Alison Shields • Studio as Portal
Vernissage: Thurs. Feb. 6, 6 – 8 pm
Gallery tour: Thurs. Feb. 6, 5 – 6 pm
Art Hive: Sat. Feb. 29, 10 am – 4 pm +info
Exhibition: Feb. 7 to 29, 2020
Alison Shields travelled across Canada, visiting over 125 painters in their studios. Through in-depth interviews with artists focused on their artwork, process, and communities and through explorations of each studio supported by photographic documentation, she examined artistic thinking within the context of contemporary painting practices in Canada. With this work, the artist explores how art making transforms space. For this exhibition, she presents paintings of artists’ studios to share the stories, imagery, objects, and ideas from her visits as a way of proposing that a studio is not simply a room with four walls, but rather a way of thinking.
Throughout her visits, artists used many metaphors to describe the ways of thinking that emerge in the studio: a stage; a playground; a laboratory; a waiting room; a pressure cooker; a labyrinth; a puzzle; a cabinet of curiosities; a brain; and a collage. Defining the studio as a Heterotopia, Vancouver-based artist, Fiona Ackerman described a studio as both a work place and an anti-work place, the real and the imaginary. In an interview with artist Sandra Meigs, she similarly said that a great piece of art can transport us elsewhere, to a different world. The artist’s studio functions in a similar way; it has the capacity to take us somewhere else. Montreal-based painter, David Elliott described this other place saying that painting takes us into a parallel world.
Over the course of her studio visits, Alison Shields came to view the studio as an assemblage; it is an assemblage of ideas, experiences, images, objects and art works.
Alison Shields is an Assistant Professor in Art Education at the University of Victoria. She received a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo and a PhD in Art Education from the University of British Columbia. Over the past decade, she has exhibited her paintings in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and more recently, in the Tate Exchange Gallery in Liverpool. She has participated in residencies in Canada and abroad including recent participation in the Skaftfell Centre for the Arts Wanderlust residency in Iceland. Her previously exhibited paintings explored the process of abstraction as it relates to creative processes. Her more recent work draws from her doctoral research as she presents images of artists’ studios from across Canada.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12 pm to 6 pm; Saturday 12 pm to 5 pm
Exhibition documented by Guy L’Heureux.