Each year, Open Studio awards two yearlong residencies to artists of merit. The Nick Novak Fellowship is awarded to an artist currently involved with Open Studio as an artist member.
Recipients are provided with rent-free access to Open Studio facilities for a period of one year, a materials bursary, professional development assistance, and free access to Open Studio’s education program. This exhibition is a result of this intensive work period.
In Afterdark, Agata Derda focuses on the exploration of interpersonal dynamics. As stand-ins for actual human images, she substitutes modified vegetation or man-made forms that are staged in ambiguous, foreboding landscapes. Human engagement with these fictional landscapes is suggested by carefully planned arrangement of objects within the ground (trees planted or cut down in rows, branches lashed tightly with ropes, automata designed for specific pointless purposes, etc). Through the anthropomorphism of trees or man-made structures, Derda examines issues of gender, toxic masculinity and the tendency for either self-annihilation or the desire for dominance through violence. She believes these issues to be a fundamental and lamentable aspect of human existence, underpinning all the suffering we as a species experience in day-to-day living.
Agata Derda’s artistic interest in the dark side of the human condition relates to her personal experience of trauma and also experiences of growing up in a country damaged by a difficult history.
Agata Derda is a Polish-Canadian visual artist and printmaker. She undertook a BFA in Printmaking at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland, followed by completing her MFA at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Canada and numerous group-exhibitions internationally in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. Derda currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
This project was created with the support of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.