Top students honoured with OCAD medals

TORONTO, May 9, 2008—The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) proudly announced its medal winners — the top students from each of the university’s 12 undergraduate programs — last night at the opening of its 93rd annual Graduate Exhibition.

“These incredibly talented art and design students embody the dynamic spirit of our university,” said OCAD President Sara Diamond. “Their thesis work investigates self-identity, societal relationships, violence and war, Aboriginal representation, knowledge management, and the transfer of skills from one generation to the next. Together, they’re evolving design and art, and personifying the theme of this year’s exhibition, ‘Evolving DNA.’”

The 2008 medal winners are:

Faculty of Art:

  • Amanda Delorey (Criticism & Curatorial Practice)
  • Keesic Douglas (Photography)
  • Rachel MacFarlane (Drawing & Painting)
  • Amanda Nedham (Printmaking)
  • Agnes Niewiadomski (Sculpture/Installation)
  • Jeff Winch (Integrated Media)

Faculty of Design:

  • Joshua Best (Advertising)
  • Clarieza Caringal (Material Art & Design)
  • David Chang (Industrial Design)
  • Rico Law (Environmental Design)
  • Jacqueline Pytyck (Illustration)
  • Philip Rae (Graphic Design)

Over 500 graduating students are showcasing their work to the public during the Graduate Exhibition, which continues through to this Sunday, May 11. For details, visit www.ocad.ca.

The twelve medal winners will receive their medals at Convocation on Thursday, June 5, at Roy Thomson Hall. Each of them also receives the Nora E. Vaughan Award and membership to The Spoke Club for a year.

BACKGROUND:

Amanda Delorey (Criticism & Curatorial Practice)
Amanda Delorey has produced an anthology of articles that explore the performativity located within art objects. These articles stress the performance of the art viewer and art writer as a means of documentation.  Delorey has worked as publications assistant at C Magazine, editorial assistant at The Walrus, proofreader for the OCAD Student Press book Shift: Perspectives and is currently a curator in the Subtle Technologies Festival. Delorey received early acceptance to the University of Toronto’s combined MA/PhD in Art History, York University’s MA in Art History, and McMaster University’s MA in Cultural Studies & Critical Theory, with full scholarships and TA positions to all three schools. She has chosen to attend McMaster’s program and will study with internationally-renowned cultural theorist Dr. Imre Szeman.

Keesic Douglas (Photography)
Keesic Douglas, an Ojibway from Mnjikaning First Nation, creates work which explores the misrepresentation of First Nations people in contemporary Canadian society. "I am confounded at the continual romanticizing of the mythical "indian". This continual abomination is not acceptable and in fact perpetuates the misrepresentation." (SAY magazine, 2007). Douglas was awarded the Gallery TPW Emerging Artists Award in 2007, as well as the Best Short Documentary award for his film The Vanishing Trace, presented as part of the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film Festival. Douglas’s film was also presented at the Alaska Native Heritage Center’s Indigenous World Film Festival 2008, and earlier this year, the Art Bank, a program of the Canada Council for the Arts, announced the acquisition of Douglas’s photographic work Split Rock Gap, 2007.

Rachel MacFarlane (Drawing & Painting)
Rachel MacFarlane implements a two-step process to create her vaguely representative but highly abstracted “painted worlds”. MacFarlane begins by creating tiny maquettes out of found refuse materials, and then uses them as references for paintings which transcend the original models. Her forms read as simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, and become weightless, anthropomorphic and grandiose.

Amanda Nedham (Printmaking)
In her work, Amanda Nedham responds to prevailing Eurocentric historical narratives through a process of collaging drawings made from television and Internet sources.  In particular, Nedham is interested in the glorification of violence in Western art and images of brutality in war.  “I was looking for a way to talk about war without appropriating or exploiting other peoples' experiences,” said Nedham.  She successfully interweaves digital and analog images, abstracting them to draw in the viewer and create tension.

Agnes Niewiadomski (Sculpture/Installation)
Agnes Niewiadomski creates site-specific installations of work that contrast the familiarity and nostalgia of home with the sterility of institutional spaces. Informed by the notion that identity is shaped by the defining moments of one’s life, Niewiadomski explores her own, most significant defining moment—her father’s car accident which cause him to suffer significant brain damage—a moment which created a paradigm shift in her home and family life. Niewiadomski’s cathartic installations explore the preservation of memory and desire for “the way things once were”.

Jeff Winch (Integrated Media)
Jeff Winch’s installation BLUE uses video documentation of people discussing their highest and lowest life memories and distributes the footage across a flat-screen video grid. Technology, memory and emotion meet in a calm space where the viewer can absorb the stories generously offered by over 30 participants. “There are few places where one can sit quietly to listen and reflect; churches, galleries, libraries and sometimes, the cinema. With BLUE I hope to make a small contribution to this dynamic where viewers can focus and listen to the memories of others and in doing so, gain perspective on their own experience.”

Joshua Best (Advertising)
Joshua Best has created a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign for Rainbow Cinemas that looks at the advantages of the Canadian cinema chain’s classical branding versus that of larger blockbuster movie houses.

Clarieza Caringal (Material Art & Design)
Clarieza Caringal is a jewellery artist whose body of work is inspired by the French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. Her small, introspective sculptural works explore the themes and metaphors in the book, depicting the adventures of The Little Prince and the lessons imparted by the people he meets as he visits asteroids and planets.

David Chang (Industrial Design)
David Chang has designed a product called “Mobi”, a hybrid between a library study carrel and a shopping cart. Mobi allows library users to collect the materials needed and set up a portable workspace in a preferred space, or nest Mobi up to other units to create a larger work surface for group activities. Mobi brings a new energy to the sometimes static space of libraries, with the hope of setting a precedent for the types of experiences to be had in libraries of the future.

Rico Law (Environmental Design)
Rico Law has designed a “Living Library”, a space which aims to keep the unique traditions of handcraftsmanship and a vibrancy of spirit alive. The purpose of this specialized library is to create an active and engaging atmosphere, where master artisans lend their wealth of knowledge as a resource to others, on such topics as using metal and stone, working in ceramics, glass, or textiles and paper. 

Jacqueline Pytyck (Illustration)
Jacqueline Pytyck had created a compilation of illustration entitled Cold Shoulder and Other Recipes which uses cannibalism as a visual allegory describing the dysfunctional relationships prevalent within contemporary culture. Each piece illustrates a body idiom and is accompanied by a unique play-on-words recipe. Pytyck’s prime objective was to create a non-gratuitous and ‘tasteful’ cookbook.

Philip Rae (Graphic Design)
Phillip Rae is focused in motion graphic design, combining typography and imagery with movement and sound using the sensibilities of cinematography and the emotive qualities of sound to communicate complex messages.  For Rae’s design “The Living Room” he spent eight months researching and conceptualizing the hospital room of the future. His design encourages patients’ contentment and comfort and expedites the recovery process while in medical care through the use of light, image, colour, air and sound.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)

The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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Media Contacts:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Coordinator, OCAD
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile: Ext.1327)

Leon Mar, Director, Marketing & Communications, OCAD
416-977-6000 Ext. 222


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