AGH introduces Sylvia Nickerson as 2020/21 RBC Artist in Residence


Installation view of RBC Artist in Residence: Sylvia Nickerson, 2020.

Local comics artist, writer, and illustrator Sylvia Nickerson will use her year-long residency within the David Braley and Nancy Gordon Sculpture Atrium as an opportunity to develop content for a new fantasy graphic novel exploring the future of artificial intelligence. Her practice, over two-decades-long, has explored the emotional underworld of urban life, as she thinks about the way humans connect or feel disconnected.


Sylvia Nickerson, The New Normal, 2018, watercolour and ink on paper with digital enhancement, from the trade book “All We Have Left, Is This”. Courtesy of the artist.

Nickerson is evolving her exploration of character in the exhibition component of the residency. In Dark Mirrors, papier–mâché figures reveal her two-dimensional characters come to three-dimensional life for the first time. Nickerson’s new book is inspired by the way our actions, emotions, and identities are tracked by everyday technologies that passively surveil us. Is it possible for a computer, a government, a corporation, to know us better than we know ourselves? Nickerson plans to use Dark Mirrors as a vehicle for imagining the characters these figures represent in a speculative technological future.

Nickerson has previously written comics examining parenthood, gender, social class, and religion. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. Her graphic novel Creation won The Nipper Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Comics Talent.

RBC Artist in Residence: Sylvia Nickerson
Exhibition now on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton through 2021

AGH Artist in Residence Presented by RBC

Curated by Melissa Bennett



Art Gallery of Hamilton
123 King Street West,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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