furniture have been displaced), its growing pains yield compelling avenues for curatorial study. The relationship between lives and location continues to inform my research into moves against the grain of globalism – where regionalism manifests itself through sublimated forms of micro-economies, barter, local food movements and xenophobic public policy. This form of study has shown that what seems backward and myopic upon first glance (i.e. regionalism), can instead harbor provocative alternative potential when engaged through exhibition. Translating this redemptive approach across broader thematic terrain, I actively seek out discredited genres, ideas and structures to open new dimensions of cultural study and political application. As a case in point, a recent exhibition addressed the ubiquity of artifice in every facet of our contemporary life by reexamining the disparaged trompe l’oeil tradition. In a place where artifice is the norm, “reality” is anomalous, and the question is not whether something has been manipulated, but to what degree, the reclamation of a fallen genre yielded surprising insight. As I continue to walk the periphery between the approval of the art world and political correctness, everything from woodworking, paper-cutting and psychedelics to religion and corporate structures serves as fertile grist for curatorial inquiry. As Dubuffet, Bataille and Genet “warned” us, pariahs can animate perspectives upon that which otherwise seems perpetually mundane. Such a pan-historical play feeds my interest in a centuries-old art historical context. The aesthetic and anthropological dimensions of my curatorial practice are consistently enriched with reference to work from the ancient to the modern. When wrestling with issues that are often as mercurial as they are motley, the potential for productive results is proportional to the number of voices included in the conversation. From chronology to geography, I find immeasurable agency in collaborating with artists from around the world – where exhibition-making expands the depth and possibility of diaspora. In the process, I have organized projects to provide voice for Icelandic communities in Winnipeg and a growing, yet largely invisible Hispanic population in North Carolina. Every additional project is an opportunity – regardless of duration or scope – to convene people and place into the consideration of context.
Projects realized (Selection)
• Look Again SECCA, 2010 In a time when hybrid spaces, constructed experiences and political machinations have fused our physical environment with inhabitable artifice, the notion of illusion has colonized every facet of our being. Beyond tricks exclusive to the eye, artists in this exhibition have deconstructed the trompe l’oeil tradition as a vehicle for inquiry and disclosure. Participating artists included: Christian Andersson, Daniel Arsham, Tara Donovan, Tim Hawkinson, Houston, Jamie Isenstein, Jorge Macchi, Adam Putnam, Frances Trombly and others. • Inside/Out: Artists in the Community II SECCA, 2010 A year-long public art program that sought to expand notions of public art, activate diverse communities, and employ the city as platform, collaborator and subject. The series commissioned a variety artists from around the world, including: Lee Walton, Kianga Ford, Roadsworth and Michel de Broin. • Psychedelic SECCA, 2008-09 Looking to revisit the visionary etymology of the psychedelic experience, this exhibition explored contemporary translations of a model dismissed as a relic of the 60s. Using saturated aesthetics as a point of both reference and departure, the works in Psychedelic employed fluid imagery and hypnotic color to consider familiar objects, truisms and images in an unfamiliar way. Participating artists included: Carlos Amorales, Jeremy Blake, Louis Cameron and Shahzia Sikander. • Scratching the Surface: The Post-Prairie Landscape Plug In ICA, 2007 A multidisciplinary project that explored the relationship between urban sprawl, nostalgic naturalism and representations of place. This project highlighted the meeting of two interests (re)shaping the artistic landscape of Winnipeg: an obsession with mark-making and a return to the landscape – abstracting the long, cumbersome history of this genre to engage contemporary issues. • Anna von Gwinner: Downpour Plug In ICA, 2007 Probing the relationship between place and perception, von Gwinner used video projection to reconsider the architectural anatomy of a city. In Downpour she filled a series of street level windows with the silhouetted deluge of falling water, ultimately submerging the bottom story of a building over the course of six days. • Unlearn Plug In ICA, 2006 An exhibition which looked at the legacy of pop art and examined if/how didactic codes embedded in media culture could be detoured through intervention, reorganization and misinterpretation. Participating artists included: Marina Abramovic, Marc Bijl, Louis Cameron, Minerva Cuevas, Ken Lum, Johannes Wohnseifer and others. • as yet unnamable Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, 2004 M.A. Thesis exhibition which featured works by Catherine Richards, David Rokeby, Marek Walczak & Martin Wattenberg. It explored the ambivalent manifestations of interactive media through studies of language, subjectivity, community, and post-industrial society. • Robert Mapplethorpe: Momentum Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, 2004 An online exhibition commissioned to highlight important, but lesser-known works by Mapplethorpe. Momentum mined the artist’s negotiation of movement within the context of his classical aesthetic. • Museum of Obsessions Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto, 2002 Jointly curated exhibition inspired by Harald Szeeman’s writings on obsessions. Matijcio’s installation investigated the ambiguity between faith, fundamentalism and fanaticism.