Exhibition Statement

Jacob Heathfield, Self Portrait Based on a Portrait of Olga Khokhlova, 2020. Acrylic paint on paper. Image credit: Sarah Martin, 2021.

When considering the importance of the studio as an artist, the in-person experience relies on sharing work and expressing opinions with others in a like-minded space. Since March 2020 and still today, Brock University art students have lost this relationship to the studio and their artmaking, instead creating their work in isolated home studios and private spaces.

In times of uncertainty, we look to art for comfort. Art is often reflective of the times they were created in, and the art of 2020-21 is no different. Students shared work of self portraits, still life vanitas, and empty landscapes that all evoked the feeling of identity and isolation.

The MIWSFPA Visual Arts Gallery (VISA Gallery) took a first step in rebuilding the collaborative relationship of in-person schooling by creating an Instagram account, @brockvisagallery, to share students’ work to a public platform.

The work in the “unprecedented” exhibition shows a group of student artists in their first to fourth year of the VISA program offering a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transitioning from an online platform back to a physical exhibition offered students a reflection on what “regular” student life used to be. The excitement of having your work in a gallery and professionally displayed - even if the experience is only online - still reminds us that our practises are important and deserve to be celebrated.

- Sarah Martin, Curator