Mia Sandhu: Night of Day

Mia Sandhu, Equinox, silkscreen print, 15″ x 15″, 2023

Mia Sandhu
Night of Day

September 22 – November 3, 2023
Opening Reception: Friday, September 22, 5 – 8 PM in-person | RSVP here
Smokestack Gallery, The Cotton Factory, Hamilton ON

Night of Day presents a new body of print works by artist Mia Sandhu that expand upon her latest investigations with figures, orbs, and drapery. Created during her experience as a 2023 Smokestack Analog Print Residency participant, the artworks featured in this exhibition demonstrate Sandhu’s dedication to collaborative technical experimentation as she explored her imagery’s expression in print.

Mia Sandhu has exhibited across Canada, the Unites States and Europe since graduating with a BFA from NSCAD University. She is currently based in Toronto, ON.

Mia Sandhu working in the Smokestack Analog Studio during her residency.

An interview between Mia Sandhu and Smokestack Gallery Director, Tara Westermann, follows:

Tara Westermann (TW): What has been your previous experience with printmaking?

Mia Sandhu (MS): I was first introduced to printmaking at the BealArt program in London, ON. My focus at that time was lithography and etching. Later, while attending [NSCAD] university, I further explored the medium but felt it wasn’t something I could pursue once I left the institution. That was a long time ago now! Working with Laine [Groeneweg] in the Smokestack Analog Print Residency – it really felt like starting from scratch. Laine is an endless beacon of print knowledge and it felt like a real opportunity to rediscover what printmaking was capable of.

TW: How did you find the collaborative experience in the studio? Do you work collaboratively in your practice very often?

MS: No, I don’t, and it was great. Laine responded to my ideas with so much enthusiasm and valuable input while always encouraging experimentation too. It felt like collaboration in the truest sense with my bringing ideas to the table, and he contributing the knowledge of how to make it happen in the most exciting way.

TW: Did you have any particular ideas for a project in mind at the start of your residency?

MS: Wallpaper! When I was first starting this residency, I had it in mind to make wallpaper. I was integrating vintage papers into my installations and was excited by the idea that I could create wallpapers of my own. I viewed it as a great learning opportunity and imagined that’s all I would be doing. The first day in residence, however, we started experimenting and I was introduced to other techniques that I never even knew were possible. With that, what was originally envisioned to be just wallpaper, became a project that included both wallpaper and figurative work. I ended up experimenting in ways I don’t know that I would have had I not participated in this residency.

TW: There were various hand-drawn components integrated into the silkscreen prints created. Why did you decide to introduce these elements?

MS: I like to feel physically connected with the work I’m making, so my addition of hand-drawn elements within the collaborative printing process with Laine felt especially important. His involvement and expertise in the print-specific parts of production were pivotal to guide the technical process and maintain consistency across the volume of works we completed within the period of the residency, while the hand-drawn elements that I added were more directly relatable to the drawing or painting methods which I have much more personal familiarity with.

TW: The majority of your residency was occupied with work in silkscreen, but etching was introduced during your final days too.

MS: Yes! It felt right to create something that would resonate with both Laine and myself. Laine’s practice leans more into the intaglio end of things and it’s something I wanted to challenge myself with. Being reintroduced to intaglio during the residency was really special. That experience in particular has inspired a drive to come back later to delve more into the intaglio medium. Experimentation with aquatint, mezzotint…

TW: You have mentioned that figures were introduced into the imagery content of the project following an initial plan to focus on wallpaper patterning. What inspired this shift?

MS: The figurative imagery was extrapolated from another, concurrent project that I’ve been working on involving figures, orbs and drapery. I thought that these explorations would lend themselves really well to print.

TW: How have you felt your imagery’s expression in print has changed your perception of it?

MS: The imagery certainly became more graphic, which is very different for my work. When I think of print, I also consider it as a medium that was and continues to be intended for the masses and I really appreciate this quality; how these pieces can exist in multiple places at once due to the inherent nature of their multiplicity. As for my perception of them, I’m more excited and interested in what others take away from the work.

Mia Sandhu, Where the moon goes 1, silkscreen print, 22″ x 30″, 2023

Smokestack Gallery exhibits the work of artists who have produced their print projects in Smokestack’s Analog and Digital studios. The partnered operations between Smokestack Studios and Smokestack Gallery seek to establish a connection between the production of print works and their final presentation; to offer a greater understanding of the uniquely technical and creative processes involved in these specialized artistic disciplines.

The 2023 Smokestack Analog Print Residency and exhibition of artworks created by residency participants has been made possible with the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council.

For more information:
Tel: 289.799.5088

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Friday: 10 AM – 4 PM or by appointment

Mill Unit #215, 270 Sherman Avenue N.
The Cotton Factory
Hamilton, ON
L8L 6N4
wheelchair accessible (with assistance)

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