Forerunners

Alex Bierk

Oct 14 - Nov 24, 2016

Opening: Oct 14, 7-10pm

Please join Artspace on Friday, October 14 from 7 - 10pm for the opening of Forerunners a new exhibition by Alex Bierk.

Then, on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 7pm please join Artspace's Director Jon Lockyer for a discussion of the curatorial development of Forerunners.

Both events are free and open to all members of the public.

About the Exhibition
Over the last 18 months Alex Bierk has developed a new body of work that directly addresses his past and current life in his hometown – Peterborough, Ontario. The work in Forerunners is a loving, sombre account of Bierk’s adolescence, reconciled through his adulthood.

As part of the exhibition, Bierk has worked with five secondary school artists –David Bigg, Emily Duffey, Avery Morris, Skylar Ough (Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School) and Rachel Burns (Etobicoke School of the Arts). Bierk has mentored the students, encouraging them to produce new bodies of work that consider their experiences as teens in Peterborough and Toronto, two cities that have played a formative role in Bierk’s own development. The resulting exhibition, Ingrown, is a reflection of the quotidian moments of each individual’s lives and ultimately, how they are shaped by them.


Artist Statement
These paintings are made from photographs I’ve taken since I’ve moved back to my hometown of Peterborough. They are an attempt to reconcile the past as much as the future: being back in the town where I grew up, seeing former hang-out spots like the train tracks, driving the streets I grew up on, and seeing people I knew -- they are all familiar but changed.  Time passes in a way that isn’t straightforward. I wonder what it will mean for my children to grow up where I did. When I sit and read to them at night I remember, like it was yesterday, my parents doing the same with me and wonder if they felt their own mortality in these moments like I do. The title of the show comes from a poem I found, written by my mom when she was 17:

november 1971:
feelings realized
in asplitsecond
forerunners to
our twonights
now memories

Bios
Alex Bierk (b. 1982, Peterborough, ON) has presented works on paper in exhibitions in Copenhagen, Paris and Stockholm earlier in 2016. Bierk recently finished a mural project with the City of Peterborough and has a book of his work being published this fall by Swimmers Group. His work is held in the collections of the Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank and the Art Gallery of Peterborough. In 2013, he was a finalist for the Kingston Prize, a national biannual portrait competition, and has since been the recipient of grants from the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils, as well as the Canada Council for the Arts. Alex has exhibited his paintings in group and solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and internationally as well as numerous art fairs: UNTITLED (New York), Art Toronto, Scope (Miami), Papier 14 (Montreal) and Art Southampton. Bierk is represented in Toronto by General Hardware Contemporary. Alex Bierk lives and works in Peterborough, Ontario.

David Bigg is a musician, visual artist, musical instrument maker, photographer and dancer. David has performed at a variety of venues, including the Lakefield Jazz Festival, and has recorded locally. David first became interested in film photography when he was given his grandfathers old OM-1 SLR camera and has since collected many vintage cameras. David only shoots with film, and uses vintage and antique cameras, developing all of his own work. Each item is unique and finished with care.

Rachel Burns is a student at the Etobicoke School of the Arts.

Emily Duffey is currently a senior student at Thomas A. Stewart. She has developed interests in traditional painting, illustration, and digital photography. She hopes to pursue art in post-secondary education at Sheridan College.

Avery Morris is a high school student at Thomas A Stewart, born in Toronto and raised in Peterborough. She has a background in zine making and painting. Morris hopes to pursue design studies at Concordia University.

Skylar Ough works within multiple areas of the visual arts (including drawing and painting, photography, sculpture, and printmaking) and is the founder of the DROOL art collective. She has acted, directed, and stage-managed for The Theatre on King and others, and hopes to attend the Intermedia program at Concordia University next fall.