November 27 – December 15, 2018
Michaela Bridgemohan, NIK (Nikola Karan), Ryan Danny Owen, Taylor Harder
Curated by Alicia Buates McKenzie
Exhibition Opening Reception
Friday, November 30, 2018 @ 8PM – 12AM
THIS PLACE IS OURS is a retrospection of Coven Gallery’s shift in focus towards becoming a recognized space for artists of marginalized identities. Founded in 2011 by ACAD alumni Dana Buzzee, the Coven Gallery was created from an under-utilized corner in Room 592 at the Alberta College of Art + Design. Since then, Coven Gallery has continued on under the directorship of several students at ACAD, seeing many changes over the years, including the addition of a zine library in late 2017 before a drastic shift in location to the 3rd floor of the institution in 2018. Coven Gallery continues to be a driving force in ACAD’s community of student-run galleries,
THIS PLACE IS OURS explores the resilience of queer bodies in times of change through the respective works of NIK, Michaela Bridgemohan, Ryan Danny Owen, and Taylor Harder. Claiming and reclaiming space, these artists come together as distinctive voices challenging patriarchal understandings of identity and place.
The work is accompanied by a three-part text written by Coven Gallery directors of past and present: Dana Buzzee, Alicia Buates McKenzie, and Alice Schoenberg.
NIK is a Serbian artist currently based in Calgary. They are a mixed media artist, mainly working in performance. Their practise is largely concerned with how their cultural background and their queerness can coexist. NIK’s body being the main access; they move queerly to the beat of the culture. NIK has recently performed for Sled Island Festival in Calgary and M:ST 9 for Rita McKhough’s book launch also in Calgary. They have also recently graduated with a BFA in drawing from Alberta College of Art + Design.
Michaela Bridgemohan is a Canadian visual artist of Australian and Jamaican descent. Her work fluctuates between a collaboration of drawings, sewing, photography, and sculpture as she tries to capture the transformative interactions associated with female biracial identity. Using her own body as a spectral, she explores these interactions by collaborating Caribbean folklore with personal narratives of “otherness”, hegemonic ideologies linked to racial dichotomy and the stoic nature associated with womanhood.
Her work has been shown throughout Canada in spaces such as Artscape Gibraltar, Marion Nicoll, and Art Commons, as well internationally, including at the Queensland Conservatorium and Jugglers ArtSpace in Brisbane, Australia. She also participated in the Feminist Art Collective Residency in Toronto, Ontario funded by the Alberta Foundation For The Arts.
Ryan Danny Owen is a visual artist and writer based in Calgary Alberta. His work responds to questions of identity, loss, desire, and emotion through the use of various media, including music, found photographs, sculpture, and pornography. Owen examines his body existing within the context of queer genealogy and challenges the idea of coming after. Questioning the role of the biography, he brings forward a discussion on sexuality, personal history, love, and loneliness. His work is an act of cruising through a queer time and enacts a radical potential to deny the end of a timeline and curve it into a circle. His online curatorial project, Mirrors and Windows, examines the role of queer genealogy in the forming identity as well as a challenge of the idea of coming after as it pertains the AIDS crisis and intergenerational queer history. His work has been exhibited across Canada and recently he was included as a performing artist in the Biennial M:ST performance art festival and IKG LIVE 2.
Taylor Harder is a Métis and Mennonite artist from Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Treaty 8 Territory. Using methods derived from witchcraft and folk tradition, Harder evokes ritual and spiritual communication to a hidden dimension. As a resistance against Euro-Centric, capitalist, and patriarchal understandings of unexplained phenomena, they beckon towards the invisible, the erased.
Harder currently serves on the board of TRUCK Contemporary Art Gallery, writes VOICES YYC, and has written for Femme Waves Visual Arts Festival. They reside on Treaty 7 Territory in Calgary, where they are attending the Alberta College of Art + Design.
Harder uses They/Them Pronouns
Alicia Buates McKenzie is an emerging artist, curator, and writer from rural western Manitoba. Her work concerns itself with the growing pains of making space for oneself in new and unfamiliar territory. Utilizing autobiographic recounts of her experiences growing up in the Canadian prairies as the basis of her research, she explores ideas of barriers and fluidity in duality—the tensions and bridges between the parts that make one whole—from a biracial, bisexual lens. Her interest in curatorial activism was sparked in 2016 as she took on the role of Director for the Coven Gallery at ACAD, for which she remained heavily involved with until her graduation from the institution in 2018. Currently, Buates McKenzie fulfills the role of Visual Arts Curator for Femme Wave Feminist Arts Festival in concert with her visual art practice.
Stride Gallery gratefully acknowledge that we stand on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.