The Degrees of Separation that Bring Us Together

March 10th to 25th

Facilitated by India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner

Pierre François Ouellette Art Contemporain, 963 Rue Rachel Est

Artists / artistes:

Kimberly Orjuela | Community” and “Going with the flow
Roxy Boyle | The Guarantee Building
Darius Long Yin Yeung | Dichotomy & 2019
Em Laferrière | I am not a rock, Rock, Moon Landing, Untitled (all part of Contrast, an ongoing series from 2021
Quang Hai Nguyen | In these eyes lie an endless ocean
Barbara Reddick | Basking

What are the degrees of separation between us, as viewers, artists, friends, or strangers? Are there degrees of separation within our own identities?

A degree describes the amount, level, or extent to which something happens or is present. Each of us globally can be connected to one another despite how many degrees we are apart.

The artists in this exhibition tackle what degrees of separation represent for them, and how they navigate the complexity of those relationships. These artists illustrate the power of connection, while also bringing to light the difficult and uncomfortable ways reconnection with one's culture, or with oneself, affect us. Observe traditional Colombian craft as a medium to rediscover cultural history through ceramics, while combating erasure of those ancient crafts and celebrating our differences. Witness important processes of self introspection unfold through photography, surrounding diasporic identity from a Vietnamese perspective. Follow the search for belonging of one Hong Kong artist perched between Eastern and Western influences. Connect with two artists who each sought solace in the comfort of their neighbors and friends in times of isolation, exploring their experiences in their respective mediums of painting and photography.

Feeling detached yet connected is a sentiment flowing through every work in this exhibition. Each artist is of mixed origins and/or intersectional identities. Pandemic circumstances are exacerbating each artist’s hybridity, and perhaps the degrees of separation experienced within their own identities. They are using their art practice to form a space for themselves in a world of isolation, uncertainty, fluctuation, and adaptation, and offering spaces for introspection to viewers to contemplate the degrees of separation present in their lives.

Our degrees of separation allow us to imagine a world where we are all neighbors, regardless of nationality, of ethnicity, of religion, of gender, of sexual orientation, or any other factors divide us. Uncover themes of reconnection and celebration with one’s culture, the concept of a chosen family, and the disconnection with oneself or culture in this group exhibition, with each artist uniquely approaching the complex relationships entangling these notions.