Pile On by Steve deBruyn / Friday 12 May 2017

Pile On > Steve deBruyn

Show Room Gallery at NAC
Opening Reception / Friday 12 May 2017 at 7PM

READ THE REVIEW by NAC Member Bart Gazzola HERE

On display until Saturday 22 July

An installation of large proportions, rooted in the abandonment of traditional approaches to art making.


Scenes from Late Capitalism: Nathan Heuer > Friday 15 July 2016

Scenes from Late Capitalism
Nathan Heuer
Opening Reception Friday 15 July 2016 7PM
Show Room Gallery at NAC

My work is largely concerned with the role of architecture in society as a symbol of cultural values and history.  Architecture represents a significant investment of time, resources, and design knowledge, and while we celebrate this fact in the achievements of our celebrity architects, we are less apt to acknowledge the achievement inherent in our more utilitarian structures.  The American landscape, in fact, is full of contemporary ruins of factories, hotels, schools, and other architecture that has fallen by the wayside in an aggressively consumerist society.  Each of these abandoned structures forms the nucleus of a small narrative, often one of lost livelihoods, budgetary cuts, and dying industries.   

I choose to decontextualize the subject of each drawing, removing the structure from its surroundings and isolating it on a white ground.  This aesthetic decision is intended to echo the fragmentary picture of history that we are presented with in a museum, where isolated artifacts are meant to tell us the story of an unfamiliar culture.  I use mechanical perspective as a means of meditating on the design process that went into the commonplace structures that I depict.  Perspective is not only a visualization tool employed by architects, but it is also a process that helps me to fundamentally understand the space that I am depicting.  It is my hope that through these drawings viewers will reconsider the deeper cultural significance of these structures and the ramifications of the intensive capitalism that shapes contemporary American life.

– Nathan Heuer






What About Rodman Hall? Friday 1 April 9PM

What About Rodman Hall?
A Group Show by Members of the Niagara Artists Centre
Opening Reception > Friday 1 April 9PM at NAC

Gregory Betts, Marcie Bronson, Brittany Brooks, Sandy Fairbairn, Geoff Farnsworth, Alexa Fraser, Janny Fraser, Amy Friend, Will Griffiths, Joe Harris, Marinko Jareb, Duncan MacDonald, Melanie MacDonald, Kate Mazi, Sandy Middleton, Ben Mosher, Catherine Parayre, Carrie Perreault, St. Catharines Arts & Letters Club, Donna Szőke, Matthew Tegal, Amber Lee Williams, Carolyn Wren

As an art gallery, Rodman Hall’s place in the consciousness of our community has fluctuated over its fifty-five-year history. The gallery has at times been a proud emblem of civic health and an indicator of our collective progress, while at other times it has been misunderstood and purposefully marginalized.

The history of the Niagara Artists Centre and Rodman Hall are intertwined. Rodman Hall’s founding curator and director, Peter Harris, was one of NAC’s founding sixteen members. NAC also made an early home in the Coach House on the grounds of Rodman.

The place of the Rodman Hall Art Centre in our community is once again the subject of deliberation. Brock University, which in 2003 pledged to be the sole operator of the art gallery for twenty years, is now reconsidering the terms of its supporting role.

Why is it that our community leaders have not always recognized the value of having a strong, well-resourced public or university art gallery like Rodman Hall?

NAC circulated a call for submissions to our visual artist members in search of ideas about these and other questions around Rodman Hall, an organization mandated to support the development of artists and cultural workers in southern Ontario, as well as to provide art experiences to enrich peoples’ lives.

A large and diverse collection of art work has been assembled for the exhibit. Some of it is obviously aimed at creating controversy; all of it is thoughtfully created and provocative.
NAC invites the public to join with the artists on Friday 1 April at 9PM (April 1st is NAC Day in St. Catharines as decreed by former Mayor Joe McCaffery) to explore questions and issues surrounding the role of Rodman Hall in our community and the possible future of the centre.

Excelsior! 1975-2015: A survey of forty years of artwork by Dave Gordon on display until Saturday 28 November

Excelsior! 1975-2015:
A survey of forty years of artwork by Dave Gordon
Opening Reception Saturday 29 August 2015 7PM

A survey of forty years of artwork, Excelsior! 1975-2015 is a testament to working in the ‘wilderness’. The paintings of Dave Gordon are idiosyncratic, humorous and above all display a perceptive eye to out surroundings: woodpiles outside a cabin, figures metaphorically “lost” in the wilderness and farcical political portraits—including many provincial and national politicians.  Especially incisive are a series of works produced during the bitter Mike Harris years (those aforementioned “lost years”), a perverse take on the Group of Seven, and a recent body of work documenting Gordon’s travels to Syria. In rejecting the spurious intellectualism of Conceptual art, Gordon found a way to document the local in a very personal manner. The works are simultaneously pastoral and political, finding solace in the landscape. 

Dave Gordon was born in London, Ontario and has been active in artist-run activities since the early 1970s. When the 20/20 Gallery closed in 1970, he and Jamelie Hassan founded the Polyglot Gallery in a local bookstore, and both helped establish the Forest City Gallery. In the mid 1970s, Gordon relocated from London to Kingston and in this new setting helped establish the Kingston Artists’ Association, Inc. / Modern Fuel Artist-run Centre in 1977; his support for artists’ rights and artistic responsibility have been wide acknowledged, often overshadowing his artistic practice which continues to develop in compelling ways.

Dave Gordon’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Museum London, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canada Council Art Bank, The MacIntosh Gallery, Agnes Etherington Art Centre – Queens University, and numerous private collections across Canada. He has participated in the International Print Exhibition at the Taller Cultural Centre in Santiago de Cuba in 2012, and the exhibition subsequently traveled to Havana and four Canadian venues. 

Generously supported by Shannon Passero, Excelsior! 1975-2015 will also travel to Niagara Artists’ Centre (St. Catharines) and Forest City Gallery (London).


[accelerate] art as game as machine
Show Room Gallery at NAC
Reception + Artist Talks
Saturday 28 March 2015 7PM | DJ Marinko

Featuring work by
Hannah Epstein (Pittsburg/Halifax)
Brian Kent Gotro (Toronto/Vancouver)
William Robinson (Montréal)
Andrew Roth (Niagara)

Curated by
Julia Polyck-O’Neill

21st Century Aesthetics:

the blurring of boundaries between the digital and the real, between algorithms and desire, between capitalism and existence, between video games and visual art forms

how have progress narratives infiltrated consciousness?
how have imposed systems and received ideas become pervasive in our thinking and dreaming? and how can we emancipate ourselves?

is it through subversion, inversion, conversion, immersion, diversion, perversion?

the works included in this exhibition propose new narratives, micro and macro, aesthetic, affective, and conceptual, to illustrate how we might seek to understand our position in the contemporary zeitgeist

[d]igitality is with us. It is that which haunts all the messages, all the signs of our societies. The most concrete form you see it in is that of the test, of the question/answer, of the stimulus/response. All content is neutralized by a continual procedure of directed interrogation, of verdicts and ultimatums to decode (Baudrillard, “The Orders of Simulacra”, 115)

what is art? what is a machine? what is a game?
[accelerate] is art as game as machine.
come play.

UNIVERSAL REMOTE: An Interactive Installation by Donna Akrey

An Interactive Installation
Donna Akrey

Opening reception Saturday 21 February 2015 at 3pm

Universal Remote is built to engage the public and encourage collaboration. The installation asks the viewers to take the controls and to consider from a closer perspective-the movement of the landscape (be it urban, suburban, industrial, abstract) and their hand in it—even if imaginary. It also revels in the chaos, beauty and possibilities of the spaces we live in.

Suggested are questions and concerns about our use of land, the displacement of the natural landscape, our obsession with borders, mass productions, the continued influx of suburban development, waste and our (at times) passive, armchair view of the world.

The word remote means both the idea of place and the idea of chance. This installation/performance will hopefully be an opportunity to explore this collaboratively with the public in St. Catharines.


Skawennati: Time Traveller™


Indigenous Futurist mini-series TimeTraveller™
by Skawennati
Thursday 6 November at 8PM

Time Traveller™
TimeTraveller™ is a multiplatform project that includes a website (www.TimeTravellerTM.com), a nine-episode machinima series, a set of digital prints, and a prototype action figure. Together they tell the story of Hunter, an angry young Mohawk man living in the twenty-second century. Despite his impressive range of traditional skills as hunter, warrior, and ironworker, Hunter is unable to find his way in an overcrowded, hyperconsumerist, technologized world.  In an act of desperate clarity, he has decided to use his edutainment system—his TimeTraveller™—to embark on a technologically enhanced vision quest that immerses him in historical events significant to First Nations, such as the Dakota Sioux Uprising, the Oka Crisis and the occupation of Alcatraz Island. Along the way, he meets Karahkwenhawi, a young Mohawk woman from our time, who also gets a pair of TimeTraveller™ glasses. Together they criss-cross time and Turtle Island, discovering the complexity of history, and of truth itself.

Recently shortlisted for the inaugural National Media Arts Prize, Skawennati, a 2011 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow, is recognized as a pioneering New Media artist. Her art, addressing history, the future, and change, has been widely exhibited across Turtle Island in exhibitions such as Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years and Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3 and is currently being presented in the Montreal Bienniale. Her work in is included in the collections of the Canada Art Bank, Edd J. Guarino, and the Aboriginal Art Centre at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, among others.

Born in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Skawennati graduated with a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. A founding member of the First Nations artist collective, Nation to Nation, she currently sits on the board at Galerie Oboro. She is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, (AbTeC) a research network of artists, academics and technologists investigating, creating and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments. Please visit www.skawennati.com to see more.



Honeymoon Suites or By-the-Week: Motel Culture of Niagara
Photographs by Oliver Pauk and Zach Slootsky
Installation by NAC Members Adam Buller and Katie Webb of Brain Kite

On display from Saturday 21 June – Saturday 4 October
Closing Reception and film screening Saturday 4 October 8PM

Check out some of the videos below and visit our VIMEO page to see the rest!

He is Risen by Suitcase in Point Theatre Company

Simply Different by NAC’s Summer Media Camp

NOIR by Kevin Hobbs and Monica Dufault

Gysin Motel by Gregory Betts, Duncan MacDonald, Arnold McBay and Benjamin Miskuka


Niagara Artists Centre
[NO] VACANCY Film Festival
Making stories of motels and life on the road

Calling filmmakers, media artists, performers, musicians, motel lovers!

[NO] VACANCY, an installation in the Niagara Artists Centre’s Show Room Gallery celebrates Niagara’s motel culture.

It has been created so that NAC members can shoot film works using the installation as a series of sets to evoke motel culture. The installations, created by Niagara Falls’ art collective Brainkite, and featuring contemporary photography by Oliver Pauk and Zach Slootsky, are available for use by NAC Members between Wednesday and Saturday from 12 noon until 4PM beginning Wednesday 30 July and ending Friday 19 September. Completed videos must be submitted to NAC by Wednesday 24 September.

Create work for any or all of the vignettes installed in the gallery:

  • A completely furnished motel room with a functional coin-operated vibrating bed and luxurious heart shaped hot-tub;
  • A 60s era station wagon with a rear-projected moving landscape 
  • An outdoor swimming pool with lawn furniture and diving board

Participating artists will have access to the wide range of video making equipment listed here. All submitted films must be no longer than ten minutes.

A jury will select films to be screened on Saturday 4 October followed by a reception. CARFAC recommended artist-fees will be paid to selected artists or groups.

For more information or to schedule your session contact Natasha Pedros at natasha@nac.org.




Your Face Arrived: Video Work by Mike Hoolboom

Your Face Arrived
Video Work by Mike Hoolboom at the Niagara Artists Centre
On display in the Show Room from Friday 4 April – June 2014
Special screening at 7:30PM Friday 4 April, with artist Q&A and reception to follow 


The Niagara Artists Centre is proud to be exhibiting the work of preeminent Canadian experimental filmmaker Mike Hoolboom. At a time when documentaries such as How To Survive a Plague and features such as Dallas Buyers Club seem intent on creating a summary of the AIDS pandemic for history’s shelves, Mike Hoolboom presents films spanning twenty years that are inimitably humourous, heartbreaking, and profoundly affecting.

Your Face Arrived brings two deeply personal, multi-award winning AIDS movies into conversation. Frank’s Cock was made in the heat of the plague years, fueled by Callum Keith Rennie’s blood perfect monologue, it won a Golden Leopard in Locarno and was named the best Canadian short at the Toronto International Festival. Twenty years later, Buffalo Death Mask convenes a laughter-filled hauntology between film artist Mike Hoolboom and Canadian art genius Stephen Andrews. Winner of the FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) Award in Oberhausen, as well as awards in Zagreb, Ann Arbor, and Bucharest.

“For more than two decades Mike Hoolboom has been one of our foremost artistic witnesses of the plague of the twentieth century, HIV. A personal voice documenting and piercing the clichéd spectrum of Living With AIDS from carnal abjection to incandescent spirituality, no surviving moving image visionary surpasses him. Buffalo Death Mask is a three-part meditation — visual, oral and haptic, both campy and ecstatic — on survival, mourning, memory, love and community. A conversation between Hoolboom and visual artist Stephen Andrews, both long time survivors of the retrovirus, floats over what seems to be a dream of Toronto and some of its ghosts. No one savours the intimations of immortality inherent in recycled footage like Mike, no one else understands how processed Super 8 can answer the question ‘Why are we still here when so many are gone?’
             – Tom Waugh, film scholar

A Statement by the Artist Mike Hoolboom
The AIDS crisis asked each of us so many questions, including: what is my body? This illness was not like other afflictions or viruses that would be hosted inside the body for a time, this was an illness that had come to stay. Am I the AIDS virus? Where does my body stop and the virus begin? In Buffalo Death Mask a hand reaches into light to pose similar questions about perimeters, boundaries, separations. What is not this body? What does this body not contain? What could possibly be separate from it, now that it has been touched and stained and reconceived by this ingenious virus, that has linked so many of us around the world in a common cause of sorts, as if we were all parts of one body. Is the hand reaching out trying to escape its fate, its status as a hand that has AIDS, that is AIDS? Is it a hand reaching out to other hands, in solidarity, or a hand longing to touch, for one more kiss, as Jarman says with such solemn lightness in his AIDS memoir Blue.

Each of these movies tries to extend the AIDS narrative into non-positive faces and spaces, wider circles of acquaintances are also part of the story being told. The movies offer bodies that do not stop at the skin, but open to become memory, language, shared experience, affect. I am your mouth when I taste the food you make. I am your back up hard drive recall for a night when you were too staggered to put the pieces together. The self reappears as a social body, as a collection of pieces, a collective memory. The cocktail that allowed some of us to survive insisted: you only live twice. And this second life was also the living memory our bodies held for each other, not the promise of a more perfect future, but a past engraved in every cell and tissue. We knew exactly how many faces it took to create an audience. To bear witness. When your face arrived.


Recent Paintings by David Elliott
On display from 5 October – 21 December
Opening Reception Saturday 5 October at 2pm

The ideal act of love is to contain all.
– John Berger

Artists take the stuff of the world and rearrange it to create a parallel universe. In a way, the creative process is as simple as that & as complicated. What is important is the dimension of that newly created universe. I don’t mean the actual height or width of a painting (although it is a factor) but rather the quality of cosmic space that has been created. Where do we travel to, emotionally or spiritually, when we are transported by a work of art? I would say everywhere at once and nowhere at all. A place that remains essentially mysterious, while at the same time seeming to hold all our imagined truths.

For over thirty years I have used collage as a way of sifting through the world and rearranging it. Recently I have been assembling these collages in small foam-core boxes, arranging printed paper and cardboard elements in a stage-like fashion. These maquettes are then photographed under various lighting conditions, and the resulting image transferred to canvas in paint. There is a heightened degree of illusionism in these new paintings with the shallow perspective of the box & the cast shadows rendered as meticulously as possible. There is also a playfulness involving scale & the verisimilitude of the trompe l’oeil technique & the obvious artificiality of the project. For instance, I enjoy rendering the rough edges of the cut paper so that the sophisticated realism of a painted element is immediately seen in the context of a small scrap of paper casually pasted onto a piece of cardboard. The paintings are therefore both convincingly real & obviously a sham.

I come from a world of plenty. Mom grew up on a farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake & even though Dad couldn’t tell a daisy from a petunia, somehow some of that farm culture always seemed present in our lives. We knew the seasons for various fruit & vegetables. We used to help Mom make preserves. I remember the look & the smell of pears studded with cloves in Mason jars. There was only one painting in our house, a picture of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church that my Mom did as a girl. There were also stenciled fruit & flora on some of our antique furniture, as well as small embroideries with maxims about friendship, kindness & gardens. At Grandpa Cooper’s farm there was an old weathered picture of fruit, framed & under glass that hung in the kitchen. I guess I’ve always liked the tradition of still life painting as a microcosm of the world, from Dutch vanitas to James Rosenquist’s Pop mash-ups. In the way they are conceived & assembled, all my paintings are in some ways still life arrangements. I try to maintain the individual, sacred ‘isness’ or ‘itness’ of things much like an elementary school primer or an encyclopedia. This is in some ways easy since each element is indeed cut from a separate piece of paper. The cat is a cat, the apple is an apple, a clock is a clock, almost comically so. Then like a cabinet of curiosities or a horn of plenty, they are put in concert with each other, sometimes on tabletops like a conventional still life, sometimes like interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces, sometimes with the elements simply lined up like toy soldiers or books on a mantelpiece.   Hopefully the interplay between elements creates a level of revelation & magic.

It’s been 40 years since I last showed in Niagara. My first exhibition was right here in St. Catharines at Rodman Hall’s Annual Ontario Jury show in 1972. I presented a picture called Dad’s Sweater of my father eating an ice cream cone. His favorite flavor was Maple Walnut. This show is dedicated to him with love.

 – From the Artist’s Statement