Still Present Yet Absent

Still Present Yet Absent

Raoul Olou
Laurena Finéus
Sharon Norwood

July 15 – September 9, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday July 15, 4:00 to 7:00 pm
The Next Contemporary, Toronto

The Next Contemporary is pleased to present Still Present Yet Absent. The notion of this group exhibition is inspired by historical and natural processes through the ongoing impacts of colonial immigration and enslavement on shaping landscapes. Through the centuries migrants caused significant shifts in land use and above all a widening human influence on geography and to date on architecture.

Societies develop systems of beliefs, values, norms, etc; systems that are concealing in bare sight and shape our mundane existence, systems to decide which (and how) histories are told. The emergent capitalist system was invented with and experimented with various exploitative strategies ranging from normalizing these invisible laborers to forming modern structural slavery systems.

This exhibition invites the audience to discover, participate, question, and dissect the systems that they exist in, around, and/or with. By decoding the migratory histories through an array of painterly imagined and staged landscapes, 1800s bricks hand-formed by enslaved Africans, and further components to uncover. In the hope of alleviating the lack of attention given to this invisible, visible labor that is still present yet absent.

l’Assemblée Générale des Gouverneur’s de la Rosée, Laurena Finéus

Please join us on July 15th from 4:00 to 7:00 pm in celebration of opening the Still Present Yet Absent for an evening filled with art, love, learning and of course wine!

All the artists will be in presence for the opening reception.

About the Artists

Laurena Finéus (she/her) is a Haitian-Canadian visual artist and educator. In her practice, Finéus has been concerned with representations of black geographies, maroon thought, and migratory histories through an array of painterly imagined landscapes. The teachings of Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot in ‘silencing the past’ informs her understanding of visual narration in her practice. Finéus’ strategies include the collapsing of history in order to question its production and mechanisms. Finéus is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University. She is a graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2021), Karsh-Masson Gallery (2021), the Ottawa School of Art (2021) and Art Mûr (2019) among others and is part of a range of private collections internationally. She is the recipient of the Helen Frankentheler Fund (2023), the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (2022), the Ottawa Arts Council BIPOC Emerging Artist Award (2022), the Edmund and Isobel Ryan Visual Art Scholarship (2020), and the Ineke Harmina Standish Memorial (2019). She has previously facilitated a range of bilingual workshops for the Ottawa Art Gallery, Arts Network Ottawa, the High Skills Major in Arts and the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario.

AC, Raoul Olou

Raoul Olou is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. He creates work that references personal experiences, race, ontology, intuition, and shared anthropologies inspired by quantum physics and speculative fiction. Formally trained filmmaker and a self-taught painter, Raoul has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Mark Christopher Gallery, Patel Brown and the Run Gallery. He has received several grants and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Art Council, and received the Mayor’s Award and the Honourable Painting Award at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (2019, 2022). He has been commissioned on several large scale mural projects all over the Greater Toronto Area, working with Mural Routes, KJBit Collective, and through his own independently led projects including a recent City of Toronto commissioned mural. Raoul has also been commissioned on significant private works for the Drake Hotel, the Gladstone, Ode Toronto and the Sheraton Hotel. His work has been collected publicly and privately—by the City of Toronto, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the Wedge Collection. He has been invited for artist residencies at the Museum of Contemporary Art x Akin Collective, Drake Devonshire, and Annandale Artist Residency.

Drop Down and Get Your Eagle on Girl Fflap Your Wings), Sharon Norwood

Sharon Norwood is a Canadian artist, of Jamaican ancestry raised in Toronto. She currently maintains her Art practice between Toronto and Georgia. Sharon holds a BFA in painting from the University of South Florida, and an MFA in Studio Art from Florida State University. She has exhibited internationally, in Canada, Germany, the United States, and Jamaica. Her noted achievements include artist presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg Florida, participation at the National Gallery of Jamaica’s 2012 and 2017 Biennials, NCECA’s 2016 juried Student exhibition, and the 2016 Atlanta Biennial. Sharon is the recipient of numerous awards.

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