Saturday, June 11, 2011

Artist Bios

Jan Avendano:

Jan Avendano is a designer and illustrator who enjoys the company of corgis, park napping and summer night bike riding.

Yuula Benivolski:
Born in 1980 in Moscow USSR, grew up in Northern Israel and currently live and work between Toronto and Montreal. I work with photographs, projection, video and installation. I'm interested in migration, tradition and ritual, comfort, acclimatization and survival, or stories and details from my childhood that shaped my views on important stuff like sex and death or any other transformative events.

Misha Bower:
Misha is a writer and singer living in London, Ontario. She regularly commutes to other cities for the pleasure of performing/collaborating with Bruce Peninsula, EONS and Daniel Romano. After a long stretch of theatrical writing, culminating with the staging of her play Georgia & Leona at the 2010 Toronto Fringe Festival, Misha has put performance criteria aside to see...what happens. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Isla Craig:
Like the sole of an elephant's foot, which feels the vibrations and drums of the earth, the line between dream and reality is no line at all. In the sounds of Isla Craig there is a dissolve of what we may think of as solid, where the edges begin to drift along a pulsing diaphanous beat. The bones begin to sway with the roots and leaves as the tales of spirit and moss runs through her blood and out her body and mouth, for she has both her feet in the stream of song. The strata and striations of Isla Craig draw on vocal traditions ranging from early vocal music to contemporary R&B styles. She may be found playing solo, or aided by her band The Continental Drift (Mike Smith, Colin Fisher, and Brandon Valdivia), and is also an active improviser and collaborator in the Toronto music scene.

Aurora De Pena:
Aurora Stewart de Peña is a playwright and director. She is the co-founder of The Birdtown and Swanville Group with Nika Mistruzzi. Some of Aurora's plays include Family Story, 36 Little Plays about Hopeless Girls and Lily-Rose, which is being produced here. Currently, she is working with polite, formally dressed teenagers at a teenager arts festival held at a private school. Upcoming, she and Nika will do a play at SummerWorks about violent men. She is so excited to work with her admired friends, Allison and Victoria, at Nuit Blanche Devereaux.

Nicole Dawkins:

Nicole Dawkins is a Toronto-based maker, curator and anthropologist preoccupied with the crafting of things, selves and social worlds. Recent projects include an ethnographic study into the politics of doing-it-yourself in Detroit (forthcoming article in the Craftivism issue of Utopian Studies), researching West African puppets and community spectacle for the ROM, and making sockmonkeys with magnetic genitalia (Monkey Business). She is curating an exhibit of contemporary fiber art (Heir/Looms) at Studio Beluga this summer.

Amelia Ehrhardt:
Amelia Ehrhardt is a contemporary dance interpreter and creator based in Toronto. . Her work has been presented at venues such as Extermination Music Night, Older & Reckless, and in an interdisciplinary performance event at DeLeon White Gallery. She has collaborated with Cara Spooner/Alicia Grant, Jonathan Adjemian and Sky Fairchild-Waller. As an interpreter, Amelia has performed in works by Susie Burpee, Bluemouth Inc., Zeesy Powers, Kathleen Rea, Menaka Thakkar, and Carol Anderson. Amelia is a graduate of the Etobicoke School fo the Arts and George Brown Dance, and has recently returned to school to complete her BA in Dance at York University.

Alicia Grant:
Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Alicia Grant is a graduate of the York University BFA dance program. Her collaborative performance work with Cara Spooner has been presented at XPACE Cultural Centre, Harbourfront Centre and the Festival of New Dance. Her solo work has been presented at the Eastern Edge Gallery, Hart House, Rhubarb Festival and 7a*11d Festival. As a dancer, she has worked with Zoja Smutny/Passbo Dance Theatre, Jenn Goodwin, Meagan O'Shea, Diane Borsato and Daniel Cockburn. Alicia has been an artist-in-residence at CESTA in Tabor, Czech Republic and Caldera Arts Center in Sisters, Oregon.

Iris Fraser-Gudrunas:
Iris's art practice focuses on video, film, performance and curation. She has shown at, and curated shows with many groups in Toronto including PleasureDome, Fado, Double Double Land, Film Fort, Blocks Recording Club, Don Blanche Residency, Artscape Gibralter Point Residency, Images Festival, Hart House Film Club, Toronto Public Library, Splice This!, and various independent events. Iris also directed her first feature film which is to be completed sometime in 2011.

Anna May Henry:
Anna May Henry works in a variety of mediums in an endless exploration of the co-existance of everyday life with the fantastic. Her work often merges the natural environment with subtle human impositions as well as performance with documentary. She is currently working on an ongoing video series of intuitive, diaristic mood-movies which can be viewed at She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Naomi Hocura:
Naomi Hocura spends her time creating environments and events in the real world as well as in the imagined. Recent projects include curatorial and video work for the Nadja/Aidan Baker DVD White Nights/Drone Fields (Beta-lactam Ring Records 2010), Seconds Under the Sun Japanese art animation screening (2009 – 2010). She is currently is interested in the interaction of sound, scent and the body.

Julia Kennedy:
Through the seasons the maple tree filters light and rain until finally, in early spring, it will release it’s sap. The accumulated fluid is all those things the tree has taken in distilled into an essence which is new and pure and it’s own form. Through her work with drawing, sculpture, installation, social engagements, performance and writing Julia Kennedy explores feelings and reactions to interacting with the everyday as distilled through her own experience and processes. Julia M. Kennedy, March 28, 1984 attended Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax, NS) and Cooper Union (New York, NY) She currently lives and works in Toronto.

Mat Laporte:
Mat Laporte is a poet and intermedia artist. He is one quarter of the micropress publisher Ferno House and an undergrad at York University.

Joyce Lau:

Joyce Lau is a photo-based artist from Toronto. She received her BFA in photography at Ryerson University, but realized that she needed to go beyond the darkroom to create the pieces that floated in her mind. She resolved that she enjoyed using her hands too much and needed to explore techniques in that realm a little further. With paper as her primary medium, Lau has experimented with varying forms of construction and presentation with the intrinsic quality of the medium in mind. Lau’s work has been a consistent reflection of her fascinations with history, religion, pop culture, and iconography. Persistently themed around artifice, perceived ideals and expectations, and guilt, her works are cynical expressions about mass-production and “what ifs.”Lau has exhibited in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and recently completed a residency in The Netherlands.

Barb Lindenberg:

For many years I have been performing short dances for small audiences. The earliest performance in my memory is a duet with Oli Edgar performed for the Edgar and Lindenberg families. It featured Cheerios as a prominent theme and we stuck our tongues out as far as we could. I'm sure we had other moves but I don't remember them. That was the '80s and a lot has happened since then but not much has changed. I'm just more serious.

Laura McCoy:
Laura McCoy, b. 1981 in Cambridge, Ontario. Currently lives and works in Toronto. Laura works in video, drawing, and performance, as well as with self documentation and an online identy that counts everyday stimulations as valid content in an ever growing visual library. more of her work can be found at as well as at

Heather McTavish:
Heather Big T McTavish is a Librarian Archivist living and working in Toronto. She has participated in several dances choreographed by Allison Peacock, usually as the stationary figure in the background. In her grade eleven dance class she performed as a fish in a dance number of The Little Mermaid and laughed jovially when her friend Nikki had to prance across the stage to the "ATINA" part. Her artistic pursuits include singing in her room, thinking about sewing projects and bookbinding.

Minae Omi:

Minae Omi was born in Tokyo, Japan. Minae began dancing at the young age of three, taking ballet classes. Seven years later, Minae switched to jazz and hip-hop, hoping to become a Japanese pop star. In 2002, Minae was introduced to Miyako Kato and found the world of contemporary dance. Minae has been performing in the dance company which is called Miyako Kato Dance Space since 2004Minae is interested in exploring the relationship between multimedia art and the body in motions. Minae graduated from The School Of Toronto Dance Theatre in May, 2010.

Sojourner-Truth Parsons:
Sojourner-Truth Parsons is an artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been exhibited at Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax), Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects (Toronto), and will be seen at A1C Gallery (St. John's, Newfoundland) this fall. She recently toured with neo-folk band Tasseomancy, creating site-specific installations at venues across Europe. She holds a BFA from NSCAD University (Halifax).

Evelyn Pelayo:

born and raised in toronto, Evelyn Pelayo has been involved in the creative for as long as she can remember. both a teacher and maker, her works delves into narratives and communication and the sometimes lack there of it. as a graduate of material art & design from ocad, her work involves a myriad of elements and has been shown in several galleries and art fairs. she now resides in Barcelona, Spain and gets up to good whenever she can.

Aimée Dawn Robinson:
Aimée Dawn Robinson is an improvising dancer, musician, landscape gardener, writer/
researcher and video artist. She has performed, studied and taught dance in Canada, the United
States, Malaysia and Japan. Aimée holds her MA from York University, Department of Dance
(thesis: “Forgetting Memory: The butoh of Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno”). Aimée co-
founded Up Darling and is the director of the multi- disciplinary performance series, A Month of Sundays. Aimée has studied, and continues to study with dancer/farmer Min Tanaka on Body Weather Farm.

Anna Silverstein:
Anna can be seen from great distances, whole city blocks away, across ponds, maybe even lakes, from one mountain top to another. It’s her hair, each strand with a life of it’s own. Expanding towards you, back towards her and then to you again, not quite curls but something like that. There is a life force in this hair, a manifestation of an open curiosity and a discerning intelligence (with a special and particular aptitude for detail). Anna’s hair has taken on the character and spirit of her brain and for this we are all thankful! Seen in and experienced through this wild splay of human thread is Anna’s interest in all things unruly and encompassing. Though with closer inspection, with an eye to the many knots, caverns and twisty turns, one can see Anna’s commitment to the complexity of minutia; the intricate, well defined veins of a leaf. This orientation to the big and broad, alongside, the small and intricate has brought Anna to the study of both organic and inorganic structures; the building and the beehive, the scream and the tape recorder. Her mind topped with such a mass of hair has found itself in the world of architecture, entomology, noise making, puppetry and drawing. Following the direction of her locks Anna looks forward, sideways, backward, straight- up and straight- down.

Zoja Smutny:
Since receiving her BFA in Choreography from Concordia University in Montreal, Zoja has been living, making, teaching, and producing in Toronto, Montreal, Athens, and Prague. Zoja’s live and video work has been shown in international festivals in both Europe and Canada. Most recently she directed a Bravo fact dance video with Guntar Kravis, entitled Between Time. Currently she is working on a solo made with many collaborators, the main one being Jenn Goodwyn (Toronto). This solo will be presented at Uferstudios, Berlin July 2011. Alongside making dances, Zoja also teaches yoga at Udk in Berlin to the BA dance program. She is currently completing her master’s in Solo/Dance/Authorship in Berlin. Zoja was awarded a Harold Award in Toronto (2009).

Stacey Sproule:
Stacey Sproule is a performance and installation artist. Her work often involves the use of knitting, embroidery, and other tactile textile techniques. She holds a BFA in drawing and painting from OCAD and has exhibited locally and regionally for over five years. Her installations have been exhibited at Wynick Tuck Gallery, Xpace, and Gallery 1313 in Toronto; Awkward Gallery in Barrie; and Forest City Gallery in London. In 2007, Stacey Sproule and Diane Borsato collaborated on a piece for FADO. Stacey also collaborates frequently with Randy Gagne including performances at 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art and Peterborough’s Artsweek Festival.

Meichen Waxer:
Born in 1983 and raised in a decorated to era Victorian home in Aurora, Ontario. Meichen has always been fascinated with ideas of fantasy, constructed histories and turn of the century melancholy. Elements of female craft and body are interwoven into her interdisciplinary practice. Through juxtaposing several mediums; particularly photography, textile-based sculpture and painting, Meichen dances around the fine lines between anxiety, obsession and occupation. Meichen has spent time living in Montreal, in Paris France during the Summer Creative Residency 2010 at Parsons Paris as overseen by Charlotte Moth and is currently based in Toronto. She graduated from OCAD in 2007 with a major in photography, receiving The Faculty and Friends of Photography Award. Meichen has exhibited nationally and most recently in London, England, as a part of JVC (July Video Coalition). She is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant.


Victoria Cheong:

Victoria Cheong is a multi-disciplinary artist working in video, installation and performance. Her artistic practice also includes ongoing collaborative work with dancers and musicians, experimentation with textiles, jewelry and projections and the curation and organization of accessible, cross-disciplinary art happenings. She makes music as part of The Deeep. She collaborates with Anna Silverstein in the Improvisational Decorating duo, Discolor Festooning. She is also the Artistic Director of Healing Power Records.
She was born, continues to live and perhaps will even die in Toronto, Canada.

Allison Peacock:

Allison Peacock is a Toronto-based artist working with dance, site-specific performance, costuming and video. She is actively exploring pop cultural representations of dance, themes around time and duration, experimental dance’s relationship to the natural world, perspective, popular technology, questions of performance and visibility, feminism, intersections between video and dance, and friendship. Her work has been presented at Movement Research at the Judson Church (in collaboration with Victoria Cheong), Extermination Music Night, the Yukon Arts Centre, Danceworks CoWorks, Rhubarb and has been commissioned by the Canada Dance Festival. She holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in Visual Studies, and completed professional dance training at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Allison has participated in residencies at the Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts on Toronto Island, and most recently at Performing Arts Forum in St. Erme, France. A significant part of her practice is devoted to collaborative projects with artists from various disciplines: video and textile artist Victoria Cheong with whom she co-choreographed and performed Ic Mastic Gys Rhythm and co-orchestrated the dance-centric performance festival Nuit Blanche Devereaux, animator and musician Lindsey Ross, and an on-going international collaboration with Nadine Schwarz (Zurich, CH).

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