Curator Jesse Birch speaks at Oxygen.
Oxygen Art Centre is pleased to welcome and present curator Jesse Birch (Nanaimo Art Gallery) for the Masterclass Series. The public are invited to attend Birch’s talk titled Context Matters on Friday, March 13 at 7 pm to learn about Birch’s curatorial practice as it has evolved in the small rural community of Nanaimo, BC.
Birch states, “In my practice as a curator, I am deeply committed to context responsive work, which involves engaging with forgotten or under-recognized sites and histories, empowering those whose stories are often not heard and celebrating diverse forms of expression.” As such, Birch’s practice is highly collaborative in order to develop thematic exhibitions that are at once engaging in critical discourse and accessibility.
Birch notes that “this approach began [in Nanaimo] with a trilogy of projects relating to the resource industries that the city was built on.” For example, exhibitions such as Black Diamond Dust (2014), Silva/The Mill (2015/16) and Landfall and Departure (2017/18) all respond to the regional context of resource extraction through exhibition-led projects.
These exhibitions “were expansive on and off-site projects that set Nanaimo in international dialogue through contemporary art. These projects evidenced the value of sustained engagement with themes relevant to our community through larger, more diverse and more engaged audiences.” In addition to the exhibitions, Black Diamond Dust and The Mill, have been published in book form and are distributed internationally through publishing agreement between Nanaimo Art Gallery and Sternberg Press (Berlin).
Learn more about these projects and their local, regional and international relevance at the public lecture on March 13.
Taking place over the weekend following the public lecture, participants are invited to register for a two day workshop with Jesse Birch from Saturday, March 14 to Sunday, March 15. Artists, writers, curators and administrators will benefit from group discussions and individual consultation with Birch. The workshop is intended for those interested in professional development, critical feedback on a project and/or engagement in contemporary art issues and topics.
Birch notes that “productive dialogue and feedback with artists has long been an important part of my practice as a curator, educator and writer. I know direct connections with curators from outside one’s region are valuable, and so during the workshop participants will be invited to bring projects they want to develop or would like feedback on.”
Oxygen Art Centre’s Masterclass Series invites contemporary art professionals to Nelson, to share their expertise and work with the local art and culture community. Focusing around the exchange of ideas, Masterclass Series offers an opportunity for professional support, education and discourse surrounding contemporary art practice.
Masterclass Series presents a free, public talk and workshop over the course of a weekend and is generously supported by Central Kootenay Cultural Alliance.
– Oxygen Art Centre