Up One Side + Down the Other, the Blackwood Gallery’s annual exhibition celebrating the talent of UTM’s art and art history graduates, opened last week. The first half of the exhibition will run until March 23. The second half will open on March 26 and run until April 6. The exhibitions also extend into the e|gallery in the CCT Building.

Visible from outside the Blackwood Gallery is EunJin Cho’s “Surroundings”, an acrylic, graphite, and collage piece on MDF boards. The boards are patterned with footprints, transit motifs, and brick track, and appear to float in the corner of the room. In her artist’s statement, Cho writes, “Through visually documenting passing sounds and conversations in fragments, I want to address our incapability to fully know all the stories surrounding us.” Her piece depicts fragmented movement and transience, while the repeated patterns create a sense of continuity.

Across the gallery on the opposite wall is Jordyn Stewart’s video work, “Pulse Off Dispense Smoothie Icy Drink”. In a performance piece set on a quiet lakeside beach, Stewart films handfuls of leaves, twigs, pinecones, and worms before mixing them in a blender. Visually, the blender, microphone, and extension cord that Stewart uses are juxtaposed with the natural world, as are the sounds of the blender with the quiet outdoor setting. Stewart’s gradual progression—adding plant matter, worms, snails, and even a frog—reflects the gradual and destructive human impact on the natural world.

Irram Bhatti’s piece, “Subedar Major Chaudhry Mohammad Nawaz Bhatti”, is a collection of vibrant images, including a cake with a multitude of candles, a picture of rural farming life, a train station, a Ford Model T, and a collection of medals, all in oil on printed fabric. The piece mimics a scrapbook, hinting at the stories behind the images. Bhatti says inspiration came from wanting to explore identity while commemorating her grandfather life’s. “Even if the common viewer cannot identify the significance of one of the images, anyone who knew him could in fact do so—and that is the beauty I see in this piece,” she says.

On display in the e|gallery is Annie Ratcliffe’s “Cage”, an oil painting on plywood. A white ribcage stands out from the monochromatic burgundy female body painted in the background. The dark blue shape of a heart nestles against brown depths of the ribcage. In her artist’s statement, Ratcliffe says her work is an expression of what she feels are cages: “I use the female body as a representation of constraint, or self-restraint. I believe the body is a vessel that contains the soul, and that we have biological and constructed limitations as to what we can do, and how far we can go.”

Also in the e|gallery is Rebecca Roth’s “An Eye for an I”, an oil-on-canvas piece with tissue paper. Painted in predominantly dark green, Roth’s piece is a still-life painting of African passionflowers (which are used to treat stress), the centres of the flowers resembling human eyes. Roth says her painting was inspired by the role stress plays in schizophrenic patients’ hallucinations.

Colin Yau’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, a collage of old issues of the Medium, is pinned against the black wall of the e| gallery. Red block letters spell “Much Ado About Nothing” across the pages.

The other artists featured in the first exhibition are Grace Bedwell, Tara Broadshaw, Alyssa Bussolaro, Alessandra Cirelli, Alexandra Coulson, Sonya Filman, Jeannie Kim, Joanne Lau, Kendra McPherson, Alexandria Nelson, and Ashley St. Pierre.

The artists who will be featured in the second exhibition are Sam Abel, Yu Chen, Liz Secord-Gibbs, Laurène Guarneri, Samantha Hanrath, Andrew Ihamaki, Olga Klosowski, Laura Krick, Adriana Lychacz, Tanya Masson, Katelyn Noyes, Dasom Park, Natasha Ritchie, Breanna Shanahan, Christina Trutiak, and Laurel Whalen.

The opening reception for the first exhibition, which was cancelled due to the extreme weather last week, has been rescheduled for March 19.

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