A Welcome Weight on My Body

by Photo Life

Two exhibitions—Michèle Pearson Clarke’s A Welcome Weight on My Body and Alicia Nauta + Joële Walinga In the same breath—are being presented from September 7 to October 13 at Gallery 44 in Toronto.

Michèle Pearson Clarke, Gloria, July 23, 2018, archival ink jet print, 18 x 18 inches, 2018. Courtesy of the artist

A Welcome Weight on My Body
During her recent yearlong residency at Gallery 44 (2016-17), Michèle Pearson Clarke focused on the relationship between texture and sound and listening and touching and feeling and looking and seeing Blackness that has led to her current preoccupation with analogue photography. Despite photography’s problematic historical relationship with representing Blackness, Clarke has been compelled by her ongoing research on affect and black visuality—as well as her own experiences of looking at Blackness in a photograph—to enrich her practice by learning to produce photographic images using film. Building on her investments in vulnerability, failure and repair, A Welcome Weight on My Body documents this shift from theory to practice, centering the learning process as a site of inquiry and investigation.​

Michèle Pearson Clarke (b. 1973) is a Trinidad-born artist who works in photography, film, video and installation. Her work has been shown across Canada and internationally, including recent exhibitions at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Mercer Union, ltd los angeles, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Ryerson Image Centre. Based in Toronto, she holds an MSW from the University of Toronto, and she received her MFA from Ryerson University in 2015, when she was awarded both the Ryerson University Board of Governors Leadership Award and Medal and the Ryerson Gold Medal for the Faculty of Communication + Design. From 2016-2017, Clarke was artist-in-residence at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and she was the EDA Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough for the Winter term 2018. Clarke’s writing has been published in Canadian Art and Transition Magazine, and she is currently teaching in the Documentary Media Studies program at Ryerson University.

Joële Walinga, Puberty in Florida, Video Still, 2018

Alicia Nauta + Joële Walinga – In the same breath
Presented in the G44 Vitrines, In the same breath investigates the transference of memory from one living thing to another. In the same breath documents Nauta and Walinga speaking their most intimate memories to plants, capturing these interactions in a series of silent videos and cyanotype prints. Exploring the possibility that plants can retain memory and hold emotions, cuttings from these plants are distilled, creating scents to accompany the works and offering intimate possibilities for engaging the natural world.​

Alicia Nauta is an artist based in Toronto. She makes screenprinted posters, prints, wallpaper, books, zines, printed textiles and other multiples. Her focus is on analog ways of making, using xerox material culled from older publications to create collaged compositions. The collages reflect on the dualities and exchanges present in all forms of human and natural life: with light, there is darkness; with progress, there is decline. Environmental degradation, the crumbling of civilization, abstracted and psychedelic reality, and human belonging are key themes that are explored. Her work has been shown at the AGO, Artscape Youngplace, Art Metropole, Burnaby Public Library (BC), Printed Matter (US) and Koganecho Art Centre (JP). She is member of Punchclock, a Toronto print studio, and teaches screenprinting and other DIY workshops at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of the AGO Youth Free After Three program.

Joële Walinga is a Toronto-based visual artist and filmmaker whose work explores subjective experience, outsidership, and the aesthetics of empowerment. Her work has been shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Khyber Centre for the Arts, Narwhal Contemporary, Xpace Cultural Centre, The Roundtable Residency and Wendy’s Subway, and has been featured in Canadian Art, CBC Arts, Art Matters, Daily VICE and POV Magazine among others. Her 2018 feature documentary “God Straightens Legs” had its world premiere at DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver in May, and she is currently in production on a documentary about The Dragon Academy in Toronto.

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