Tricia Middleton holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University. Favouring the format of sculptural installation, her work is concerned with the materiality of the world, how materials are located in time, and how both their substance and their meaning changes within time. These installations, sculptures and videos will often use (and reuse) all of the materials of her studio, including its dust and debris. In this way, her experiments seek to hybridize historical and contemporary material culture, detailing the migrations of form and meaning over time.
Her recent solo exhibitions include Dark Souls, at the Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal (2009) and Midnight Gallery Rambles, at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (2009). Recent group exhibitions include Nothing to Declare: Recent Sculpture from Canada at the Power Plant in Toronto (2010), the inaugural Quebec Triennial at the Musee d’artcontemporain de Montreal (2008) and De-con-structions, at the National Gallery of Canada (2007). Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at Mercer Union (2011) and Oakville Galleries (2012).
A curator and writer based in San Francisco, where she is Curator and Head of Programs at the CCA Wattis Institute. Nguyen was formerly Director/Curator of Artspeak from 2011-2016. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues and periodicals nationally and internationally, with recent texts in catalogues published by Pied-à-Terre (San Francisco), Gluck 50/Mousse (Milan), and the Herning Museum of Art (Denmark). Nguyen is the recipient of the 2015 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Emerging Curators in Contemporary Canadian Art and the 2016 Joan Lowndes Award from the Canada Council for the Arts for excellence in critical and curatorial writing.
August 1–August 31, 2011
Ongoing installation in Artspeak’s windows while the gallery and office are closed for August.
Comprised of various sculptural works, Work Friends addresses issues of value, modes of display, and the instability of material relations. The installation includes six awkward, oddly shaped plinths that in their non-uniformity are reminiscent of forms that range from anthropomorphized figures to haunting cityscapes. Built from the misshapen and broken brick remnants of Middleton’s 2009 exhibition Dark Souls (Musee d’art contemporain, Montreal), the plinths create unlikely and uneven arrangements that radically transform from day to night.
Accompanying the plinths are peculiar objects of consumption and labour—empty cans, bottles, and cups, alongside a wood-handled mop, and metal bucket—suggesting recent use by a fleeting presence, now departed. The scene recalls the forms and aesthetics of a not so distant past, but conjures this effect through lightweight, contemporary materials that are deliberately concealed to give the appearance of age and decrepitude. As the installation moves from day to evening, what can be considered a humble mimicry of gallery accoutrements in the daytime becomes far more menacing and ghoulish with each passing hour, as Middleton manipulates coloured lights to dramatically transition the space into night. Through the combination of these objects, Middleton asks whether something more exists in the power of the material, something akin to self-determination.