Maria Hupfield   The One Who Keeps On Giving

June 23, 2017 - September 10, 2017

Opening Reception: Friday, June 23 at 5 PM
Reception sponsored by RBC

Objects contain meanings beyond their materiality, meanings that we bring to them or receive from them. Objects are the result of an action, entail traces of human gestures and evoke reactions or memories. They have the potential to be read collectively or personally. Maria Hupfield’s artistic practice reveals the way objects can trigger relationships between humans or environments.

For her exhibition The One Who Keeps On Giving, Hupfield developed a video installation centered on an object: an oil painting of a seascape by her late mother Peggy Miller. The artist invited her siblings to participate in a performance rooted in memories evoked by the painting that initially took place in
Parry Sound, Ontario – the setting depicted on the canvas. To ground the filmed performance and to accompany the painting in the exhibition context, Hupfield and her siblings re-enacted the performance in the gallery space at The Power Plant in Toronto, the setting for the second film.

Alongside this newly commissioned work, the exhibition includes a selection of objects that have been regularly activated during Hupfield’s performances in recent years: a canoe, a snowsuit, a snowmobile helmet, mitts and boots, a cassette recorder with headphones, a light bulb, and seven items solicited from other artists. All of these objects are replicated in felt, a material that equalizes the objects beyond their specific functions. In contemporary art, the use of felt recalls German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986). However, Beuys and Hupfield use felt differently. Whereas Beuys employed this material to produce meaning, Hupfield uses felt because she considers it to be neutral. The meanings of her objects unfold beyond their material limitations.

The One Who Keeps On Giving is an English translation of Maria Hupfield’s mother’s Anishinaabe name.

Maria Hupfield (born 1975 in Parry Sound, Georgian Bay, Ontario) is a member of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Solo exhibitions include MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina (2015); Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal (2015); and Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon (2011). Hupfield is the founder of 7th Generation Image Makers, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto; Co-owner of Native Art Department International; and was Assistant Professor in Visual Art and Material Practice appointed to the Faculty of Culture and Community, Emily Carr University of Arts and Design (2007-11).

Maria Hupfield, The One Who Keeps On Giving is a production of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in partnership with SAAG, Lethbridge; Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal; Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax; and Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris. It was sponsored by TD Bank Group and supported by Julia & Robert Foster. Funding assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Lethbridge.

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