With the swift closure of school in March, many exhibition opportunities for students were either cancelled or postponed indefinitely, including the annual Maureen Studio MFA Exhibition. In its 5th year, the Maureen exhibition showcases the collective work by students in the Studio Arts MFA Program at Concordia University, an exhibition that was organized and curated by current MFA students. After much deliberation from the MFASASA Executive Team whether or not to proceed with this year’s exhibition in an online capacity, the group asked me to organize artists into thematic groups in an online exhibition. As we move forward in what emerges as the post pandemic world, it is necessary to adapt curatorial practice that will reflect the need for online exhibition during times of social distancing and quarantine.
At first, I was skeptical about my ability to group almost 30 different artists into smaller thematic groups, such large-scale student exhibitions are usually divided by discipline and medium. With each artist, their own distinctive style, and their personality into their work, how do I intertwine their artwork and stories into a cohesive narrative that encompasses the entire cohort’s voices? Especially within the limitations of an online space, how do we ensure that we exhibit the artists’ work in an engaging yet accessible way for the audience?
The artists are divided into six distinctive groups: energy/power, history/technology, together/apart, self/body, urban/domestic space, and memories/migration. Each grouping consists of two themes, some are binaries while others are closely associated with each other. Each pairing is tied together to create a dialogue between the artists. At the same time, each grouping is connected to the challenges that COVID-19 has imposed on our artistic practices and creates a response on how to navigate and examine the post-pandemic world.
Founded in 2016, the annual Maureen exhibition showcases work by students in the Studio Arts MFA Program. This exhibition features sculpture, photography, painting, fibres, film and video, intermedia works, and performance. Maureen V presents the diversity of aesthetic forms and lines of inquiry that are cultivated within our various studio practices.
Special thanks to Diane Wong for her role in curating this exhibition.
MFASASA acknowledges that Concordia University is located on unceded Indigenous lands. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and water on which we gather today. Tiohtià:ke/Montréal is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. Today, it is home to a diverse population of Indigenous and other peoples. We respect the continued connections with the past, present and future in our ongoing relationships with Indigenous and other peoples within the Montreal community.