Storefronts Victoria Exhibition Program


Inside (we are all) / BOXCARSIX artist collective

Local artists have animated six vacant downtown storefronts with dynamic art installations. These site specific works were installed with the intent to engage the public both during the day and at night. All six spaces are located within the 700 block of Douglas Street.

Participating Artists & Locations

Daniel Laskarin – 744 Douglas St
Libby Oliver - 724 Douglas St
Alysha Farling – 704 Douglas St
Maddy Knott – 709 Douglas St
BOXCARSIX – 707A Douglas St
Laura Gildner – 707B Douglas St

Program Background

Working with the business community, the City has identified a number of vacant storefront windows available to provide new opportunities to showcase the artistic talent in the local arts community. Artists working with visual or new medias including but not limited to printmaking, fibre arts, mixed media, photography, video, light installations, and conceptual work were invited to submit applications for the City of Victoria’s new Storefronts Victoria Exhibition Program. Submissions went through a two-stage process. Artists were assessed on concept, execution and how their exhibit appeals to a diverse audience.
 
This competition was open to artists* working in visual and/or media arts, who are residents of the Capital Regional District (including the Gulf Islands). Selected applicants will develop site-specific concepts for spaces pre-selected by the City of Victoria.  
 
The City cannot guarantee any specific property, or time frame for placement due to the ever-changing real estate landscape in downtown Victoria. City staff will match proposals with available spaces at the City’s sole discretion and in consultation with the artist and property manager/owner. Content must be suitable for the general public.

Artist Biographies & Project Statements

BOXCARSIX is a collective of emerging contemporary artists based in and around Victoria who have been working together since 2016. Exhibitions include inside(we are all), Ministry of Casual Living, 2019; #theviewfromhere, Xchanges Gallery, 2018; and BOXCARSIX:A New Artist Collective, Slide Room Gallery, 2017. BOXCARSIX also founded and delivered Draw by Drawing, a community drop-in drawing workshop between 2016 and 2018.

Inside (we are all) consists of hundreds of soft, hand-sewn, stuffed fabric sculptures of both anatomically correct and imagined bodily organs, cells, and microbes. Each piece is made from found and repurposed domestic fabrics such as sheets and blankets in countless shades of pink and a variety of patterns. Viewers will be invited to consider how, in spite of any labels that might be attached to us, we all share a human body: even as this oppressed and oppressive colour, together with the patterns and textures of home, stir up contradictory emotions of nostalgia, comfort and revulsion.

The members of BOXCARSIX who worked on this project are: Mary Babineau, Celine Berry, Joanne Hewko, Jessica Jean Kuyper, Fern Long, and Clare Thomas.

Visit the BOXCARSIX website.

 

Alysha Farling is a visual artist from Victoria. She attended Camoson College and then went on to finish her BFA at Concordia University where she majored in Drawing and Painting. After graduating she shifted her focus towards sculpture and has been focusing on installations. Alysha has shown work in multiple Canadian cities and has done two residencies, one in Argentina and the other at Camosun College. In 2016, she had a curated book of her sketchbooks printed ‘States of homes’ through PDA press in Ottawa. From 2015 - 2018 she volunteered at VIHA’s Art Capacity program where she designed and taught art classes to people living with mental illness. This past year Aysha had a show at Xchanges Gallery, took part in the commute bus shelter project put on by the City of Victoria and most recently she was awarded a micro grant through Specto Art Space. Next summer Alysha will be spending a month at the BMK residency, which she is looking forward to.

The city of hidden remnants includes wire, fabric, found objects and garbage “bits”, made from old and new pieces of sculpture. Alysha is a found object storyteller weaving together a choose your own adventure story. The storefront presented a big challenge: how to engage the viewer. A large part of experiencing Alysha’s work is being able to get up close and see all the detail and explore the worlds. Alysha used bright colors and warm yellow lights to bring attention to her installation, as well as, incorporating in many more objects than she usually does creating visual texture. She hints in her title ‘The city of hidden remnants' that there may be things to find within it. Pulling inspiration from a favorite childhood book ‘can you see what I see’, on the other set of windows, she has included a list of objects that are placed throughout the installation, some more challenging to find than others. Alysha’s hope is that the viewer can find a sense of curiosity and play when looking at this new work.

Visit Alysha Farling’s website.


Laura Gildner
is a visual artist interested in examining performative roles within social structures through situational design and public calls for participation. The majority of her practice is centered around the creation of event-based productions that are later translated into video installations, photographs, and archives of the makeshift communities that emerge from each project's development. Over the past four years, Laura has exhibited and produced live commissions for over thirty institutions and venues within Canada and abroad, and is preparing for upcoming shows at the Polygon, VIVO, Paved Arts, Flux Gallery, and for Capture Photography Festival throughout 2020.  She graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts with honours and distinction from the University of Victoria in 2019.
 
For the Storefronts Exhibition Program, Laura transformed 707B Douglas Street into a large-scale lightbox of moving images. Designed for optimal viewing while the sun is down (4:30 p.m. – 9 a.m.), this video installation will evolve as time passes, presenting viewers with entirely different experiences depending on what time of day or night they encounter the work.

Visit Laura Gildner's website.

 

Maddy Knott is an emerging artist from Vancouver Island, she holds a MFA from the University of Victoria and a BFA with a minor in jewelry design from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She also graduated the Visual Arts program at Camosun College where she was awarded a BC Arts Council Scholarship.

In the past few years she has been primarily focusing on sculpture with a large part of her work being the investigation of materials or the materials relationship to memory. Knott is also an active silversmith and jewelry designer she founded her jewelry company Dive Bar Designs in 2017. She currently teaches and is a studio technician at Argentum Jewelry School in Victoria.

Flower Head and The Peachy Pet consists of found film manipulated and edited to create odd creatures that come to life as large scale cutouts. The work considers the idea of the mind manipulating truth and fantasy; how our memories change overtime. The work is rooted in truth but pushes the boundaries of make believe.

Visit Maddy Knott's website.

 

Daniel Laskarin finished his MFA at UCLA in 1991 and has produced and exhibited his work across Canada and internationally. With a background as a helicopter pilot in the mountains of British Columbia and the Yukon, his experience in translating the codes of navigational maps into physical motion led to sculptural and multimedia objects and installations reflecting the structure of perception, knowledge and consciousness. Recent projects are evolving into work that finds possibilities for reclamation within conditions of collapse, decay or ruin.  Alongside his studio practice he has been involved with set design, public image projections, and large scale public commissions in the Pacific Northwest. Daniel is an Associate Professor at the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Victoria.

Daniel’s installation comes from an interest in how we see and how we construct ideas from our perception. Things are known as images more than as the things themselves. Here the public will have both: original sculptures and a fragmented video image of them as they are revealed and hidden by the moving camera. The work provides a dualistic experience: a thing (actually two) and an image of the thing, or the real, and its representation. At the same time, from around the corners of the video panels the mechanism for creating this dualism will also be visible.

Visit Daniel Laskarin’s website.

Libby Oliver has a BFA with honors from the University of Victoria, where she focused in photography and installation art. Libby previously studied International Development and Gender at the University of Guelph. She coordinates community art spaces and has worked on policy projects that support community inclusion in the arts. She currently lives and works on the territories of the Lekwungen peoples, also known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, as an artist and freelance photographer.

Eva ispart of Libby’s Mementos series which repackages and displays material culture as a means of exploring identity. She catalogs people and their belongings or personal spaces to construct contemporary photography portraits. The “stuff” that are ordinary, habitual and perhaps unassuming objects to a person thus become the central lens for viewing them. 

Ultimately, her images are meant to reflect the contradiction of living in a material culture in an industrialized society. Libby’s photographs question how much control we truly have in shaping our sense of self, whether “things” reflect who we are, or dictate how we should be. Through the exploration of objects and intimate spaces she is working to decode the social language we have surrounding “stuff” while drawing attention to the ways we categorize and understand one another through this visual social system. Whoever the person is, she aims to provoke a greater curiosity about them as a fellow human being.

More Information

Thank you to everyone who applied the Storefronts Victoria Exhibition Program. The deadline for submissions was October 15, 2019. For the detailed submission requirements and further background information, please read the Call to Artists below:

For more information, please email culture@victoria.ca