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Signal Fire Artists

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Still from 'Passage', 2017

Alex Mcleod

@alex_mcleod_ Alex McLeod is a visual artist who creates work about interconnection, life's cycles, and empathy through the computer as a medium. Prints, animations, and sculptures function as gateways into alternative dimensions, oscillating between the real and the imagined. Over the last 13 years, he has exhibited internationally from Tokyo to Montpellier. ARTIST STATEMENT: These simulations of other worlds and parameters are rooted equally in virtual world-building experiences and an interest in the transition of matter.

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Modern Stage, 2021

Ned Pratt

Ned Pratt was born in Salmonier (NL), and currently lives in Newfoundland and Labrador. He holds a BFA in photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a BA in art history from Acadia University. His photography has been exhibited at the former Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, PREFIX Photo, the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival (2012) and in Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North America at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (touring from 2012–16). He holds the 2017 Large Year Award from Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador for Excellence in the Visual Arts. His work has been written about in various publications, including Canadian Art, CBC Arts, Momus, and Mason Journal. Pratt’s photographs are held in major public and corporate collections across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. ARTIST STATEMENT: In my new work I have been simplifying my approach and in doing so I am expanding it. My intent has been to pay attention to three basic principles, light, colour and composition. That seems very basic and it is. My images are flat and rarely have a vanishing point in the composition. It’s intentional. In a flat world, colour becomes a mass in itself and highlights become a hole in that mass, both are layers in the flat composition. Recently I am finding new observations in the way I work and need to work. My current approach to simplify has opened up everything and I am actually finding more images. I have noticed that I am not shying away from bolder colours or harsh light. I understand the flatness can be achieved without flat light and now that I am thinking more about the lack of a vanishing point it makes me observe differently. I take multiple images and sometimes I go back a few times to look again. Often the final image decision is obvious, the light that day, the elements of composition and even the mood I was in. By the time I get back to the studio the image exists on its own.

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Blue Rinse, from the Sketchbook series, 2022

Shelley Adler

@shelleyadler_studio Shelley Adler is a figurative painter based in Toronto. With a focus on female portraiture, her work resists the historical objectification of women by male painters through the presence of trust and empathy between herself and her subjects. Driven by a sustained interest in capturing each person’s unique sense of autonomy, Adler approaches each portrait with curiosity and respect. Her style is characterized by a range of gestural brush strokes, graphic tonal contrasts, and bold use of colour. A sense of immediacy permeates her work. Furthering a pushback against conventional portraiture, Adler tends to paint her subjects with a fixed gaze, in a manner that is confronting, but never confrontational. This approach, particularly to the female gaze, effectively reframes and reclaims some of portraiture’s most classic questions: Who is the subject? What is she thinking? What is her relationship to the painter? The empowered nature of Adler’s subjects is further emphasized through her somewhat unconventional use of perspective and framing. At times distorting, or even completely concealing, their faces, Adler allows each personality to rest inside what is left of their bodies. Her approach to their clothing, posture and mise-en-scène become central to our perception of their personalities. In more recent work, Adler has become interested in how portraits can read less as literal depictions of an individual, and more formally and physically as paintings. By embracing an aesthetics of abstraction, she is endowing her portraits with the energy of chance, allowing colour, form, surface and volume to take center stage.

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For You To Feel, 2016

Kym Greeley

@kymgreeley Kym Greeley is a visual artist living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. With process a priority in her work, Greeley uses the landscape, architecture and culture of her province to create paintings. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1997, and studied at the Cooper Union School for the Advancement of Art and Science in New York in 1996. Greeley’s work has been exhibited in publicly-funded, artist-run and commercial galleries. Collections featuring her work include the Canada Council Art Bank, Global Affairs Canada, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Newfoundland Provincial Art Bank Collection. Publications such as The Painting Project, Folklore and Other Panics, Canadian Art Magazine, Visual arts News have featured her critical art practice. Within the Canadian arts community, She has served on many juries, awarding grants, residencies and awards. Greeley has been a board member and volunteer for local artist-run galleries. Her paintings have been shown in Germany, Canada and the United States. Artist Statement: The Trans-Canada Highway and its spawn of roadways is possibly the icon of contemporary post-Confederation Newfoundland; the sign of our move away from coastal economies based in bays and boats. Modernized travelers view our landscapes from cars; ribbons of highway mediate people’s experience of this province’s natural world. This infrastructure is a heavily valued necessity, even as the industrial and human impact is severe. Exposure to the natural landscape and the connection to culture rooted in place becomes lost or erased. I use the windshield as a compositional frame and echo the flat, fixed perspective of video games. They are based on urban and rural Newfoundland roads and depict scenes and objects from roadway construction—brightly colored objects that steer us from danger and guide us— typically only glimpsed as we pass on our way from point A to point B. I explore a terrain that is familiar but overlooked, terrain that doesn't fit with romantic ideals of landscape painting. When traveling, I fill idle moments documenting my journey with a camera; simultaneously killing time and capturing fleeting moments. Using my photographs as source material, I pare the information down to the necessary, creating a minimal, elemental image. I am less concerned with literal representation; I reference abstraction and focus on honing the formal elements. I also reference Pop Art with its coalescing of subjects drawn from the everyday but I eliminate lush colors, choosing instead a reductive, cool pallet. I use screen print techniques inserted back into the painting, playing with industrialization and natural process in art making, further reducing sentimentality by lessening the emotive hand.

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Still from Apaja’lujik, (We are Bringing Them Back), 2019

@jerryevansart Jerry Evans is Mi’kmaq and settler ancestry born in central Newfoundland. In 1986 he graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Art. He completed an Education Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and has been a practicing Visual Artist for over thirty years. Primarily a painter and printmaker, Jerry is also a multi-media artist who has worked in film, has qualified and reclaimed traditional hand poke tattoo as a means of expression and gift exchange, and has created regalia for his own pow wow dancing for more than a decade. Jerry coordinated and was principal researcher for the 1996 exhibition FIRST: Aboriginal Artists of Newfoundland and Labrador, which presented works by aboriginal artists in Newfoundland and Labrador to provincial audiences, and for many years worked as shop technician and master printer at St. Michael’s Printshop in St. John’s where he has helped artists like Anne Meredith Barry, Michael Robinson and Joseph Norman render their work as lithographs. His own visual artwork has been exhibited across Canada, and internationally and is included in private and public collections across the country. He has been an Artist-in-Residence in Canada and Ireland, has received grants from the Canada Council and the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and is working to develop and deepen his collaborative creative practice and work with communities. ARTIST STATEMENT: I am visual artist who has been exploring and visualizing my Mi’kmaw heritage and my own familial links to Ktaqmkuk for many years. I have used images, symbols, maps and narratives as a painter, printmaker and filmmaker as ways to explore my Mi’kmaq heritage and share it in my work. My personal history is a part of the fabric of the history of Newfoundland that includes in its annals the first point of contact, the extinction of a distinct culture that of the Petaq’uwa - Beothuk, colonization, assimilation, and recent degree of recognition of the Indigenous peoples in the region. I believe that artists to a degree create images that deal with their identity and my own work reflects an understanding of who I am. I feel compelled not only to celebrate but also to dissect and explore my Mi’kmaq heritage, how it relates to the settler culture and how the two cultures, of which I am apart, interact and affect each other. My aim will remain to nurture a better understanding of the place I come from and belong, its history and the cultures of which I am apart not just for myself but also for those experiencing my work.

Jerry Evans

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Provision Drop 2, 2021

Will Gill

@willgillstudio (Christopher) William Gill was born in Ottawa, Ontario on July 5, 1968. He moved to Sackville, New Brunswick in 1987 to begin his formal training in art through a BFA at Mount Allison University, with a main focus on sculpture. After graduating from Mt. A, Halifax was home for several years. An opportunity presented itself in 1997 to move to St. John’s, Newfoundland, to work as an apprentice at a bronze-casting foundry for sculpture. He has been in St. John’s ever since. Gill has maintained a studio practice, since graduation, that has evolved from solely sculptural exploration, to one that encompasses sculpture, painting, photography and video work. He has a wide-ranging exhibition history that includes shows in artist-run centres, commercial galleries, and public galleries/museums at home and abroad. Considerable attention has been paid to his work in the form of critical writing in magazines, newspaper articles and radio and tv spots. Peer juries have consistently recognized and supported his work through grants from both the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Gill was selected to the national longlist in the 2004 and 2006 “Sobey Art Award” competitions. The “Sobey Art Award” is Canada’s premiere award for acknowledging contemporary artists under 40 years of age. His work is in many private and public collections and is handled exclusively through Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland. ARTIST STATEMENT: The Green Chair (2017) The idea of placing a chair in the face of wind and waves from the north Atlantic was meant as a way to express the notion of fortitude against unrelenting forces. During the 2017 Bonavista Biennale in Newfoundland, visitors to Maberly saw the chair when the waves were wild and angry, when conditions were calm and when the light was dramatic. Every day was different. During its 7 month existence, its meaning seemed to be ever-changing. On March 1st, 2018, The Green Chair was damaged beyond repair by pack ice blown onshore. Many thanks to The Bonavista Biennale for commissioning this work and to the many people who went to visit it. From the Lion's Den (2017-2018) This body of work was created during a month long residency at Fogo Island Arts, on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, in 2017. The photographic series follows an unidentified trio in their journey to start over. The images were shot on the open ocean as well as in and around a cove called Lion’s Den on Fogo Island, in a punt handmade by Barr’d Islands boatbuilder Frank Combden. Lion’s Den is a sheltered cove which was once home to a community of 50 or so people and was resettled elsewhere in the 1950s. The series is a vignette about migration, the unknown and the search for home. The sculptures and tarps explore varied themes and are responses to the dynamics of change in remote communities and the vibrant character of place and its people. Pandemic Series (2021) Uncertainty and anxiety have been prevalent in people's lives for close to two years now. As the fourth (and hopefully final) wave of Covid infections batters society, the end finally feels like it is within reach. This is a great relief. Thinking back on the last two years however, one of the things that strikes me as central to the experience was the sense of isolation and alienation that enveloped people’s lives. All but essential travel dried up, people were confined to their homes to work, learn, and simply exist day-to-day in a kind of in-between place where time became muddled. We were away from friends, family and coworkers for months on end. This body of work was developed during the latter portion of the global Covid Pandemic. It reflects, in visual terms, imagined scenes from unsettled times. A solitary cabin, a vacant camper, a construction and a provision drop. These are the first four works in what I hope to be an ongoing series that aims to digest this unique period through staged photography in the Newfoundland landscape. My approach to tackling existential questions has been to meet wonder with wonder. Unusual colour palettes and surreal scenes devoid of figures set the stage to consider absence, aid and imagined rebuilds. This new work extends previous interests in the degree to which we need one another and the importance of greater genuine (less superficial) connections in our lives.

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Augmented Archive 021, 2021

Rodell Warner

@rodellwarner Rodell Warner is a Trinidadian artist working primarily in new media and photography. Most recently his works have been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the 2021 exhibition Fragments of Epic Memory, and at TERN Gallery in Nassau, the Bahamas, in the 2021 solo exhibition Augmented Archives. Rodell lives and works between Port of Spain in Trinidad, Kingston in Jamaica, and Austin, Texas, in the US. ABOUT AUGMENTED ARCHIVE Augment: verb - make (something) greater by adding to it; increase. Archive: noun - a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. This project is a mash-up of digital animation, sound, and found photos. It allows me to play with the apparent narratives presented in the photos, and to engage in, and invite, contemplation of the lives and histories of the people and places in the photos. I consider doing this work an intervention in the representation of these people and places, one that makes imaginative, alternative evaluations more possible. It is also a technological intervention. I’m interested in the ways in which available and emergent technologies shape the creation and existences, proliferation, and propagation of these images, both in their original forms and when sampled or edited or remixed, and how those technologies leave their marks on the images.

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