Fall 2022 Exhibitions at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery

Opening Reception featuring DJ Slayla
Friday 14 October, 7-10 pm

You’re invited to join us at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery to celebrate the launch of our fall exhibitions. Artists Pardiss Amerian, James Gardner, Paula McLean and Emily Pelstring will be in attendance for this special event featuring a live set from Cambridge’s DJ Slayla.

Emily Pelstring: The Passion of the Hedge-Rider

Curated by Darryn Doull

On view now until 8 January 2022

In this significant new installation, Emily Pelstring channels the figure of the hag to reconcile material and immaterial realms and re-evaluate the thresholds between technology, nature, body and spirit.

The hag is a cultural figure cast upon a threshold. A figure that shares many characteristics with the witch, the hag sits at the boundary between the tamed garden and the uncultivated wild: the hedge-rider. They reside between order and disorder, known and unknown, or inside and outside, operating fluidly across all spaces, perforating the limits of the edge.

Organized into two parallel rows, six stained glass windows evoke a medieval chapel and invite visitors into an atmospheric corridor of fallen shadows as animations pulse on the panes. Like the hag, viewers are situated at an anachronistic crossroads, hovering between neo-gothic architecture, the aesthetics of 1980s video experiments and contemporary image mapping technologies. Familiar icons and symbols become fluid mediums to reflect upon in-between spaces. Flickering candles, creeping familiars and mating salamanders work as powerful ciphers while barriers dissolve amongst processes of creation, destruction, and magical transfiguration.

The Passion of the Hedge-Rider highlights presumed thresholds of our material and immaterial lives, and questions the implications of these categorical divisions through entrancing ambient cinematic spectacle.

Emily Pelstring acknowledges the support of glass consultant and fabrication assistant Kelsey Haynes, the Faculty of Fine Arts Core Technical Centre at Concordia University and the Ontario Arts Council. Vocal performance by Isla Craig.

This exhibition is presented with the support of KWAG’s Women of Influence for Women’s Art.

Artist Talk: Emily Pelstring
Thursday 24 November, 7 pm
Over the last several years, Emily Pelstring has created a number of media installations and artistic collaborations to summon and re-work symbols from religious texts, occult traditions and personal memories. Join us for insight into Emily’s practice and a visit to the installation for discussion.

SOS: A Story of Survival, Part I – The Image

Pardiss Amerian, James Gardner, Paula McLean, Caroline Monnet, Thao Nguyen Phan, Cecilia Vicuña

Curated by Darryn Doull

8 October 2022 – 22 January 2023

What does it mean to survive?

Within a nation founded by colonialism, we find ourselves surrounded by survivals. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, with increasing violence and war around the world, rampant global warming and staggering levels of inequality, survival is not only a philosophical question but a reality of daily life.

SOS: A Story of Survival is a three-part exhibition exploring what survival is, what it looks like and what it means to survive. Working from a place of cultural history in the art museum, this series begins with Part I – The Image. Like Achille Mbembe’s archive, where he locates the “the struggle against the fragments of life being dispersed,” the artists in this exhibition bring images and histories together to survive in new forms and contexts. As the past mingles with the present, meaningful views toward the future come into focus. This process reveals connections between humans, non-humans and the matter of the world. Traditions, narratives and intergenerational lineages of knowledge survive with a vibrant vitality.

Part II – The Body will occur in 2023 and Part III – The Planet will conclude the project in 2024.

This exhibition is supported by The Musagetes Fund, held at Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, and the Allan MacKay Curatorial Fund.

Artist Talk: Pardiss Amerian
Saturday 15 October, 2 pm
From a rich field of references that includes illuminated manuscripts and historic Persian literature, Pardiss Amerian produces mesmerizing works that easily bend between representation and abstraction. In some ways, Pardiss works like a translator, receiving historical narratives and recontextualizing their components, producing an uncharted elsewhere for viewers to wander.

Panel Discussion: A Changing Idea of Survival
Saturday 3 December, 1 pm
In Octavia Butler’s 1993 novel Parable of the Sower, the protagonist often repeats: “All that you touch, you change; All that you change, changes you; The only lasting truth is change.”

But what is the relationship between change and survival? This panel discussion will explore themes SOS: A Story of Survival, Part I – The Image from a variety of perspectives. Given that most change does not come calmly to the world, what are some other ways to frame survival?

Save the date for an Artist Talk with James Gardner on Thursday 12 January, 2023.

Free admission to all exhibitions is sponsored by Sun Life Financial. Artist Talks at KWAG are sponsored by Momentum Developments and Sorbara Law.

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
101 Queen Street North
Kitchener, ON N2H 6P7
mail@kwag.on.ca | 519-579-5830

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Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is an accessible venue with Gold Certification from the Rick Hansen Foundation and certified as dementia friendly through the Blue Umbrella Project®.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.

Stephanie Vegh
Director of Marketing and Communications
svegh@kwag.on.ca | 519-579-5860 x 218

Images (from top):
Emily Pelstring, The Passion of the Hedge-Rider, 2022. Stained glass and video projection. Dimensions variable, each panel 38.1 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the Artist. Glass consultant and fabrication assistant: Kelsey Haynes. © Emily Pelstring. Photo: KWAG.

Thao Nguyen Phan, Becoming Alluvium (still), 2019. Single-channel colour video. 16:50 mins. © Thao Nguyen Phan.