May 17 – June 15, 2024

Studies in Sentience

Biliana Velkova, Erika Mashig, Sunshine Frère

Reception + Artist Talk: Friday, May 17th at 5pm

Embodiment and sense-making are intertwined across this exhibition. Through feeling and sensing in her meditative print-making process, Erika Mashig makes visible the intangible. Through ancient folklore, Bilana Velkova invites us to delve into the past and connect with old creatures whose mythologies that once provided ancient communities with a way of understanding the world and their place within it. Frère’s work exposes the impossibility of living in a bubble, and the challenges of understanding the interconnectivity of our world(s).  

Biliana Velkova’s series, Talasumi, are a suite of iconic paintings featuring mythological creatures from Bulgarian folklore who were used as ways to interpret the unexplainable in ancient times. Drought, storms, weather patterns, circadian rhythms – all became manifest through songs that breathed life into these creatures, their powers, their interactions with each other, and of course, their reactions to human action/inactions. The energy of divination that these creatures provided in the past can still be sensed today as we explore Velkova’s lush paintings. We are drawn into a hypnotic space and mesmerized by the mystical power of the unknown. 

War, famine, climate disaster events, snack-time, work, birth, blue skies, love and cuddles. Humans are messy, and the human condition is difficult to comprehend, capable of great and horrific things. Sunshine Frère’s work represents four months of a year-long survey of the state of her personal world and the collective world. Gathering statistics ranging from the temperature of the ocean and death tolls to the number of screen-time hours and her number of daily steps. Each painting depicts the quotidian accumulation of this data into monthly visualizations. This series entitled trying converts disparate data into ocular eye candy. The artist’s futile attempt to reconcile the macro and micro together as a way to better understand the self, humanity and the world becomes a sensory meditation on colour, pattern, repetition and difference.  

Erika Mashig’s work dives deep into making sense of the self and the world. Approaching this sense-making from a materials based perspective, Mashig works to better understand her memory as she develops imagery based on walks she has taken. She also investigates the qualities of fabric and colour, the fine details of alignment in print pattern development, the intricacies and challenges of carving wood block prints, and her ability to see the inverse or the empty space of the print in order to create the imagery that she desires to produce. Her series of prints on paper and fabric are attempts to reveal what is hidden, be it creative potential, memory, or stories pulled out of the materials she works with.  


About the artists:

Erika Mashig’s work is both representational and abstract, typically drawing on inspiration from landscape. Ranging from highly complex, rich in colour and energy, to bolder and simper shapes, her prints start planned with intention then become more free flowing as the image evolves. Erika loves the process of printmaking, as it is almost like a ritual or mediation. Although each print is unique, the challenge in finding balance between control and serendipity is repeated. From start to finish, reduction printmaking is the build0up of marks to paper that gradually translate to an image… she accepts the results and embraces the unexpected.   

Biliana Velkova’s art practice explores the significance of cultural myths, Eastern European diaspora and storytelling. From surreal dreamscapes, to post-industrial spaces, Velkova’s work conflates opulence, folklore and kitsch. The glossy images are indicative of her fascination with popular culture and storytelling, creating a spectacle from everyday encounters and shifting realities. Through her Slavic lens, Velkova inserts a magical realism narrative by presenting alternative ways of viewing and interpreting a post-collapse reality. 

Sunshine Frère works with Found objects, video, sound, photography, painting, drawing, and printmaking. With significant aesthetic range in her work, each series dovetails into the next, interconnected via the continuous use of devices that expose, obscure and transform. Repetition and Difference are integral elements within her practice. Frère uses her practice as a way of investigating climate change, consumerism and capitalism, the absurd, the beauty of collapse, and the grotesqueness of progress.