The Comox Valley Art Gallery Creative Residency Program was established out of a desire to provide extended research and site-specific production opportunities for artists, collaborators and curators presenting within the gallery’s exhibition series. CVAG wanted to develop, through a creative residency program, deep and sustained artistic practice, meaningful relationships between artists and the local community, and relevant forms of community-engaged research, exhibition and presentation.
In developing this program, CVAG cultivates an array of community partnerships.
Technical and artistic production support are provided to the artists through an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Fine Arts and Design at North Island College.
In 2019, the Comox Valley Art Gallery expanded its creative residency collaborative partnerships to include Spaces VR, a virtual reality lounge.
Collaborations with the McLoughlin Gardens Society and Creekside Commons Cohousing Community residents make housing for visiting artists possible.
Creative Residency – 2019 Program
Clea Minaker is currently developing work during her residency with the Comox Valley Art Gallery which is part of the thematic program Uncover. Her installation and performance work will be presented during the upcoming exhibition of the same title, opening September 28 2019. During her residency, the artist is housed and is working on site at the McLoughlin Gardens Society artist residence.
Physica is an installation, and a time-based performance producing ephemeral projections from the live manipulation of objects, light and phenomena. Using shadow puppetry techniques, movement and manipulation, pure light and objects, this research uncovers synergistic relationships between material, gesture, and image.
For many years I have been exploring, experimenting and creating through the language of light. Light, along with its’ partner Shadow, shows us the shape of the world through its’ contours, its’ empty spaces, its’ shimmering affects. The shadows themselves, stand as proof of our existence on the planet and under the sun.
Our experience of light, both conscious and unconscious, speaks to fragile and magnanimous sensations, of being human in an omnipotent universe. Our perception of light, underlines our relationships to both the natural and man-made worlds. How do we thrive, or simply survive, in these dimensions? From the sun’s rays filtered through trees, to the blueish glow of ever-present screens, light can tell us who, where, and how we are.
In my creative works, I have found infinite utility for the expressive qualities of light: for its’ mythological and phenomenological importance, and for the metaphors it evokes. Through the use of light and other visual performance mediums, I have expressed my interest for the emotional dimension of our perceptual experiences. How do our encounters with phenomena, and with the environments we are immersed in, make us feel? What of the perceiver, and what of the perceived?
My formal artistic training is in puppetry (both traditional and experimental). Puppetry is an ancient interdisciplinary language. It employs image and enactment to create a syntax built of symbol, metaphor, aesthetics and action. It has been said that puppetry is to theatre what poetry is to literature. It also finds its’ home within the landscape of the visual arts (though in both fields it may be viewed as an outlier, if it is viewed at all). Importantly, puppetry connects the artist and the spectator through a third party, that of the animated image, or the fictional presence. When we agree to suspend our disbelief -in real time- to make dead things alive, there is a special sort of complicity that develops. As our imaginations unite in the presence of one another, there is apparent to me, both playfulness and optimism.
In an age of constant acceleration towards unknown and possibly catastrophic destinations, I am not alone in feeling an urgency to be present in the here and now. How can an art which convokes presence, serve to connect us, to enliven us, and to assist us in imagining new realities together? In Physica I wish to offer to the spectator a visceral experience of having a hand in the action. These works are a small ode to the possibilities of uncovering agency, resistance, beauty, and hope.
Clea Minaker is a puppeteer, designer, director, and interdisciplinary creator who graduated from the sixth promotion (2002-2005) of L’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville‐Mézières, France located at the International Institute of Puppetry Arts. Through her personal creations, Clea has explored an interest for shadow, light, live video projections, object creation, as well as the poetics of manipulation, presence, and corporeal gesture.
She has created and collaborated across artistic disciplines including; theatre, live music, opera, dance, film, visual arts, and community arts. Clea created and performed The Reminder Tour Shadow Show for Feist which received international acclaim and was featured in the documentary, Look at What the Light Did Now. She has worked with Atom Egoyan, So-called, Kid Koala, Hajra Waheed, Clyde-Henry Productions and many other esteemed artists, companies and collaborators.
She has created commissioned works for: the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Convergence: an International Summit on Art and Technology at the Banff Centre, IF! Istanbul, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Festival Casteliers, and Youtheatre. Clea premiered her full-length solo performance The Book of Thel, at Théâtre Lachapelle, Scènes Contemporains in Montreal.
In 2009 Clea was awarded the Siminovitch Protégé Prize for Theatre Design by prize Siminovitch Laureate and puppeteer Ronnie Burkett.
Clea has directed productions, taught puppetry, shadow puppetry, and interdisciplinary creation at; Université du Quebec à Montréal, Concordia University (as artist-in-residence from 2014-2019), The National Theatre School of Canada, Playwright’s Workshop Montreal, U.B.C.O, McGill University, The Banff Centre, and Nunavik Theatre Arts. She is currently co-director of the Banff Centre Puppet Intensive offered by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop.
Clea holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies from McGill University. She grew up in Merville B.C and has been based in Montreal for the past 20 years.
May 14 – July 5, 2019 – Creative Residency with Rachel Grenon.
Cermacist, Rachel Grenon, participated in a Comox Valley Art Gallery Creative Residency in the spring and early summer of 2019 to develop new site specific clay based works. The McLoughlin Gardens Society artist residence is well situated to provide the artist with experience of the ocean, shorelines, forests, mountains, ever changing sky, and weather patterns of the west coast. Grenon developed her work in the Shadbolt studio spaces of the North Island College Fine Art and Design Department, another of CVAG’s Creative Residency community partners. Grenon presented an artist talk at NIC in late June. Two CVAG student intern had the opportunity to work as a tech along side Grenon during her residency. The artist’s developed work were presented in the exhibition Hold Being Held opening at CVAG June 27, 2019. Grenon will also facilitate a community make art workshop during the residency.
Rachel Grenon is from Saguenay and has studied in western Canada with famous potters from British Columbia and at Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver and Université Bishop’s in Sherbrooke, Quebec. In March 2004, Grenon set up her studio in Bromont in the Eastern Townships where mountains and valleys juxtapose to feed her inspiration to create using open and generous forms. Grenon has exhibited across Canada and was the 2009 Canadian Selection – Biennale Internationale of CHEONGJU, South Korea. Her work is presented in private and public galleries and public spaces in Canada and internationally.
February – June 2019 Virtual Reality / Constant Change / Creative Research
Spaces VR and the Comox Valley Art Gallery have collaborated to develop a creative research project that offers participating artists the opportunity to explore virtual reality applications as a creative medium. The opportunity provides immersive explorations of new technology and traditional art practices within the contexts of discovery, constancy and change.
Spaces VR approached the Comox Valley Art Gallery to offer creative residencies for artists who have little or no experience in this medium. Currently, five artists: Angela Bedard, Cassidy Gehmlich, Clive Powsey, Emma Heitzmann, and Roxane Fortin are engaged in new projects on site at Spaces VR.
Spaces VR owner, Matt Adamson, believes that “virtual reality offers limitless potential for expression, but this is difficult to grasp without experiencing it firsthand.”
The VR creative research residency is part of Constant Change, a thematic program at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. The artists’ creative explorations will
be presented at CVAG during the Constant Change exhibition and in an
off-site presentation at Spaces VR during May 2019.
For a more comprehensive look at the VR creative research project, please visit our event page.
June, 2018 – Artist Sandra Semchuk (Vancouver) will be in residence to conduct lens and sound based creative research for Overtones and Understories: a Residency.
Human stories are contextualized by the wider-than-human. Forest. The rhythms and cycles of seasons, waters, skies, flora, fauna, growth, birth and death, violence, predation, love, generosity, co-operation, domination, sexuality and sharing are constants in forest ecosystems of this planet. Each species, each sentience, has its own struggles. That is our surround. As humans we are profoundly shaped by where on this planet we go, which forests we breath with, which streams we drink from. Barry Lopez writes that one is influenced by “what one touches, the patterns one observes in nature, the intricate history of one’s life in the land, even a life in the city, the wind, the chirp of birds, the line of a falling leaf, are known.” We are immersed in dialogue with two landscapes, an inner and an outer.
During this residency I will focus on being and presence. I will listen with my eyes and see with my ears the myriad shifts and nuances of sound, sights and light of the ocean- side McLoughin Park. I will work with a sound recorder, stereographic video, performance and overtone singing in response to the wider-than-human to integrate the senses, discover reciprocity and hopefully, experience reconciliation.
Collaborators will include First Nations performance artist and sacred clown, Skeena Reese, songscape artist and overtone singer, Jerry DesVoignes, specific winds and trees and unexpected stories that emerge.
During the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s 2017 programming, three creative residencies were undertaken.
May 2018 – Guest Curator Toby Lawrence (Kelowna/Gabriola Island) and Victoria-based artists Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde and Valerie Salez will participate in a creative residency related to the their individual and collaborative art practices. Concurrent with their creative residency, will be a thematically related exhibition, artist talks and community outreach programming.
October 4 – 13 2017: Artist, curator and educator, France Trépanier, conducted a creative residency prior to the opening and exhibition of her mixed media installation Offerings/Offrandes. During the residency, France collaborated with local artists, the Kumugwe Cultural Society, and elder Mary Everson to develop work that expanded the touring exhibition to “establish a connection to specific artists and their communities—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—that inhabit this land.” Kirk Swartz (MediaNet), Guylaine Langlois (Vaste et Vague), and CVAG’s community partner, North Island College Department of Fine Arts and Design provided technical support as France developed work for her solo exhibition at CVAG that followed her creative residency.
May 23 – July 31 2017: Inter-disciplinary artist, Rita McKeough, undertook a creative residency that involved collaboration with local and visiting artists as she undertook art-based research and the development of new site responsive work in the Shadbolt Studios at the Department of Fine Arts and Design, North Island College. Rita resided at Mcloughlin Gardens Society’s seaside artist residence.
The community was given opportunities to share, experience and discuss Rita’s work through a Make Art Event, artist talks, and an art opening. Following the creative residency, a solo exhibition of Rita’s multi-media installation Veins / Listen / Cul de Sac remained at CVAG until the fall.
“…I am so grateful to have received so much support and help from everyone at CVAG especially Angela Somerset who has invited me to this residency and given me this amazing opportunity to show my work Veins and to develop these new works. My thanks to everyone at CVAG and to and the Faculty and technicians at NIC Fine Arts program who have assisted with the production of this work. And to Linda Perron and Sara Vipond for their support of this project. I have also been assisted in the production of these new works by Deanna Burnett, Denise Lawson, Jeff Brett, Gordon Ross, Cassidy Gehmlich, Brandon St-Laurent, Krista McAllister, Sharon Karsten, and Lenore Lowe.”
– Rita McKeough
March 1 – 25 2017: During the creative residency of Montreal-based artists Vida Simon and Jack Stanley, the artists deepened their arts-based research for the ongoing evolution of their collaborative work Carried Away. Community engagement through a solo exhibition at CVAG, performances, a Make Art Project event, and Artist Talks at the gallery and North Island College provided opportunities for the public to be involved in the artists’ process during their residency. The work developed during their site-responsive creative research remained on exhibition at CVAG until the middle of April. The artists resided at Creekside Commons Cohousing Community in Courtenay.
July 2016 marked CVAG’s first creative residency collaboration with the McLoughlin Garden Society and North Island College. The residency was connected to the exhibition MAP: Make Art Place, that featured the work of visiting artists Barbara Meneley and Joanne Bristol and local artist Clive Powsey. The visiting artists resided at the McLoughlin Gardens Society seaside artist residence in Merville, while they installed their work, conducted artistic research, and interacted with the community. The visiting artists and Clive made use of production and technical support facilities at both North Island College Department of Fine Arts and Design and CVAG.
CVAG provides creative residencies as part of its programming. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org