Responding to Head and Neck Cancer
January 5 – 21, 2017
Curated by Lianne McTavish
Opening Reception | Thursday, January 5, 7-10pm
dc3 Art Projects is proud to host FLUX: Responding to Head and Neck Cancer. For the past year, artists, writers, and medical professionals have been listening to, learning from, and collaborating with people recovering from head and neck cancer. This has resulted in FLUX, an exhibition featuring work by six participating artists, ranging from video installation to photography, print, sculpture, and drawing. The diverse works reveal aspects of the cancer experience that often remain hidden. Appealing to all of the senses, they convey the confusion, catastrophe, and hope associated with a serious illness, showing that healing is an uneven and continuous process.
FLUX is presented in partnership by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Faculty of Arts, dc3 Art Projects, Killam Laureates, Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) and Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS).
For further information about this project please visit seemehearmehealme.com.
FLUX: Responding to Head and Neck Cancer
The concept of flux is useful for thinking about the challenges of head and neck cancer, for the term has multiple, contradictory meanings. In contemporary English, flux refers to fluidity and unrest. When we say that something is in constant flux, we imply that it is both unknowable and unmanageable, attributes that can be seductive but also evoke fear. The term has increasingly negative associations within a medical context, where flux describes an excessive discharge of fluid from the body. An unpleasant perception of flux indicates that danger might be lurking beneath the skin.
There are also positive associations with the term flux. In metallurgy, flux is a substance used to refine metals by combining with impurities to form a molten mixture that can be removed. This sense of cooperation as well as cleansing continues in another, more chemical definition of flux: it is an ingredient added to dental porcelain because its low melting temperature helps to bond silica particles. Both technical understandings of flux suggest the practical interventions used by health care professionals to treat head and neck cancer patients, including the careful reconstruction of the teeth of people recovering from invasive surgery and the effects of radiation therapy.
While this exhibition entitled FLUX embraces all of these possible significations, it highlights the ways in which contemporary artists can also enter the realm of head and neck cancer to invite exploration of its meaning. The six participating artists were invited to collaborate with, learn from, and expand understanding of the experience of head and neck cancer, from the perspective of those who have been diagnosed with this form of cancer along with their family members. By exchanging ideas with head and neck cancer patients, listening to their stories, and attending interactive workshops, the artists agreed to face the daunting and perhaps impossible task of representing the knowledge and experience of another. This approach was risky, necessitating a swerve away from standard methods of artistic practice.
The works in the exhibition FLUX are united in their dedication to exploring, representing, and recreating the stories, experiences, and embodied knowledge of people recovering from head and neck cancer. The range of responses, materials, and formats on display, however, indicates the complexity of this topic and the multiple reactions it can provoke. All six artists have thoughtfully and imaginatively provided new ways to think about and understand head and neck cancer, without attempting to simplify or sanitize this disease and its impact. In addition to respecting the varied paths of people undergoing cancer treatment, this show acknowledges that different visitors will bring their own bodies and histories to the exhibition, providing them with open-ended questions, rather than easily digested answers. In keeping with the overall theme of flux, this collaborative, interdisciplinary, and interactive exhibition shows that human bodies are enduring and malleable, subject to disaster but also to repair.
– Lianne McTavish, University of Alberta
(Full curatorial essay is forthcoming in the catalogue to be published by the University of Alberta Press)
Ingrid Bachmann is an interdisciplinary artist who explores the complicated relationship between the material and virtual realms. Bachmann uses redundant as well as new technologies to create generative and interactive artworks, many of which are site-specific. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in exhibitions and festivals in Canada, Europe, the United States, Asia, and Latin America including the 11th Havana Biennal (2012), Manifestation International d’art 6, Quebec (2012), Lab 30, Augsburg (2010), and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (2010).
Bachmann is the co-editor of Material Matters (YYZ Books, 1998, 1999, 2011) and has contributed essays to several anthologies and periodicals including The Object of Labor, MIT Press (2007). She has given invited talks at such venues as the Banff Center for the Arts, ISEA (The International Symposium of Electronic Arts), Goldsmiths College (University of London), University of Wollongong, Australia, and the University of Maryland at Baltimore, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Bachmann is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She is also a founding member of Hexagram: Institute for Research and Creation in the Media Arts and is the Director of the Institute of Everyday Life.
Sean Caulfield is a Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. He has exhibited his prints, drawings and artist’s books extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Recent exhibitions include: The Flood, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Firedamp, dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton; The Body in Question(s), UQAM Gallery, Montreal; Perceptions of Promise, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, USA/Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta; The New World, The Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art, Debrecen, Hungary.
Caulfield has received numerous grants and awards for his work including: The Special Award of the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Krakow Triennial, 2015; SSHRC Dissemination Grant: Canadian Stem Cell Network Impact Grant; SSHRC Fine Arts Creation Grant; Canada Council Travel Grant; and a Visual Arts Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois, USA. Caulfield’s work is in various public and private collections including: Houghton Library, Harvard University, USA; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA. Caulfield is represented by dc3 Art Projects in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Griebel’s sculptural work is driven by themes of psychological unease and transformation. Depicting bodies in various states of composition, it examines how our imagination negotiates abstract notions such as growth, consumption and mortality through metaphorical and experiential avenues. His work has recently been presented at Galerie Sturm, Nuremberg, The Spinnerei, Leipzig, The Redpath Museum, Montreal, and in Future Station: The 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Griebel was a 2015 artist in residence at Halle 14 Center for Contemporary Art, Leipzig, and was awarded the inaugural Alberta Foundation for the Arts residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn. His projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and he is two-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for international emerging artists.
Jill Ho-You is an artist and sessional instructor at the University of Alberta and Alberta College of Art and Design. Her practice examines the parallels between the landscape, built environment and the human body. Her drawings, prints and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at SNAP in Edmonton (2016) and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (2011.) She has also shown in group exhibitions such as the International Print Center New York (2013), the 3rd Bangkok Triennial International Print and Drawing Exhibition (2012) and the 2nd Grand River International Printmaking Exhibition, ROC (2015.) She was the recipient of the Prix Public from the Biennale Internationale d’estampe Contemporaine de Trois-Rivières (2013) and has participated in residencies at Open Studio in Toronto, ON and St. Michael’s Printshop in St. John’s, NL.
Heather Huston holds an MFA from the University of Alberta and teaches Print Media at the Alberta College of Art and Design where she is currently the Associate Chair of the School of Visual Art. She has had several solo exhibitions within Canada including The Body, Stranger at the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Shift at SNAP Gallery in Edmonton. Her exhibition Dream City, Dreams has been touring through Serbia and Montenegro for the past year. She has exhibited widely in international group exhibitions that recently include Kyoto Hanga, Printing Marks and Codes (Chongqing), Inkmasters 2016 (Australia), and Di CARTA/PAPERMADE (Italy). Her work is in the collection of over fifteen major institutions including Purdue University Galleries, Crvena Komuna (Montenegro), the Arkansas State University Permanent Collection of Art, and the City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection.
Brad Necyk is a Canadian visual artist working through the mediums of drawing, photography, video, film, sculpture, and performance. He was recently an Artist in Residence with the Friends of the University Hospitals and Transplant Services Alberta Health Services (2015-16). Necyk’s current work focuses on patient experience, auto-ethnography, psychiatry, pharmaceutics, and biopolitics. His art work has been exhibited internationally, including the 2015 Alberta Biennial, and he regularly participates in artists’ residencies, delivers academic papers internationally, and serves as a committee member on professional bodies. Currently a PhD candidate in Psychiatry, Necyk is also a Scholar in the Integrative Health Institute at the University of Alberta. He offers senior level courses in Drawing and Intermedia at both the University of Alberta and MacEwan University.
Installation images courtesy of Blaine Campbell