Nuit Blanche Eve 2021
Nuit Blanche Eve is an all-ages contemporary art event that magically transforms your immediate environment through Augmented Reality. Nuit Blanche Eve 2022, a partnership between Nuit Blanche Saskatoon and Shared Spaces, features 16 Augmented Reality artworks created by 12 USask students: Alleah Bowring, Gabrielle Da Silva, Eva Francis-Work, Jesse Fulcher Gagnon, Rod Goertzen, Elizabeth Laidlaw, Danya Lawton, Chantelle Matkowski, Athena Ni, Leanne Read, Milzedrich Salcedo, and Ming Zhang. For more information about the artists and artworks, please see their artist bios and statements below.
Alleah Bowring: What Once Was
Alleah Bowring is a Saskatoon based artist currently pursuing a double honours degree in studio art and psychology through the University of Saskatchewan with a focus in art therapy. Her art practice is multifaceted in its approach, combining many interests and mediums such as painting, clay, and printmaking within the digital realm. Tying together her interests of psychology and art, her work aims to create a visceral experience that reminds us of our connections to nature and each other.
“What Once Was”, involves three balloons, each encompassing past memories and felt emotions bound to them. The strings serve as a reminder of the ties to these locations, the connections we make, and the holds that bind us to the past. The cast away balloons are a symbol of fond memories but also of things forgotten. Placed out in nature, they serve as a reminder of the environmental impact balloons possess of touching down in discarded places. The images on each surface were collected from community members of Saskatoon, and connect us through the shared locations of our experiences. The heart balloon symbolizes personal relationships. The dark photos echo the loneliness and isolation that people have felt during the pandemic, and the strains on relationships. The classic-shaped balloon represents the time we’ve spent enjoying the outdoors during sunny nurturing days. The last balloon reminds us of hope and community. The scattering of the surfaces represents the idea of fragmented memories, broken and scattered. Have fun walking around the balloons to see them as a cohesive object.
Gabrielle Da Silva: Growth Will Not Be Restricted
Gabby Da Silva is a student artist fascinated with the collaboration between digital and physical mediums. In her work, Gabby strongly focuses on the internal contrast, often achieved through layering images and spoken word. As for her interest in video art, Gabby credits her parents' love of referencing classic movies; however, it was only after she took a few university courses in video art and animation that she noticed her true passion for mixed media. Once committed to a project it is hard to get her to stop and take a break, especially after a critique which she uses as motivation to help push her forward. Gabby is an old soul and dreamer. She believes in possibility, love, and holding on for another day. And as someone who has struggled with mental health disorders, Gabby strongly believes in mental health support. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Gabby still loves her hometown, and is currently in her final year BFA at the University of Saskatchewan. She is constantly finding new ways to express herself and her surroundings throughout her work.
Fall 2017 I began university, with nothing but uncertainty ahead of me, yet I always found myself walking toward this space. No matter rain or shine, in my path, or out of the way, this space called to me. Comforted me. Grounded me. And suddenly, just by constantly walking through this space, I found a piece of myself. It is here that I continued to wander to my every class, until I got diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder (FND) in 2018. FND brought me anxiety, slurred speech, very limited mobility; and just like that, my hidden pathway had become greatly inaccessible to me.
Fast-forward to 2021, I still have FND; however, I have learnt how to live again without letting it knock me down. And, as I enter the final year of my BFA, I have nothing but certainty ahead of me; always growing, always changing, I have grounded myself, but it all started here, with this space.
Eva Francis-Work: Adventure Pack
Eva Francis-Work is a multi-disciplinary artist with a love of all things digital and printmaking. Currently she is based in Saskatoon and in her final year of her BFA program at the University of Saskatchewan. Having recently completed a psychology degree at Usask as well, her passion for art and psychology bleed into one another with a focus on personal experience as inspiration.
The concept for this piece is based in memories from my childhood, I was always encouraged to explore, be creative, and to be independent. I carried this little backpack that I called my adventure pac, it was filled with all sorts of odds and ends that my kid brain thought would be perfect for survival. I want this project to convey a calmness and mystery. The figure is very neutral with no true features, the backpack is where the magic is, I want those who go close to the figure to see what is inside, get to be surprised by the odd little trinkets!
Jesse Fulcher Gagnon: You are what you eat.
Jesse Fulcher Gagnon is a multi-disciplinary artist who’s life in theatre and love for chips collide in the visual arts realm and his current pursuit of an MFA at the University of Saskatchewan.
You are what you eat.
An expression that seduces us with the possibility of being a Peach instead of a Potato Chip.
As though our body is not only influenced by what we consume,
but a fully realized
of our internal assimilations:
A ‘made by food’ creation.
You are what you eat.
But what does that make us if the things we eat aren’t real?
“You are what you eat.” is an island grocery store section intended to infiltrate other non-virtual grocery stores- a digital addition to what is already there. Combining food, slime, and flesh in hybrid forms the items filling this sections shelves ask us to consider what we are putting in our bodies.
Do we know what we are eating?
If we don’t know what we are eating,
do we know what we are?
Rod Goertzen: Paper Airplane Express
Rod Goertzen is a mult-disciplinary artist working in the intersections of printmaking, drawing, painting, digital media, life and his current pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Saskatchewan. Influenced by the nature and properties of matter and energy from Physics, he considers how the act of art making relates to ways of knowing and being. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
“Paper Airplanes Express” challenges the monotony of thinking that tossing paper airplanes is only for the chronologically youthful.
I think of art making as an invitation for taking an expedition to make what seems unknown known. The University of Saskatchewan Thorvaldson Building, Airplane Room #271 (Henry Taube Lecture Theatre), has that beckoning call. It contains a tradition of more than 60 years where students toss paper planes at the ceiling. The hope is for their airplane to stick in the soft acoustical material that lines the ceiling.
I see an addition of AR airplanes to the ‘Thorvaldson’ experience as facilitating dialogue with this tradition. The hope is for the AR planes to engage the static physical airplanes to take flight to relive their dreams once again. The installation is an invitation for us to revisit past acts of innocence, and to renew our energy and commitment to pursue dreams and aspirations which may have fallen still or silent. I hope my work invites other minds to similarly engage the space in new ways.
Elizabeth Laidlaw: Untitled
Elizabeth Laidlaw is finishing her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Saskatchewan and has been taking some of her elective classes in the Digital and Integrated Practice (DIP) Area in the Department of Art & Art History.
The concept I am trying to represent is a statue that does not want to be looked at. The statue is imposing and is located in a very public space, but appears to be shy. It is animated it so that the statue changes position as the viewer walks around it; it tries to hide its face and turns away. I thought it would be amusing to have a statue that draws people in but doesn't like the attention. The statue is meant to be imposing in contrast with how meek it is.
Danya Lawton: An Endless Dance
Danya is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Saskatoon, currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Saskatchewan. Primarily she has focused on traditional art but has recently been exploring digital media, specifically animation.
It all started when I wanted to represent people’s relationships with others and with themselves. Both arms are ever circling each other, continuously coiling and uncoiling, again and again; this explores the moments in relationships where just as there are instances of great intimacy, there are times of distance even in one’s relationship with themself. The use of orange and blue further represents the two extremes, and the gradient effect encompasses the moments in between. Lastly, as it is ever repeating, it acts as a reminder that since people are social creatures, we’ll never be able to escape the cycle truly.
The original inspiration for this specific piece is the personal experience of the beginning and eventual end of a relationship while walking underneath the CPR Bridge and countless moments of introspection. As most people can relate to experiencing the highs and lows present in any relationship, most can relate to some aspect of this piece.
Chantelle Matkowski: Alternative Perspective
Chantelle Matkowski recently graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Degree. She mainly focuses on the media of film photography but also includes painting, animation, and videography within her art practices. Chantelle’s artwork is inspired by the natural landscapes within Saskatchewan and with that combines experimentation with different techniques and mediums to create an unexpected and new perspective of the environments that are often overlooked.
This project is an abstract single sculpture that is placed into a space where I wanted to enhance the features of the nature that is already existing within the area. Each cube has a photograph of a common characteristic from the natural environment, in this case, clouds, grass and trees. Each photo cube is layered with another photo cube creating a new perspective further developing the idea of the abstraction of nature.
Each side of the cubes have different lighting, all the colors of the lights are taken from the color palettes of the photographs which are blue, green, and yellow, and depending on the angle the lights either enhance the natural color of the photo or contrast creating a new viewing experience of that photograph. With this project I wanted the audience to come out with the experience of having to take a moment and absorb the individual parts of the natural environment that you might ignore if you are just walking by, but also encounter the abstraction that was created for a whole new experience within that environment.
Athena Ni: The Drift of Yù
Athena Ni is a Canadian-born Chinese artist, who is currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Saskatchewan. Through her art, she explores her own cultural identity in aims to share with others.
“The Drift of Yù” represents the movement of culture because much like people, culture also travels. Athena’s family was the inspiration behind this project because of how her mother’s family immigrated to Canada in hopes of starting a better life. The jade boat represents not only the physical movement of culture and tradition from one place to another but through generations as well—as jade is often passed down in Chinese families. The dragon and koi fishes decorating the boat references the Chinese waterfall legend—a koi fish transforms into a golden dragon after swimming against the water current and up a waterfall even though many obstacles were thrown in its way. This legend is integrated into the boat’s theme because while many immigrant families learn to adapt to an unfamiliar environment, they are forced to face obstacles such as language barriers, racism, poverty, and more.
Leanne Read: The Tornado Named Covid
Leanne Read is currently working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has developed a passion for animation and digital art. Leanne is presently working as a studio production assistant on a project called Natures of Reality with Prof. Lisa Birke. She has also been selected by Global Waters Futures to create an animation as part of a social media initiative to bring awareness of water security issues to the general public. Leanne is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards from the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a recent awardee of the Prince Edward Arts Scholarship from SK Arts.
“The Tornado named COVID” is an augmented reality sculpture inspired by the sense of loss felt when the University of Saskatchewan campus shut down suddenly as COVID-19 hit. The grassy area at the center of campus, known as the Bowl, that once flourished with activity was suddenly eerily quiet. The tornado resembles how fast the virus’s impact hit the campus, abruptly and without warning. The items in the tornado represent the activities that were once prevalent in the Bowl. This sculpture is meant to evoke an emotional response to the loss. Simultaneously, it exudes a hopeful and celebratory mood, as the storm will pass and things will return to normal.
Milzedrich Salcedo: Cycles of the Memories
Milzedrich Salcedo has interests in different forms of art, visual arts, graphic arts, and literature arts. He is currently a student in University of Saskatchewan majoring in Studio Arts.
My piece represents that life is, a cycle. As you can see, it is mainly focused on people. Moreover, I specifically chose a Ferris wheel because similar to this ride there are certain moments in our lives where we are at the top but sometimes, we are at the bottom. There will be times when we are full of joy and excitement but there will also be times when things need to come to an end. For instance, people come into our lives for a reason. With these people, you can create so many memories. However, we need to understand that sometimes our relationship with them may soon also become just a memory because their purpose is only to teach us a lesson, but they are not meant to stay. Thus, life isn’t all about rainbows and sunshine. It can be difficult and challenging too. In the end, we just have to learn how to enjoy the ride.
Ming Zhang: Dream
Ming Zhang is completing her Bachelors of Fine Arts (Honours) degree in the Department of Art & Art History. She has been taking many of the classes offered in the Digital and Integrated Practice (DIP) Area here at the University of Saskatchewan.
This is a very hard year, because of the pandemic, everyone's life and mood have been affected. I haven't been with my family for two years. My little sister even thought I was the older sister who lived on the phone. This is the first time I have been away from my family for such a long time. This work records my inner feelings in this environment. The experience of COVID-19 has made me realize how much I love my family and how important they are to me. The prototype of this work is the mother's womb. I have thought of becoming a baby and returning to my mother's womb more than once due to the pressures of life. The blossoms symbolize my mother and the clouds symbolize the warmth in the family, but their materials are all delicate glass like in my dreams. It is a safe house where I can escape from reality, and there is no pressure, no responsibility or worry about the future; only the love of my mother and family surrounded me.
About Nuit Blanche Eve
Nuit Blanche Eve is a collaboration between the University of Saskatchewan (Department of Art and Art History, Canadian Light Source, Observatory, Museum of Natural Sciences, Museum of Antiquities, and USask Art Galleries) and Nuit Blanche Saskatoon. Nuit Blanche Eve at the University Of Saskatchewan is made possible by the support of the USask Art Galleries, the Department of Art and Art History and Nuit Blanche Saskatoon. Held for the first time in 2019, Nuit Blanche Eve transformed various locations across the University of Saskatchewan campus into interactive and digital art installations. Locations included the USask Observatory, Museum of Natural Sciences, Museum of Antiquities, USask Art Galleries, and the Arts Tower.