Room for Absence
Each year, Open Studio awards two, yearlong residencies to artists of merit. The Don Phillips Scholarship is awarded to a graduating student who has just completed an undergraduate art program with a printmaking major at an accredited Canadian institution and who will not be returning to full-time studies.
Recipients are provided with rent-free access to Open Studio facilities for a period of one year, materials bursary, professional development assistance, and free access to Open Studio’s education program. This exhibition is a result of this intensive work period.
Room for Absence features small and large-scale woodcut and letterpress pieces alongside installation work. With tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation, but also sometimes uncomfortably honest exposition, Nix Burox uses autobiography and self-analysis to tackle issues of mental illness, gender, and being an artist struggling to find coherence. As a self-identified ‘recovering perfectionist’, Burox has been exploring failure and absence – namely the failure to fill a void or to satisfy a desire for meaning in their life.
Room for Absence proposes evidence of failure as not only physical ghosts that linger and haunt but also in a more hopeful vein, as evidence of being present, alive, of the success of having tried at all. Similarly, Burox toys with the idea that absence is simply as of yet untapped potential for presence. The exhibition contrasts an ironic shrine to their past self – critiquing nostalgia and the romanticization of mental illness – with an altar to their future self – a collection of empty structures that offer the eeriness of blank pages and shelves, but also the hope for future fulfillment.
Note: certain elements may be triggering to some, as they deal briefly with self-harm and body image issues.
Nix Burox is a non-binary trans artist based in Toronto. Interested in process-oriented art, their work references archiving practices and takes the form of modular interactive art-objects such as sets of cards, artist books, and installations. Using autobiography as a tool to discuss issues of identity and mental health, Burox is interested in queer and small press initiatives and was a founding member of the Concordia Queer Print Club. They have recently completed a BFA in Print Media at Concordia University and are the 2017 recipient of the Wendy Simon award. They have participated in a number of exhibitions and residencies, including a collaborative residency at Gravity Press Experimental Print Shop in Massachusetts and most recently a research/creation residency at the Concordia Fine Arts Reading Room.