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Carin Covin & Joanne N. Gervaise | Retro-Geographies


This exhibition continues the ongoing collaborative dialogue between recent UBC Okanagan MFA graduates Joanne N. Gervaise and Carin Covin which started with an exhibition at Island Mountain Arts in Wells, BC earlier this summer. Combining installation, video and painting with visual and written language, these artists challenge the viewer to question the role of language in our understanding and experience of the world around us and to question how this contributes to our ultimate understanding of identity. 

For Carin Covin this body of work combines creative non-fiction and contemporary painting which investigate place and identity as lyrical mappings of language and postcolonial histories. Written language, used in conjunction with visual language, produces meaning that is read through the use of text. Using the format of the lyric essay, Carin allows for meaning to be blocked in through suggestion and in so doing gives form to silence, articulates absence and composes through fragments.

This series of lyric essays interweaves multiple narratives of the psycho-social aspects of identity to articulate a multi-cultural heritage within a specific location. The visual art works provide for the arrangement of place and identity as compositional components for contemplation of the multiple interpretations of these ideas. The ongoing investigation seeks to map visual and written language through a process of intuition and intention, reflecting the pluralistic nature of these conceptual underpinnings of place and identity. Carin’s challenge in creating this body of work was to find an original voice which allowed these ideas to be written in numerous variations and provided the opportunity for constant re-interpretation and re-visioning.

Joanne Gervais is a video based artist whose work explores cultural identity through nostalgic constructions of the past. As a UBCO MFA graduate, Joanne was the recipient of a Pacific Century Scholarship. She has collaborated with other artists and researchers on projects and documentaries and continues to work in new media on a variety of projects for UBCO through the Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice. 

Joanne Gervais’s artistic practice explores how the past is manifest and manipulated through photographic and digital imagery and how one chooses to interpret and record historical narratives. Joanne’s work challenges the historic stereotypes and marginalized perspectives while demonstrating the ongoing, often complex process of identity exploration and formation. She looks at the role nostalgia plays in the formation of identity and its capacity to stimulate constructive perspective of both the past and the present. The amalgamation of photographs, video, narration, text and reflective material depict the non-linear nature of nostalgia and its capacity to imaginatively restructure historic narrative. The works included in this exhibition attempt to address how visual images and their associated narratives shape identity formation and how personal histories and nostalgia are subsequently manifested through these representations and in some cases reinterprete the past.