Examining the body in a post-millennial age

THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

On March 14, the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University held its opening reception for the Post-Millennial Body exhibition at Mahtay Café in downtown St. Catharines.

The Post-Millennial Body is a photo-based exhibition comprised of work done by second year visual arts students. The assignment required students to choose a photo either of themselves or someone else and somehow incorporate another material into it. Most students chose to do themselves and made the assignment into a self-portrait concept.

The assignment was overseen by instructor Judith Graham of the Visual Arts Department.

“Before when you look at the body in artwork, it used to be seen as being a lot more autonomous with mind. That goes all the way back to Aristotle,” said Graham. “But now we’re into a new millennium and we’re seeing a lot more changes to the way the body is looked at.”

The ideas about what the body is in the new millennium was the basis for what the students were to focus on when creating their assignment.

“We have more issues now like the diseased body, the broken body, body for sale, body parts for sale, limbs and organs being transplanted,” said Graham. “There are actually a lot of people researching this topic right now.”

“An even newer concept is the digital body and the way the body fits into all this new technology we have.”

It was also that student’s responsibility to administer their own artwork as a part of the overall exhibition process. This included coming up with titles for their work as well as write an abstract about their assignment. They also had to decide whether or not their work was going to be for sale or not, so they had to come up with a price that would be put on the artwork. For many of the students, this was the first time their work has been exhibited publicly.

Graham has held an exhibition for a few years at Mahtay because she feels it’s a great way for students to get out into the community rather than being confined to the perimeters of the university.

“I refer to it as an alternative space. It’s perfect because there are a lot of young people that are always in and out of there that will get to see their work.”

“Chris Lowes at Mahtay Café is incredibly supportive of the arts so we’ve been lucky in the last few years that we’ve run an exhibition to have that space to use,” said Graham.

The Post-Millennial Body exhibition will be featured at Mahtay Café until Mar. 31. Mahtay Café is located at 241 St. Paul Street in St. Catharines. For more information visit mahtay.ca.

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