Current student profiles

2021-2022 Cohort

Christine De Vuono

Black and white portrait of person wearing glassesChristine De Vuono is a multimedia artist working with drawing, sculpture, collage, installation, and photography.  The materials of each project are chosen specifically to engage viewers in new ways to examine societal norms and values. Her work utilises antiquated practices and mindful labour, emphasising the disparity between past traditions and present efficiencies.  Often focusing on the transitions we face in life, her work celebrates the needs of the psyche for beloved care and lived beauty.  De Vuono’s work is being shown in the Salt Spring National Art Prize, British Columbia, and has been shown in London, UK, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto, Ottawa, in her home town of Guelph, and in online forums.  She completed a Bachelors of Arts (With Distinction) in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Waterloo.

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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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Brent Garbett

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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Clara Laratta

Black and white photo of a person looking at camera through a window covered with condensationClara Laratta is a Canadian artist whose practice is located in Hamilton, Ontario, on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabe nations and within the lands protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement.  Laratta's practice is interdisciplinary drawing upon lived and academic experience within and outside of the visual art field.  Some of these experiences include former professions as a regulated health care provider, change agent and educator as well as artists residencies at the DVSA, Artscape Gibraltar point and Ayatana Artists’ research program.  Past work has focused on relational identity and her current research interests are grounded at the intersection of power, disease, healing, and value viewed through a sociologic lens.  Her research questions the impact of patriarchal and colonial histories and values on health and well-being equity in relation to gender, education, income, and other factors. 

Laratta graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art (with distinction) from McMaster University (2014-2018).  After graduation she was awarded an Exhibition Assistance Grant from the Ontario Arts Council (2020) and an Explore and Create Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (2019).  She was the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, McMaster Museum of Art (2018), Juror’s Choice Award, Fieldcote Museum (2018), Lorna and David Somers Community Contribution Award for the Arts (2018).  Her work has been shown in group exhibitions in Canada (2016 – 2021), the United States (2018, 2019), Germany (2021), Italy (2019) India (2019) and in Solo Exhibitions locally.  Her work is a part of permanent collections in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and the USA. 

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Sarah Martin

Photo of smiling person leaning on railingSarah Martin graduated from Brock University with a BFA in Studio Arts in 2019, where she spent 2 years working for the university's gallery before pursuing her MFA.  With an interest and early exploration of curatorial work, Sarah grounds her practice in considering spaces and the body. 

Photography is the connective tissue of her work, where her early explorations involved photographing interior spaces and the relationship to the people that inhabit them.  This inspired considerations of intimacy between image and viewer, developing into a focus on internal mind-body and occupying space.  Reflecting on anxiety-related illness and body image, her work explores body, object, and gender through re-evaluating gender norms and investigating body dysmorphia.  She speaks to these experiences with utilitarian objects, specifically chairs, as seen in her Honours exhibition oh, that's nice, at Rodman Hall in 2019.

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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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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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Stephanie Florence // Stephanie Wilson

Portrait of Stephanie Florence seated on curved shapeStephanie Florence is a neurodiverse artist and curator originally from amiskwacîwâskahikan, colonially known as Edmonton, Alberta. The name Florence was previously used in the matriarchal blood line through first and middle names of relatives born in Denmark for generations. The legal-colonial name Wilson was given to Stephanie's ancestors upon entering Canada. In an attempt to usurp this patriarchal-colonial act, Stephanie has chosen to reform their identity as a Florence. 

Their artwork is primarily based in collage and collaboration, borrowing from sculptural objects, installations, performative gestures, explorative painting, and photographic means. Currently, Florence is conducting exploratory research on the coevolution of interspecies interactions, and how living bodies become a commodity for capitalist culture. They are a graduate of the University of Lethbridge with a BFA in Art Studio and a Diploma in Fine Art from MacEwan University. After completing a two-month residency at the Yorath House Studio, Florence showed the Human Wheel at the Lowlands Project Space. The production of this interactive artwork is to inspire laughter and joy during the pandemic about the cyclical and sinister nature of employment exploitation. Recently, they curated the SkirtsAfire Festival for a second consecutive year, and they are currently launching their collaborative book titled COVID COLLECTIONS. This shared project funded by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton interweaves collections of experiences, interviews, art, and poetry into a book from an inclusive array of Edmontonians during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a non-binary artist, Florence acknowledges the use of pronouns such as they, their, them, she, her, hers, he, him, and his.

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