Visiting Artists’ Residency Exhibition
Dorian FitzGerald, Rafa Santos, and Kara Springer
September 8, 2023 – October 21, 2023
We are excited to announce our 2022 – 23 Visiting Artists’ (VA) Residency exhibition featuring work by Dorian FitzGerald, Rafa Santos, and Kara Springer.
The Visiting Artist Residency Program allows artists to realize a creative project in print media using traditional and experimental methods.
During the residency, visiting artists work with a collaborative printmaker and are encouraged to explore how print can contribute to, or expand, their artistic practice. The culmination of this exploration results in a dynamic group exhibition.
The 2022-23 Visiting Artist Residency Program was also made possible thanks to the educational and collaborative support of the following printmakers: Angela Sneider, Heather J.A. Thomson, Meggan Winsley and Joy Wong.
Dorian FitzGerald’s residency at Open Studio, submitted back in 2019, aimed to depict finely crafted objects created in identical pairs – vases, lamps, bookends – using traditional screenprinting techniques.
Over the course of the three-year delay, his interests shifted and he used the residency opportunity to attempt to integrate screenprinting with the techniques from his existing painting practice – and to overcome the many technical challenges that would present themselves in the process.
For the subject matter, he loosely kept the idea of the pair – binary in this case, rather than identical.
This project was printed at Open Studio in collaboration with Meggan Winsley under the auspices of the Visiting Artist Residency Program, 2022-23.
Dorian FitzGerald makes monumental paintings of materially excessive situations, using an idiosyncratic technique he has been refining for several years. The works are largely concerned with the economy of fine objects – their commission and provenance, collection and dissemination, means of exchange and assignation of value – as well as the labour and materials involved in their creation.
FitzGerald has received various grants from federal, provincial, and municipal granting bodies, including a Chalmers Fellowship Research Grant (2018). His work is part of public collections at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal, as well as private collections in Canada, the USA and Europe. He lives and works in Toronto, where he is represented by the Clint Roenisch Gallery.
Dorian FitzGerald gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.
During their residency, Rafa Santos created Drum Loop Body Shift What the Sound Look Like. The project takes on the form of a running length of CMYK prints dispersed among each other. Each print contains a number of condensed screenshots from videos of palo performances in the Dominican Republic.
Palo is a tradition that is deeply rooted in Black Dominican festivity, communal aid and folk resistance through spirituality. This project became a process to connect with the sound, the dance, the people and the spirituality of palo music. Throughout the project, Rafa sought to form a connection with the land, the people and the culture of their father when the only information available to them is found through the internet. How can Rafa feel close? They wanted to represent the fervour, the joy, the sonic intensity of palo visually, to feel like they might know what the people in the video know.
With each frame pressed in next to the other, the contents of the frames become unclear, some detail is lost, but new information is revealed. The stretched bodies, drums and speakers begin to mimic the rhythm of lines and colours of spectrograms. In this way, the prints become interpreters of qualities such as texture, energy, volume, and aura, collapsing the physical realm with the spiritual, by ways of this visual representation of the sound of movement and colour.
At the very least, Rafa’s dream of a memory is registered in movement and saturated in colour as vibrant as the music of their father’s people.
This project was printed at Open Studio in collaboration with Joy Wong under the auspices of the Visiting Artist Residency Program, 2022-23.
Rafa Santos’ work fragments both real and imaginary moments in Caribbean and Mediterranean history with artistic liberty. They address the subject of belonging with both a private and a public voice at once. The content of their art remains implicit, as if muted by a materiality not imposed. Post-minimalist in spirit and undisciplinary in practice, Santos strives to embed something irrational and freeing in the seemingly decipherable composition of their work.
Following their BFA at Concordia University, Rafa’s work has been exhibited as part of the Celine Bureau residency and the AIR Vallauris residency, as well as at Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery. Born in Toronto, raised in Ottawa, of Afro-Dominican and Italo-Canadian descent, Rafa’s artistry is currently based in Montreal.
Though mountains danced before them, they said that God was dead (for Buffy and Leonard)
Mountains form where two continental plates collide. The plates crumple and fold until rocks are forced up to form ranges of mountains. The poet and painter, Etel Adnan, whose work Kara Springer first encountered not long before departing for a six-month residency in Switzerland last year, once said, ‘Mountains are transitions. They are impatient spaceships.’ These words stayed with her as she encountered the Swiss Alps and prompted her to further reflect on the mountains of Jamaica, which form the backdrop of her mother’s childhood home in Stony Hill, Jamaica. Springer has begun to reflect further on the idea of mountains as sites of refuge and representations of futurity, their connectedness to both pyramids and spaceships and the otherworldliness of their harshly beautiful terrain.
During her residency, Springer explored new ways of working with form, initially using images taken during a trip with her then four-year-old daughter to Mount Rigi, the only female mountain in Switzerland, and eventually settling on a series of monoprinting explorations. The final works are examples of her current experiments with form, incorporating these gestural prints into various structural formations.
The title of the piece is borrowed from Buffy Saint Marie’s ‘God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot‘, whose lyrics are borrowed from Leonard Cohen’s 1966 novel, Beautiful Losers.
Angela Sneider and Heather J.A. Thomson provided educational support for this residency project under the auspices of the Visiting Artist Residency Program, 2022-23.
Kara Springer is particularly concerned with armature—the underlying structure that holds the flesh of a body in place. She works with photography, sculpture, and site-specific interventions to explore systems of structural support. Her practice is fundamentally rooted in processes of care and tending – in being attuned to the specificities of a given context and environment in order to better understand how a structure might live sustainably in relationship to the world around itself. Her work has been exhibited at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of the Bahamas, the National Gallery of Jamaica as well as Artists Space in New York. She is an alum of the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Core Program.
Kara Springer gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Canada Council for the Arts.