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BioCurious

March 14, 2023 - September 24, 2023

Second Floor

BioCurious brings together works by eighteen artists whose works explore living materials as their subject matter, and in some cases, their artistic medium. Curated in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and impacts of climate change, the exhibition asks pressing questions about how we have impacted the world we inhabit and how this changing world, marred by our draining of its resources, has shaped our existence. How do we create definitions of culture that include biological culture? In what ways are bodies and objects co-created with nature, during the cycle of life? How can art help us understand how the human body is permeable to, and comprised of, other life forms, and inherently connected to – not detached from – the land? How can contemporary art help us understand the genre of “landscape” more expansively? How might art depict  our biological futures? What changes must happen now to heal the land, our bodies, and the places we call home?

Sitting at the intersection of art and science, the works in this exhibition focus on humanity’s relationship to the elements—water, plant life, and the air that we breathe—and how this relationship has morphed through trade and resource extraction. The selected artists, who identify as Canadian and/or Indigenous, intertwine scientific and cultural knowledge to propose different ways of understanding living bodies and the land.

Artists:

Siku Allooloo, Alana Bartol, Christi Belcourt, Daphne Boyer, Hannah Claus, Nicole Clouston, Becky Comber, Ruth Cuthand, Lisa Hirmer, Charmaine Lurch, Laura Magnusson, Maria Simmons, Kara Springer, Laura St. Pierre, Jennifer Wanner, Amanda White, Jennifer Willet and Xiaojing Yan.

Curated by Jennifer Matotek & Julie Rae Tucker

Media

Alana Bartol, From the series: Forgetting Fields I, 2021, heated milk on paper

Hannah Claus, we are a tea people [nous sommes un peuple de thé, 2020, beeswax

Hannah Claus, there's a reason for our connection [c'est pas pour rien qu'on s'est rencontré], 2019, white deer rawhide, artificial sinew

Charmaine Lurch, Ode to Henrietta Lacks, 2015, acrylic and wire on canvas and Black Mirror, 2015, reflective magnetic steel/wood petri dishes with vinyl lettering

Amanda White, A Breathing Room, 2015—2022, living plants, wood, Coroplast, lights

Amanda White, A Breathing Room, 2015—2022, living plants, wood, Coroplast, lights

Jennifer Willet, Project Assistants: Domenica Mediati, Megan Andrews, Hadia Nadeem, Lyndsay McKay, Brodie MacPhail, Garvin Chinnia, Nathalie Dubois Calero, Abigail Morris, When Microbes Dream, 2020—2023, wall installation

Jennifer Willet with Research Contributors: Jude Abu Zaineh, Lisha Laing, Philip Habashy, Aleeza Tariq, Gillian Hughes, Kadila Adili and Photography by Justin Elliott, From the series Baroque Biology: Paper Theatre, 2019, digital prints

Christi Belcourt, Frogs Sing Loudly in Spring, 2021, acrylic on canvas

Jennifer Wanner, Bower, 2021, hand-cut inkjet paper collage on mulberry paper, museum board and photo rag paper

Installation view from BioCurious, featuring Stamen, 2023 by Xiaojing Yan, Hemogllobin,2018 by Daphne Boyer and Bower, 2021 by Jennifer Wanner.

Xiaojing Yan, (detail) Stamen, 2023, wax, cotton thread

Ruth Cuthand, E. coli, Giardia, Typhoid Fever, From the series Don't Breathe, Don't Drink, 2016, glass beads, thread, cloth backing Collection of the University of Saskatchewan. Purchase, 2020

Lisa Hirmer, Atmosphere is Always Still Being Made, 2023, lime, olivine sand, straw, salt, charcoal, miscellaneous debris, eight discs

Maria Simmons, E>A>C>S (Effluence Affluence Collection System), 2023, glass carboys, airlocks, PVC tubing, environmental yeast, white wine yeast, vacuum sealed conservation swabs, 1960s burnt hair product, rust, iron rich clay, sugar, rosehips, Detroit River water, strawberry drink, rooftop moss

Becky Comber, Four Points, 2018—2022, hand-cut photographic prints

Laura St. Pierre, (detail) Propagation Site at Arden Mill (Site de propagation au Moulin Arden), 2020, inkjet on self-adhesive paper

Nicole Clouston, Detroit River Portrait, 2023, 15 polycarbonate tubes, mud, microbes

Laura Magnusson, Blue, 2019, video, 12:00, Cinematography by Liquid Motion Film Production assistance from Pelagic Ventures Scuba

Siku Allooloo, still image from Sprit Emulsion, 2022, Super 8 film hand processed with plant medicines and botanicals, digital video

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