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Installation of "Drift: Art and Dark Matter" at Carleton University Art Gallery. Photo credit: Justin Wonnacott

Carleton University Art Gallery warms up winter with two art exhibitions

By Shireen Agharazi-Dormani on March 9, 2022




February blessed us with –20°C weather and people fighting for “freedom.” (Did I say blessed? I meant cursed. Valentine’s Day sure doesn’t love us, huh?) With both of those two things thankfully gone, we’ve got something for you to enjoy out of the house this month.

From Feb. 15 to April 3, 2022, Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) presents two winter exhibitions: Drift: Art and Dark Matter and Steve Giasson as Others/Steve Giasson comme les autres.

Drift: Art and Dark Matter installation at Carleton University Art Gallery. Photo: Justin Wonnacott.

Curated by Sunny Kerr, Drift: Art and Dark Matter was created by artists Nadia Lichtig, Josèfa Ntjam, Anne Riley, and Jol Thoms. In 2019, they worked with physicists, chemists, and engineers who are contributing to the search for dark matter: something invisible, with a gravitational effect on everything. This all took place at SNOLAB’s underground facility in Sudbury, two kilometres below the Earth’s surface.

Through their interactions with scientists, the artists have created a sculpture, installation, textile, and video that appear as multi-sensory representations searching for knowledge of dark matter.

Part of this exhibition has an audio recording that you can download from their website.

Drift: Art and Dark Matter installation at Carleton University Art Gallery. Photo: Justin Wonnacott.

Artist Louise Lawler said that art is a “collaboration with what came before you and what comes after you.” The other exhibition’s title, Steve Giasson as Others/Steve Giasson comme les autres, is inspired by her book, Louise Lawler and Others.

For the works in this exhibition, curated by Jean-Michel Quirion, Steve Giasson uses the tradition of tableaux vivant to re-stage and execute self-portrait photographs made by other artists, using disguises and props. The Montreal-based artist also chose artists who either use citation in their work, have influenced him, or felt essential to his project.

Giasson’s captivating and comical portraits not only pay homage but also examine ideas of “the artist” and of singular authorship, as well as exploring acts of performance and their documentation. His work draws on the past while compiling his place in the present. There are audio recordings for each of his works on CUAG’s website.

Steve Giasson as Others / Steve Giasson comme les autres installation at Carleton University Art Gallery. Photo: Steve Giasson (assisted by Martin Vinette), retouched by M.A. Marleau.

“There’s something unsettling about the way his gaze wanders past me and into the real space of the gallery, as though something were looking behind,” says the audio when describing “Steve Giasson as Andy Warhol as a Clown.” “The monotone palette of the image, dark vest, crisp white dress shirt, skinny tie, milky complexion, and wispy salt-and-pepper hair is broken by a perfectly spherical red, plastic nose. The elastic holding it onto Giasson’s face creases his thin skin, enhancing the overall look of concern. Or is it sadness?”

(Fair warning: A few of his works involve nudity.)

If you want to go see these works of art, you need to be fully vaccinated, so be sure to bring your vaccine passport and a piece of ID. Once you’re in, you must wear a mask the entire time. CUAG hours are Tuesday–Sunday from 12–5 pm. 

You can pre-book a one-hour time slot for your visit through Eventbrite or by calling (613) 520-2120 during open hours. Admission is free.