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Heather Frise
Artist

Toronto
April 18, 2018

Heather Frise started out as filmmaker and has since extended her practice to include drawing and animation. Her visual art has been exhibited in Canada and featured in numerous publications. Most recently, a collection of her drawings appeared in David Lazar's book I’ll Be Your Mirror. Her experimental short and feature documentaries have screened internationally, winning numerous awards including the Genie Award for Best Feature Documentary, the Jury Prize at the New York Short Film Festival, and Best Cinematography at Moving Images. For the last five years, she has taught in the Drawing and Painting, and Integrated Media departments at OCADU. She is finishing her MFA in Visual Arts at York University. Her drawings are currently in the exhibition Encountering of Picture Planes at Alison Milne Gallery. The Bed and the Street, a collaboration with Mike Hoolboom, will screen in the Redacting Bodies program on April 19 at the Images Festival in Toronto..

1. Heroes in My Head



Two weeks ago I went to Judy Rebick's book launch for Heroes in my Head. She and Farah Kahn talked about the revolutionary power of telling secrets. They both have a way of balancing vulnerability and force that I think is incredibly rare. Judy has been a writer and feminist activist for most of her life, but she hasn't talked about her memories of sexual violence until now. Burying these memories wreaked havoc on her psyche – she developed multiple personalities. I was struck by the way Judy talked about these personalities or "alters" as an imaginative and protective response to trauma, not as a symptom of a mental disorder. In 1983, a man attacked Henry Morgentaler with garden shears outside of his Toronto abortion clinic and Judy blocked the attack. The heroes in her head made her fearless.

2. Kids' art



I teach drawing classes to two eight-year-old boys every week. We started off drawing everyday objects – leaves, toy cars, shoes – but they told me they just wanted to draw stuff from their imaginations. So they started making cities where peacocks, turtles, and bison roam the streets and swim in fountains, where aliens live in high-rise buildings and eat wild berries, where racoons communicate with humans using olden day phones with long spiral cords. When you're a kid there isn't a rigid divide between fantasy and reality, past and future. It's more of a mash-up. More like how life actually is.

3. Sardines



Perfect food for broke artists and mothers living on strike pay. They also contain 150% of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12.

4. Donna Haraway



I might just use this quote in lieu of an artist statement:

The tentacular are not disembodied figures; they are cnidarians, spiders, fingery beings like humans and raccoons, squid, jellyfish, neural extravaganzas, fibrous entities, flagellated beings, myofibril braids, matted and felted microbial and fungal tangles, probing creepers, swelling roots, reaching and climbing tendrilled ones. The tentacular are also nets and networks, it critters, in and out of clouds. Tentacularity is about life lived along lines – and such a wealth of lines – not at points, not in spheres. "The inhabitants of the world, creatures of all kinds, human and non-human, are wayfarers"; generations are like "a series of interlaced trails."

5. Summer Blues



This picture by my granddad Jimmie Frise hangs above my drawing table. I look at it every day. I never got to meet him, but he comes to life when I look closely at his swift lines, brushwork, and eraser marks. He was a self-taught comic artist. During the First World War, he was just about to mount his horse, his hand on the saddle, when a bullet blew off his finger. Luckily not his drawing hand.

 

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