March 4 – April 9, 2022
The Art Incubator Gallery
Paper Thin Walls is an ongoing series of paintings and drawings that explores moments of empathy and love in the midst of ecological grief. This body of work articulates an interest in symbiotic associations, as well as a desire to explore materiality in a way that hints at a loss of control. Recognizing that the climate is constantly in flux, and witnessing that our worlds are becoming more unfamiliar, we are confronted with experiences of isolation and bereavement. As Donna Haraway states in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, “Grief is a path to understanding entangled and shared living and dying; human beings must grieve with, because we are in and of this fabric of undoing” (39). By welcoming the difficulties of loss within my work, I strive to have a deeper comprehension of what tenderness and empathy look like in the face of uncertainty and crisis. The narratives in my paintings do not end in dread but convey a hope for genuine connection as a way to soothe distress.
The surreal nature of these paintings and drawings reflect the anxieties caused by losing a sense of “normalcy” and control in our day to day. In my work, I create plant and animal hybrids in imaginary ecosystems. The spaces I render are immersive, brutal, and glow with radioactive colors. Trickling throughout these environments are fusions of microbial fungal systems and spineless sea creatures. They’re representative of the wonders and terrors of symbiotic entanglements, and craft ambiguous narratives centred around these relationships. While developing these stories, I allow the paint to bleed and seep past the edges of the canvas. The ripples cause the creatures to melt, blurring boundaries between body and a sweltering world. As they navigate their surroundings, I imagine that the hybrids are trying to satisfy a deep craving for connection, but may not know how. They embody both apprehension and tenderness while retaining their vulnerability. As they awkwardly grab, suckle, and nestle into one another, they try to fulfill their needs for safety and solace.
Anica Neiman (she/her) is an emerging visual artist and recent BFA graduate from the University of Alberta. She is currently living in amiskwaciwâskahikan/ Edmonton and is maintaining an active studio practice outside of school. Presently, she is teaching at the Nina Haggerty Center and is running an art program in partnership with Skills Society and the YMCA.
In her practice, she uses painting to navigate her own feelings of self love, existential dread, and empathy. Her work explores the wonders and terrors of symbiotic entanglements and a desire for connection in the midst of grief. Most recently, Anica has shown her work in Dy3scorpia About Light in Edmonton. She also participated in Mitchell Art Gallery’s 2020 Mentorship Exchange Program, and has exhibited in group shows such as Incidental Folds with SNAP Gallery, and Schmoozy 2020 at Latitude 53.
Opening Performance Friday, March 4th, at 7 pm
In the spirit of collaboration and support, Harcourt House has partnered with the Edmonton’s vibrant contemporary experimental music and dance community to inaugurate a collaborative pilot project with the launch of this special performance. The opening night will feature a presentation of music for solo violin by two internationally renowned Canadian contemporary composers: an Alberta-born and New York-based Erin Rogers and her composition “The Shape of Things” and Piotr Grella-Mozejko (pron. Pyotr Grella-Mozheyko), an Edmonton-based Canadian-Polish composer and multi-media performer and his composition “Kristall-Traum III: Musik für Aleksandra B.”. Their compositions musically delineate the shapes of the forms of the works in the exhibitions and perfectly align with the character of both shows. Both compositions for solo violin will be performed by Tatiana Warszynski, a Canadian-Polish violinist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and a former concertmaster of the Edmonton Chamber Players. Tatiana’s performance will be animated by a very impressive choreography/dance by Marynia Fekecz, a Polish-born and Edmonton-based choreographer and dancer. Harcourt House is grateful to Erin Rogers and Piotr Grella-Mozejko for a generous donation of their composers’ honoraria to Harcourt House in support of this pilot project.
Top Image: Parameters II (detail) oil, acrylic, and cold wax on unstretched canvas, 2020
Image courtesy of the artist