12 Water Street South, Cambridge, ON
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On new beginnings: a reflection after fires and containers with Don Russell and Lisa Hirmer
A number of ambitious works have occurred in this region over the summer months. Not by any advanced planning, but rather by spirit of curiosity and hunger for meaning. Two sympathetic projects instigated gatherings, activations, teachings, walks--events centered on bringing ideas, bodies and spirits together. Conversations, materials and participants have crossed between these projects blurring the boundaries that traditionally define the limits of an artist's work, instead creating a sense of continuity between them. Though speaking from very different places, these two regional artists provided a rich and important space for working together towards a better understanding of the conditions we are living in.
This series of talks will link the projects together, exposing moments of shared thinking and synchronicity that were integral to the shaping of ideas presented in the works. Expanding on alternative models for exhibition making and artist’s role in society at this critical time, we will discuss how honest gatherings have led us to new beginnings, and possibilities for what happens next.
Don Russell grew up in the bayside community of Stephenville, Newfoundland, he identifies as Mi’kmaq (Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Newfoundland) and Acadian French. Russell has practiced painting and sculpture for over twenty years. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art (1995) and of the Dundas Valley School of Art’s postgraduate program (2002). Russell lives and works in Cambridge, Ontario and maintains a studio in downtown Guelph.
Lisa Hirmer is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans visual media, social practice, performance, community collaboration and experimental forms of research. She is primarily concerned with collective relationships, in communities and public spaces as well as within more-than-human ecologies. In her public practice, she explores the complicated nature of public opinion and the public life of ideas, working with performative forms of research to explore collectively-held beliefs while also disrupt their seeming fixedness. In her photo- and text-based work, Hirmer studies the forces that shape and transform human relationships with surrounding ecologies. She has shown her work across Canada and internationally including at Third Space (Saint John), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto), Peninsula Arts (U.K.), Nuit Blanche (Toronto), CAFKA (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Flux Factory (USA). In 2017 she was commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario to create a new work as part of Every.Now.Then. She recently completed a series of international residencies including the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Camargo Foundation and BigCi. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and is currently based in Guelph, Canada.
Image credit: Don Russell, Preparing the Stones for Drawn by Fire, 2018. Photo Lisa Hirmer.