Open Studio Gallery
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 allowance, professional development assistance, and tuition-free access to Open Studio’s education program. This exhibition is a result of this intensive work period.
Nick Novak Fellowship Exhibition
Agata Derda focuses on the exploration of interpersonal dynamics. As stand-ins for actual human images, she substitutes modified vegetation or manmade 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 personification 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 species experience in day to day living.
Agata Derda’s artistic interest in the dark side of 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. Derda was born in Poland in the 80s as a second of four siblings in a working-class family. A few years after finishing high school, Derda immigrated to Ireland where she undertook a BFA in Printmaking in the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Then Derda moved to Edmonton, Canada in 2011 to start an MFA at the University of Alberta. She has shown her work in several solo shows in Canada and national and international group shows in Asia, North America, Australia and Europe.