Facing the Animal

I graduated from the Critical Curatorial Studies MA program at UBC in November 2012 (hence the long absence from this site). My practicum exhibition took place at the Or Gallery in Vancouver in May 2012. Difficult as it is to sum up the two years I spent in the program, I wanted to include some record of it here.



MAY 25 – JUNE 29, 2012


Opening Reception: May 25th, 2012, 8 to 11 pm

Artist Talk and Book Signing with Bill Burns: June 7th, 2012, 7 pm.

The works in this exhibition ask what facing the animal might mean in contemporary art. Using wolves and their domesticated descendents as subjects, the artists challenge dualities of human/animal and culture/nature in favour of more complex interactions. Through narratives of conservation, industry, wilderness and urban life using the media of sculpture, photography, video and installation, we are asked to question the categories we use to shape our sense of the world in works that are both irreverent and intimate.

Vancouver-based artist Julie Andreyev‘s Animal Lover series is an “interspecies collaboration” with her two dogs, Tom and Sugi, that includes video works and an online blog ( A newly compiled video collection from the blog follows the daily lives of Tom and Sugi, a portrait of the dogs’ unique behaviours and social lives. In the 2009 video installation, Aria, Tom and Sugi are pictured as the central subjects within the iconic Canadian landscape of Banff, Alberta. Recordings taken from the dogs’ vocalizations and their surrounding environment are composed into a musical soundtrack culminating in an “operatic solo” by Tom.

Mary Anne Barkhouse was born in Vancouver, BC, and belongs to the Nimpkish band, Kwakiutl First Nation. Currently based in Ontario, Barkhouse uses animal imagery in ways that examine popular perceptions of them and challenge divisions between scientific and alternate forms of knowledge. In Barkhouse’s most recent work, Red Rover, wooden pull-toys in the shape of coyotes, wolves and poodles face off on playmats configured into a map of Canada’s west coast, suggestive of contradictions between the treatment of indigenous species and the consumer pet industry.

Toronto-based artist Bill Burns‘ Dogs, Boats and Airplanes series includes a photographic collection from the artist’s travels as well as a collection of salt and pepper shakers of dogs, boats and airplanes. In its glaring absurdity, the work draws attention to the way in which dogs act as double agents that are at home in both urban and natural environments. The animals become a site of intellectual engagement with a highly rationalized and bureaucratic conception of nature, in which pedigree, global capital, movement and travel are all at stake.

Facing the Animal  is curated by Tarah Hogue, a candidate to the Masters Degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies at The University of British Columbia.

This exhibition is made possible through support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at The University of British Columbia.



Julie Andreyev

Julie Andreyev is an artist whose recent area of practice called Animal Lover explores animal consciousness and creativity through modes of interspecies collaboration and aleatoric methods, to produce interactive installation, video, social media, and performance projects. She works primarily with her two companion dogs Tom and Sugi, @Tom_and_Sugi, to produce work about animal cognition, communication, expression and creativity. Her work has been shown across Canada, in the US, Europe and Japan in galleries and festivals such as The Vancouver Art Gallery, SIGGRAPH, Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, Viper, CHI, Japan Media Arts Festival, Digital Art Weeks, Nuit Blanche. Andreyev’s work is supported by The Canada Council for the Arts, The British Columbia Arts Council, Foreign Affairs Canada, and The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, and Artistic Director of Interactive Futures,

Mary Anne Barkhouse was born in Vancouver, BC and belongs to the Nimpkish band, Kwakiutl First Nation. She is a descendant of a long line of internationally recognized Northwest Coast artists that includes Ellen Neel, Mungo Martin and Charlie James. She graduated with Honours from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and has studied extensively with noted silversmith Lois Etherington Betteridge. She has exhibited widely across Canada and the United States.

Working with a variety of materials Barkhouse examines environmental concerns and indigenous culture through the use of animal imagery. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Barkhouse’s work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Mendel Art Gallery, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Banff Centre for the Arts and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. In addition she has public art installations at Thunder Bay Art Gallery, University of Western Ontario in London, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph, Haliburton Sculpture Forest and the Millennium Walkway in Peterborough, Ontario.

Barkhouse currently resides in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario with two terriers and other assorted wildlife.

Bill Burns

Bill Burns is an artist whose work about animals and civil society has been shown around the world including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Burns’ many books and essays include The Guide to the Flora and Fauna Information Station, (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, England, 2008) and Three Books and an Audio CD About Plants and Animals and War (Verlag der Buchhanlung Walther Konig, Cologne, Germany, 2011). His works are included in collections at MoMA, New York, Tate Britain, London and Cabinet de estampes, Geneva.


To visit the Or Gallery‘s website, click here.

To view the press release for Bill Burns Artist Talk and Book Signing, click here.


Facing the Animal on The Arts Report, CiTR, 101.9 FM, June 6th, 2012. Writer Zoe Peled interviews curator Tarah Hogue and artist Julie Andreyev about the exhibition. Find the interview at–ArtsReport under June 6th and skip ahead to 38:40.

Robin Laurence, “Art explores its animal side at two local galleries,” Georgia Straight, June 13, 2012

Zoe Peled, “Facing the Animal @ Or Gallery.” whitehot magazine of contemporary art. July 2012.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s