Current student profiles

2020-2021 Cohort

Jordan Blackburn

Jordan BlackburnJordan Blackburn is an Alberta born, French Canadian Artist who completed NSCAD University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program in 2015. His multidisciplinary art practice uses visual storytelling to navigate the cultural aspects of a worsening ecological crises, while fostering an appreciation for Nature and the complexity of our collective relationship with it. He has received the Rowland Marshal award for printmaking, was selected as a 2016 regional winner of the BMO 1st Art! Competition, has shown work in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Canada, and has attended residencies at print studios like the Society of Northern Alberta Printmakers, Sparkbox, and St. Michael’s Printshop. And finally, Jordan is a co-founder of Lore Artist Residency in Rockwood, ON, which over two years has hosted storytelling evenings, musical performances, and a series of unique events and workshops led by local and visiting artists.

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Sarah Galarneau 

Sarah GalarneauSarah Galarneau was born in Montréal and grew up in both Nova Scotia and Québec. She primarily works with print media and seeks to extend this practice into the creation of print-based paper sculptures and installations, as well as intimate artists’ books. Existing somewhere between science and fiction, her work endeavours to question our perception of the natural world and expose the fictitiousness of certain extractive, anthropocentric perspectives regarding humans’ relationship with the environment. Her influences also include biomimicry, “worldbuilding”, and visionary fiction, as well as its potential for sparking change. She holds two BFAs from Concordia University: Art History and Studio Art (2011) and Print Media (2015). She has exhibited work in and around Montréal, Toronto, and Trois-Rivières, where she participated in the Biennale Internationale d’Estampe Contemporaine de Trois-Rivières in 2017 and won the Prix Télé-Québec. She is a recipient of the 2018 Arquetopia Residency Scholarship Award, and has completed two artist residencies at Arquetopia, in Puebla, Mexico, in 2015 and 2018.

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Ashley Guenette

Ashley Guenette headshotAshley Guenette is a Franco Ontarian interdisciplinary artist born and raised in rural Northern Ontario. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Art (Baccalauréat en arts visuels) at the University of Ottawa in 2019. She does not preconceive her works; instead they are reactive, responses to material and space, stemming from initial impulses around colour, sensation and mood. Experimenting with different materials such as textiles, plexiglass an discarded or broken objects, she embraces the idea of collage by assembling these surfaces together into an image. The works carry her touch, frustration and satisfaction. She is in some way, recovering the lost excitement of the object’s previous life through contextual repositioning of the materials and colours. Her works challenge the canon’s aesthetic conventions of painting while at the same time engaging in an ongoing dialogue with painting’s histories.

Ashley has shown in galleries across Ontario including: Sudbury, New Liskeard and Ottawa. Most recently she completed her largest painting yet for the Up Here Festival in Sudbury, ON. The mural is entitled Standing Tall | Debout.  Read more about it in this story.

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Julie Hall 

Julie Hall headshotEmerging from her Chemical Engineering BSc at the University of Alberta in 2008, Julie learned what a recession was. Financially and spiritually broken, she further pursued scientific academia, earning an MSc in Food Science in 2012 from Dalhousie University. Barely hacking it in the business sector of scientific research, Julie abandoned her algae bioreactor for the study of fine art in 2013, a field she knew nothing about besides enjoying paintings in art galleries and wishing she could draw better. And what a good choice that was. Alongside her collaborative partner, fellow MFA Jacob Irish, she obtained a BFA in 2017 from NSCAD University where she learned (and unlearned) wonderful (and terrible) artistic (and capitalistic) skills (and ideologies). Julie writes poetry, hooks rugs, draws better, and mostly cooks amazing food. Her main interests are in critical theory, specifically in post-capitalism and decolonization. Julie will be dedicating her MFA studio practice to hand punching area rugs that memorialize great moments in the decline of capitalism. 

Julie and Jacob lived in Amsterdam during an academic exchange at the Gerrit Rietveld Acadamie in the fall of 2016, earned an Ontario Arts Council grant in 2017, have exhibited their collaborative sculptural installations in Halifax (2014), Chicoutimi (2015), Guelph (2016), and Hamilton (2018), and technically Julie has shown in Paris (France) in 2017 but it was a really small show. 

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Jacob Irish

Jacob IrishI work in close collaboration with my partner and fellow MFA Candidate Julie Hall. We have exhibited our work in Halifax (2014), Chicoutimi (2015), Guelph (2016), and Hamilton (2018). Julie and I attended NSCAD University (BFA, 2017). 

I am interested in re-framing artistic practice as a methodology for cultural and political praxis instead of a site of economic speculation and gambling. I want to understand the role art can play in the project of consciousness-raising. I am interested in exploring the political potential of art to expose colonial histories. I want to complicate the narratives that dominate the public perception of North American history. Through hybrid research practices, I seek to imagine alternative forms of sociality beyond hegemonic neoliberal finance capitalism. I see artistic practice as a site of conflict where we can challenge economic narratives that overdetermine desire.

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Karice Mitchell

Karice MitchellKarice Mitchell (b. 1996, Toronto, Canada) is a photo-based installation artist and she received her BFA at York University in 2019. Her practice implements found imagery and digital manipulation to engage with questions and issues of representations of black female sexuality in popular culture. Throughout her undergrad she received numerous awards for academic and artistic achievement and recently she was chosen to participate in a summer internship through Young Canada Works at Toronto's Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography. She’s exhibited two solo shows at York University and has participated in a number of group exhibitions in Toronto.

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Sara Pearson

Sara PearsonOriginally from a small island on the west coast of Canada, Sara Pearson is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. She received a BFA, major in drawing and painting, from the Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2015. Her work has centered on the merging of science and a self-reflexive fine arts practice. Through abstracted paintings of gemstone refraction and land formation, and sculptural methods of bronze casting, ceramics and assemblage, she has explored the relationship between materials and the natural world through concepts such as human value systems, the sublime quality of nature and the journey of transformation. Her current research focuses on the connection between the aesthetics of nature and visual art, and their affects on the human psyche and physical body. Sara is a member of the arts organization, Akin Collective. She has shown with Patel Gallery in Toronto, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in the region.

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Carrie Perreault

Carrie PerreaultWorking primarily in sculpture and performance, Carrie Perreault balances resistance and restraint in onerous actions that recount long-term precarity. In making her work, she expends great effort to achieve minimal results. This isn't about labour; she prioritizes process to reflect on systems of abuse and their connection to emotional and psychological experiences. Through gestural, often repetitive acts and narratives that resist closure, she alludes to complex trauma and its residual effects. By exploring, in a visceral way, failures, vulnerabilities, and the limits of her body, Perreault makes viewers keenly aware of their own.

Recent exhibitions and projects include Cultivating and Practicing Caring Futures: A Death Care Café, Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University (2019); Concept & Creative Process, Multidisciplinary Creative Conference,Faculty of Music, University of Toronto (2019); period of adjustment, Niagara Artists Centre, St. Catharines (2019); SHOW.19, Cambridge Art Galleries, Idea Exchange, curated by Iga Janik (2019); Deathnastics, as part of Gymsick, curated by Hazel Meyer and Lucy Pawlak, Toronto (2018); Perreault has participated in residencies at Open Studio, Toronto; The Banff Centre; and Taipei Artist Village. She recently published ‘period of adjustment’ (2019), a poster/ pamphlet with essays by Sky Goodden and Lucy R. Lippard, and ‘The Artist Cookbook Vol. 1’(2019), featuring recipes from 52 Canadian artists.

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Racquel Rowe 

Racquel RroweRacquel Rowe is an interdisciplinary artist from the island of Barbados. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Guelph in 2019 with a double major in Studio Art and History. Her work confronts the fetishization in society of the black female body by both playing into and against hypersexuality. As a black female she uses her body to challenge preconceived learned notions surrounding black women's bodies being for public consumption and use. the work takes the form of video, performance, painting and public intervention. Colour is an important formal aspect of the work as well, bringing the artist closer to the warmth of the Caribbean. Rowe has exhibited in group shows in Montreal, Toronto, Waterloo and Guelph. As well as having a solo show at the Boarding House Gallery, Guelph, Ontario. Rowe was nominated for BMO 1st Art 2019 and has received academic acknowledgement and honours for her work in her undergraduate degree. Upon starting her MFA at Waterloo she also received the International Master's Award of Excellence.

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Maria Simmons

Maria SimmonsMaria Simmons is a textile and installation artist based out of Hamilton and Waterloo, ON. She completed her BFA at McMaster University in 2017. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Waterloo. She takes inspiration from myth, superstition, and the body, aiming to evoke simultaneous feelings of wonder and perturbation. She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and shown in galleries across the GTA.

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Amber Lee Williams

Amber Lee WilliamsAmber Lee Williams is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in St. Catharines. Following the birth of her first daughter, she decided overnight to return to school and completed an undergraduate degree in Visual Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Her work explores themes of motherhood and loss; life and death; absence and presence; and is often drawn from the details of everyday life. She makes work from small discoveries found in the home, such as leftover food, decaying flowers, old photographs, fridge magnets, dishes, tea bags, clothing, etc. Amber's areas of art include (and often combine) analog, digital, and experimental photography, sculpture, assemblage, painting, and more. Her art practice involves a number of different approaches and processes happening simultaneously in the same space, moving from one idea or medium to the next. Often beginning with meticulous planning, Amber gives in to spontaneous experimentation and allows the process to redefine the work.

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