Speakers: Alyssa Alikpala, Jenn Law, Noelle Wharton-Ayer and Rebecca Travis
Panel Discussion: Cultivating Connection
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm ET
Structure: 30min talk, 15min Q&A
This Print Speak session brings together the three artists featured in Open Studio’s Main Gallery exhibition Cultivating Connection: Alyssa Alikpala, Jenn Law, and Noelle Wharton-Ayer, in discussion with Open Studio’s Curator and Collections Manager, Rebecca Travis.
The exhibition featured artwork in which print-based processes were actively intertwined with botanical material, from Jenn Law’s recent letterpress impressions into the leaves of wild and domestic plants, to Noelle Wharton Ayer’s multimedia collage practice including anthotype and screenprint, and Alyssa Alikpala’s wheat-pasted interventions using collected natural materials. Taking place towards the close of winter and in anticipation of spring, the works in Cultivating Connection engage with communication, unfixed outcomes, and slow viewing.
Alyssa Alikpala is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and researcher, working across sound, sculpture, installation, and ephemeral forms. Her practice explores the sensorial body and its relation to material and environment, focusing on the physical process both as a way of generating insight and as a meditative practice. Through environmental interventions, her current body of work invites slowness and sensitivity. Using found and natural materials, the works respond intentionally to the time, place, and conditions, and ultimately accept their impermanence.
Alyssa has recently exhibited in Tkaronto/Toronto at Myta Sayo Gallery, Project 107, and Gallery TPW for Images Festival in partnership with Scotiabank Contact Festival. In the fall, she completed a residency at La Napoule Art Foundation in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, France, where she pushed her material and process-based research on plant fibres and wheat paste.
Jenn Law is an artist, writer, and editor living in Toronto. Working across print, clay, and animation, Law’s practice explores language ecologies, the historical archive/library, literary objects, and processes of material storytelling. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK, a BA in Anthropology from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, and a BFA from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
Law has exhibited her work internationally, including exhibitions in Canada, the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In addition, Law has published widely on contemporary art and print culture and has worked as a lecturer, curator, and editor in Canada, the UK, and South Africa. She is the co-editor of Printopolis, published by Open Studio in 2016. In 2017, Law co-founded the experimental publishing platform Arts + Letters Press and is the co-editor of the journal art + reading.
Jenn Law would like to thank Pudy Tong, Reg Beatty, Tom Blanchard, and Smokestack Studio.
Noelle Wharton-Ayer is a Québec-City based multidisciplinary artist interested in the interaction between exterior botanical spaces and interior psychological and emotional states. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in visual arts from York University and a Master’s degree in visual arts from Université Laval, and worked for several years as a studio manager at the artist-run centre Engramme.
Noelle’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Europe, and she has participated in artist residencies throughout eastern Canada. Notable projects include La Cascade, which was selected for the summer 2022 programming of Cooperative Méduse’s Bay Window exhibition space. In 2022, she was also a Première Ovation grant recipient for her project Bushwork / Dans la brousse. Noelle has worked as a community arts practitioner in Quebec City since 2019, and in the spring of 2023 she will be an artist-in-residence at Jean-De-Brébeuf high school.
The creation of Noelle Wharton-Ayer’s works presented in the exhibition was made possible by a production grant from Première Ovation, a funding body of the City of Québec which supports emerging artists of the region.
Rebecca Travis is Open Studio’s Curator & Collections Manager. Travis is a writer, editor, and curator, originally from the UK and based in Toronto since 2014. She was Managing Editor of London-based online contemporary art magazine this is tomorrow between 2014 and 2016. She has also contributed to Apollo Magazine, The White Review, Canadian Art, C Magazine, Momus, Prefix Photo, Aesthetica Magazine, and many more publications.
Travis has a degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and has worked in public and commercial galleries since 2010. Through her gallery work, writing and curatorial practices, Rebecca is passionate about generating conversations around contemporary art, focusing on the vibrancy of the Canadian art scene and bringing an international perspective.