Emily Carr’s first year MAA cohort presents “Ekphrasis”. An exhibition composed of new work, from design, media arts, and visual arts students Madeleine Campbell, Adam Cristobal, Hoda Hamouda, Amiel Logan, Ann Milligan, Michelle O’Byrne, Patryk Stasieczek, Pascale Théorêt-Groulx, and Melanie Waddell. Signalling the midpoint of the Master of Applied Arts graduate program, this exhibition explores the cohesion of diverse practices and conceptual approaches.
Since its ancient Greek origins, the definition of “ekphrasis” continues to evolve. The word, whose etymology means “to speak out” (ek = out / phrasis = to speak) has come to function as a rhetorical device in which one creative form enters into a dialogue with another creative form in an attempt to explain or describe it. Its long history reveals the challenges artists and designers face in communicating (speaking out) via new forms and through unconventional mediums. This exhibition does not seek to redefine this term, but rather to create a layering of interpretations that allows the viewer to construct their own subjective understanding. Here the rhetoric is less about informing or persuading the viewer and more about motivating a discourse among varied practices; it becomes a dialogical force rather than a one-way descriptive action.
With the graduate program housed at Mitchell Press studios, space functions as a vessel for ekphrastic relationships. The dialogue between artists and designers working in close proximity to one another creates material and conceptual relations that inevitably become those of call and response. In coming together for this exhibition the artists and designers have relinquished the autonomy of their studio practices in acknowledgement of the ekphrastic relationships among their work.
Ekphrasis creates avenues to explore the process of “speaking out” in unconventional ways while questioning the ability of various mediums to do so. The MAA cohort “speaks out” through themes of labour, memory, bias, technology, embodiment, gesture, image, and the nature of media.
Considering the diverse conceptual and material approaches within the MAA cohort, this exhibition is curated to facilitate ekphrastic dialogues among the works while highlighting individual research objectives and theoretical influences. This exhibition asks the viewer to consider what is lost and what is gained in the process of “speaking out” through the analogical, metaphorical, formal, and symbolic.