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Sediment: the archive as a fragmentary base
Louis Henderson
Filipa César, Spell Reel, 2017. Documentary, 96 min, colour. Courtesy of the artist and Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, www.vdb.org
Pamila Matharu, INDEX (SOME OF ALL PARTS), 2022. Digital video, 10 min. 58 sec. Courtesy of the artist
Krista Belle Stewart, Seraphine, Seraphine, 2014. Video, B&W and colour, sound, 38 min. 57 sec. Edition 1/5. Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University Purchase, 2017 (017.08)
Sandra Brewster, Token (Medicinal Herbs), from the series Token, 2019. Archival pigment prints. Courtesy of the artist and Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto
Open

February 4th – April 1st, 2023

Sediment: The Archive as a Fragmentary Base

Sandra Brewster, Filipa César, Justine A. Chambers, Louis Henderson, Pamila Matharu, Krista Belle Stewart.

Curator : Denise Ryner

Opening: Saturday February 4th, 3 – 5 PM

Tour by Denise Ryner, Saturday February 4th, 2 PM – 3 PM, in English

Justine A. Chambers will perform Heirloom on Saturday March 11th at 3 PM. In the Gallery’s large front window in the atrium

Where were you in ’92?, a project by Pamila Matharu, is featured at Optica until April 1st. Matharu is also participating in the exhibition Desire Lines. Displaced Narratives of Place at Artexte until March 25th.

Sedimentation is a geological process of settlement and solidification. Free-floating fragments come to rest at the bottom of a body of water where over time they lose their liquid content. Then gravitational pressure transforms these fragments into solid rock beds that not only become a firm base, but each layer serves as records of human and natural activity.

In order to re-imagine archives as material fragments that narrate presences, proximities and solidarities that persist as fissures in colonial ordering, this exhibition gathers the work of artists that represent movements against empire or movements along routes established in the wake of empire in terms of their text and image archives, and how such archives are configured into sedimentary bases upon which new identities, nations or diasporas may build and image themselves. Featuring film, video, photo and performance-based works by Sandra Brewster, Filipa César, Justine A. Chambers, Louis Henderson, Pamila Matharu, Krista Belle Stewart.

Events
Press release
Ways of thinking

BIOGRAPHY

Denise Ryner is an independent curator and writer who has worked in Berlin and Vancouver. From 2017 through May 2022 she was Director/Curator of Or Gallery, Vancouver where she developed and presented a robust programming cycle of exhibitions, symposia and publications including the discursive project, Unmoored, Adrift, Ashore in collaboration with Anselm Franke, Jamie Hilder and Jordan Wilson, featured on in the series “Classroom” on the international platform Art&Education. Her current curatorial, research and writing interests include place-as-agent and transnational proximities and counterflows as a context for cultural production. Recent projects include: Sensing of the Wound: Whess Harman and Pamila Matharu (Or Gallery, Vancouver) and Ceremony: Burial of An Undead World (HKW, Berlin) co-curated with Anselm Franke, Elisa Giuliano, Claire Tancons and Zairong Xiang.

Sedimentation is a geological process of settlement and solidification. Free-floating fragments come to rest at the bottom of a body of water where over time they lose their liquid content. Then gravitational pressure transforms these fragments into solid rock beds that not only become a firm base, but each layer serves as records of human and natural activity.

In order to re-imagine archives as material fragments that narrate presences, proximities and solidarities that persist as fissures in colonial ordering, this exhibition gathers the work of artists that represent movements against empire or movements along routes established in the wake of empire in terms of their text and image archives, and how such archives are configured into sedimentary bases upon which new identities, nations or diasporas may build and image themselves. Featuring film, video, photo and performance-based works by Sandra Brewster, Filipa César, Justine A. Chambers, Louis Henderson, Pamila Matharu, Krista Belle Stewart.

THE GOLDEN SQUARE MILE
"William Notman Builder's Photograph of CPR Steam Locomotive No 401, 1826-1891", photography courtesy of Deanna Bowen
Open

The exhibition is postponed.

THE GOLDEN SQUARE MILE

A project by Deanna Bowen

This project was realized with support from The Leonard & Bina Ellen Program in Support of Artistic Production

Deanna Bowen’s projects are ontologically connected, site-specific and dependent on the regional histories of their host gallery. Developed specifically for the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, The Golden Square Mile follows the socio-economic connections within the Anglo-Montrealer community further revealed in The Black Canadians (after Cooke), her upcoming project at the National Gallery of Canada (spring 2023). This community reaped the benefits of Queen Victoria’s annexation and industrialization of Canada. They were bank board members, railway builders, politicians, scholars, and other wealthy citizens who circulated in a social network that defined and built the propogandist cultural narrative of Empire by creating the Royal Canadian Academy, the Royal Society of Canada, the National Gallery, the Art Association of Montreal, and the Redpath and McCord Museums, among others. Montreal’s Golden Square Mile was home to many of these wealthy, influential people and their legacy has left many traces.

Bowen proposes groups of photo constellations as well as videos that address the embedded history of slavery and minstrelsy, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, of Black railway porters, of the introduction of jazz, and of the architecture and familial histories of the Golden Square Mile. Together they tell a bigger story about the genocidal impacts of Anglophone White supremacy, colonial extraction, the railway, slavery, servitude, ridicule, and wealth.

The Golden Square Mile is an extension into a narrative specific to Montreal’s history of Bowen’s upcoming project at the National Gallery of Canada, The Black Canadians (after Cooke) is a series of photo collages that distills the conceptual, historical and cultural findings from three interlinked exhibitions: Black Drones in the Hive (2020), The God of Gods: Berlin, Berlin (2020) and The God of Gods: A Canadian Play (2019). As with all her work, these projects have a multi-lineage chronological framework that conforms to the genealogy of her maternal great-great grandmother Aurelia (Gregory) Mitchell (b. abt. 1840 – d.1924), her great grandmother Eugenia (Gregory) Bowen (b.1872 – d.1932, her grandmother Jean (Bowen) Risby (b.1919 – d.1993) and her mother Leora (Risby) Smalley (b. 1943 –). Beyond her family, this chronology also maps the over-culture/colonial legacy of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland’s abolition of slavery in 1833 through the Dominion of Canada’s evolution, capping in 1943, the year of her mother’s birth.

Biography

Deanna Bowen was born in 1969, in Oakland, California and is a descendant of two Alabama and Kentucky born Black Prairie pioneer families from Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta. Bowen’s family history has been the central pivot of her auto-ethnographic interdisciplinary works since the early 1990s. She makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures in order to define the Black body and trace its presence and movement in place and time. She is a recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Scotiabank Photography Award (2021), the Governor’s General Award (2020), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2016,) and the William H. Johnson Prize (2014). Her writing, interviews and art works have been published in Canadian Art, The Capilano Review, The Black Prairie Archives, and Transition Magazine. Bowen is editor of the publication Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada (2019). Deanna lives and works in Montreal, where she is an Assistant Professor of Intersectional Feminist and Decolonial 2D-4D Image Making and Co-Director of the Post Image Cluster at Concordia University.

Deanna Bowen’s projects are ontologically connected, site-specific and dependent on the regional histories of their host gallery. Developed specifically for the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, The Golden Square Mile follows the socio-economic connections within the Anglo-Montrealer community further revealed in The Black Canadians (after Cooke), her upcoming project at the National Gallery of Canada (spring 2023). This community reaped the benefits of Queen Victoria’s annexation and industrialization of Canada. They were bank board members, railway builders, politicians, scholars, and other wealthy citizens who circulated in a social network that defined and built the propogandist cultural narrative of Empire by creating the Royal Canadian Academy, the Royal Society of Canada, the National Gallery, the Art Association of Montreal, and the Redpath and McCord Museums, among others. Montreal’s Golden Square Mile was home to many of these wealthy, influential people and their legacy has left many traces.

Bowen proposes groups of photo constellations as well as videos that address the embedded history of slavery and minstrelsy, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, of Black railway porters, of the introduction of jazz, and of the architecture and familial histories of the Golden Square Mile. Together they tell a bigger story about the genocidal impacts of Anglophone White supremacy, colonial extraction, the railway, slavery, servitude, ridicule, and wealth.

The Golden Square Mile is an extension into a narrative specific to Montreal’s history of Bowen’s upcoming project at the National Gallery of Canada, The Black Canadians (after Cooke) is a series of photo collages that distills the conceptual, historical and cultural findings from three interlinked exhibitions: Black Drones in the Hive (2020), The God of Gods: Berlin, Berlin (2020) and The God of Gods: A Canadian Play (2019). As with all her work, these projects have a multi-lineage chronological framework that conforms to the genealogy of her maternal great-great grandmother Aurelia (Gregory) Mitchell (b. abt. 1840 – d.1924), her great grandmother Eugenia (Gregory) Bowen (b.1872 – d.1932, her grandmother Jean (Bowen) Risby (b.1919 – d.1993) and her mother Leora (Risby) Smalley (b. 1943 –). Beyond her family, this chronology also maps the over-culture/colonial legacy of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland’s abolition of slavery in 1833 through the Dominion of Canada’s evolution, capping in 1943, the year of her mother’s birth.