Lisa Myers
Curatorial Statement

My curatorial research interests include museum conventions, contemporary Indigenous art, geography and ideas of value.

Recent research considers the encoding and role of materials as signifying power relations and sense(s) of value. I take these ideas in different directions in my curatorial projects to examine commodity chains, performance of materials, customary and cosmological value focusing on Indigenous art in North America. I originally began this line of inquiry with considering food as a material in artwork by Indigenous artists. My independent curatorial projects include "NOT SO FAST" (2013) at York Quay Centre at Harbourfront in Toronto and "past now" (2010) at the MacLaren Art Centre, "Night Kitchen Under the Table Top" (2012) for Nuit Blanche at OCAD U, and "Recast" (2014) at Gallery 44.

In my curatorial practice, I work with the artist(s) collaboratively to investigate the curatorial premise or thesis of an exhibition. In this way, I value the reciprocation of ideas and research between the artist(s) and curator throughout the planning of an exhibition.
Following that Moment

As part of Indigitalks Lisa Myers wrote and did an in cinema presentation that looked back at media work by Indigenous artists in the 1990s and before the first ImagineNATIVE festival in 2000.

Following that Moment

Reading the Talk
Reading the Talk was co-curated by Rachelle Dickenson and Lisa Myers
Images of the exhibition at Robert McLaughlin Gallery click here:
Reading the Talk

20 September 2014 – 4 January, 2015
Reading the Talk presents the artwork of 6 contemporary Anishnabe and Haudenosaunee artists and how these works engage in critical conversations about relationship to lands, region and territory, while considering distinct indigenous perspectives on the history of treaties in this land now referred to as Canada. Featured artists: Michael Belmore, Hannah Claus, Patricia Deadman, Keesic Douglas, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, and Melissa General.

Recast featured artwork by Bev Koski and Christian Chapman.

October 24 to November 22, 2014 and will be traveling to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery in June 2015!!

Recasting in the context of film or theatre means reassigning an already established role. Recast came to mind when I was considering how artists Bev Koski and Christian Chap man create new roles for the protagonists in their photo and video work. Koski transforms mass produced figurines and recasts these in photographic form, while Chapman invites four artists to create their own narratives of a fictitious Woodland artist. Here, throughout the exhibition and the essay, I’m thinking through the ways shifting representations of Indigenous people subvert stereotypes and mythologies.
Click here to view images of the show:

Night Kitchen Under the Tabletop

OCAD U, Nuit Blanche 2012 - September 29, 7pm to 7am

Cheryl L’Hirondelle – Toronto, Canada
Sean Procyk – Banff, Canada
Christina Zeidler – Toronto, Canada

click here to view images of each artist's installations

click here to view a video that gives a peek at the installation of the exhibition.

Video projection, Participatory, Performance, Sound and Light Installation

Inspired by a children’s storybook where a boy dreams of surreal experiences in a bakery kitchen during the night. Night Kitchen welcomes the audience into the digestive process of the art institution after dark. Responding to the past and present of this site, these performance and installation projects address a few of the many systems present in the tabletop building at 100 McCaul Street. Three artists become part of the infrastructure to playfully feed audience members through registration, structural procedures, and doctrines. Using cooking and digestion as metaphors, each artist will tailor their work to the building creating site specific works that offer an immersive experience and that reflect on the institution and architecture as a kind of digester. Night Kitchen invites a reflection on the processes, hierarchy and identities seemingly inherent in art and educational institutions.

Cooked up and curated by Lisa Myers


click here NOT SO FAST York Quay Centre at Harbourfront in Toronto, ON. Thursday, July 19, 2012 to September, 23, 2012.

click here for images of the exhibition installed

Christian Chapman, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Bev Koski, Jean Marshall,
Luke Parnell, Maika’i Tubbs, Tania Willard

Objects tell a story, and reveal a history, through the way they are made. The title of this exhibition NOT SO FAST suggests that time goes into making the many things we consume everyday, yet value is often measured in terms of speed and efficiency. The works in this exhibition explore materials, places and objects that reveal different kinds of value.

This exhibition brings together the works by Indigenous artists as they engage and respond to consumer society and its many products and byproducts. As some artists re-purpose or reclaim mass produced objects, others reinforce the relationship with time and place in their exploration of customary materials, designs and techniques. Together they have layered and complex conversations that assert diverse critical perspectives. NOT SO FAST asks us to slow down and spend some time.

Curated by Lisa Myers

Best Before

Graduate Gallery, OCADU
Cooked up and curated by Lisa Myers

click here for images of the exhibition

Opening at the OCAD University Graduate Gallery on Wednesday, April 27 and continuing through Saturday, May 7, Best Before features the work of KC Adams, Keesic Douglas, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Peter Morin and Suzanne Morrissette. These artists reference or present food in their artwork that function as personal markers of their histories, home, family and community, at the same time signaling and addressing the legacy of colonization and the global food system.
For Best Before, KC Adams's artwork was inspired by her Grandmother’s pancake recipe. By using sugar, flour, salt, milk and lard, she identifies the significance of these white ingredients and their implication in the outbreak of diabetes in Aboriginal communities. In her art practice, Adams explores the relationship between nature (the living) and technology (progress). She employs a range of materials and media such as sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, printmaking and kinetic art. Adams’ work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions at Odd Gallery, Parramatta Artist Studios, MOCCA, PHOTOQUAI: Biennale des Images du Monde, and the National Museum of the American Indian, among others.
In his photographs for Best Before, Keesic Douglas inverts the four healthy food groups to complicate government prescribed dietary regimes. Douglas is an Ojibway artist from Mnjikaning First Nation. He often uses humour and parody to cleverly examine issues of First Nations representation and to address racism and stereotypes. This past winter, Douglas taught youth how to produce short videos as the artist/instructor on the ImagineNative Northern Ontario Film and Video Tour. His artwork has been included in national and international solo and group exhibitions at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Harbourfront Centre, La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Belkin Art Gallery, and the Berlin International Film Festival.
Cheryl L’Hirondelle work for Best Before considers and appropriates Spam – both the canned meat and email kind – in order to invert meaning and demonstrate value in what most would discard. L’Hirondelle is a mixed blood (Métis/Cree/German) multi and interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and curator. Using performance and new media, her creative practice investigates the junction of a Cree Worldview in contemporary time and space. Although many of her projects take place outside of art venues, L’Hirondelle has performed and exhibited her work at the Vancouver International Writers Festival, ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival, Walter Phillips Gallery, Glenbow Museum and the Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and Symposium, among others.
Bringing together recipes for bannock and for attracting media attention, Peter Morin’s installation for Best Before includes his bannock cook-off video projected on a series of salmon prints. Food in his work references home and community, as well as serves as a tool for political demonstrations. Morin is of the Crow clan of the Tahltan Nation of Telegraph Creek, British Columbia. Trained as a printmaker, he incorporates interactive performance, installation and activism in his art practice. Morin’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions at venues such as the FINA Gallery, Eiteljorg Museum, Open Space, Institute of American Indian Arts, and Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art.
Using a homemade mathematical formula/recipe to visually convey and encode her family tea picking expeditions, Suzanne Morrissette examines issues of identity in her artwork for Best Before. Morrissette is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and curator born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She works in textiles, ceramics, drawing, painting, installation and new media. This year she will be presenting her MFA thesis research on the narratives of place at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. Morrissette’s artwork has been included in exhibitions nation wide at Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Thunderbird House and Charles H. Scott Gallery.
Cooked up and curated by Lisa Myers, MFA student in OCAD University's Criticism and Curatorial Practice program, Best Before represents her thesis research on the role of food in Aboriginal Art practice. As an artist, curator and chef, Myers investigates the complex issues raised when analyzing artworks addressing cultural agency and the encoding of food from Aboriginal perspectives. She relates the acculturation of so-called Aboriginal cuisine with artworks that unmask the lived experiences of a continuing colonial legacy where food sources play a key role.

past now
MacLaren Art Centre
Guest Curated by Suzanne Morrissette and Lisa Myers

click here for images of the exhibition
more images of Meryl McMaster's installation
more images of Luke Parnell's installation

The mantle of colonialism in North America propelled photographers and artists of past centuries to pictorially ‘preserve’ indigenous cultures. Stubborn, ruinous stereotypes arose from such representations and issues surrounding their perpetuation inevitably raised questions with respect to Aboriginal agency. Two emerging Aboriginal artists—Meryl McMaster and Luke Parnell—engage their work in critical conversations with the past. From distinct perspectives, they question the life of historical images today. Through subtle variations of historical image and iconography, both exemplify past now as a creative credo.

You Are Here
Art Gallery of Ontario
Curated by Ebony Haynes, Jordan MacInnis, Suzanne Morrissette, Sara Munroe and Lisa Myers.

Curators select and display works of art in exhibitions to tell particular stories. Historically, Aboriginal artists have been underrepresented in these narratives. Using work by six Aboriginal artists from the permanent collection at the AGO, You Are Here inserts new narratives in six different locations around the Gallery. Although they are physically separate, they function together to bring an Aboriginal dimension to the history of art.

Graduate Gallery, OCADU
Curated by Ebony Haynes • Jordan MacInnis • Suzanne Morrissette • Lisa Myers

This collection of works by the new Interdisciplinary Masters students to OCAD
exemplifies the culmination of their diverse histories and varied approaches to art, media and design. These disparate stories converse in a space designed to weave together divergent practices. Verge represents both a coming together and a point of departure—a moment of convergence that speaks thematically to the fabrication of new narratives.