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Graduate Program in Visual Arts

Faculty Profiles

There are fifteen full-time tenure stream Studio faculty in Visual Arts: two Print Media, three Photography, three Painting, two Time Based Art (video and electronic media), and five Sculpture (including two in Sculpture and Drawing). Crossover forms such as installation that combine media are offered by faculty from several areas.

Among our professoriate we have active practising artists working in almost all of the media (the exceptions are a practicing performance artist and practitioners in the crafts). Each of our faculty has a principal strength in a medium, but often utilizes additional media. We are also known for our areas of interest among the wide range of possible topics that comprise the world of contemporary art.

 

Nell TenhaafNell Tenhaaf
Professor - Graduate Program Director

Nell Tenhaaf is an electronic media artist and theoretician with extensive publication, lecture and exhibition credits across Canada, in the US and in Europe. Her practice focuses on the intersection of art, science and technology, using digital media to integrate elements from these different fields. She is represented in Toronto by Paul Petro Contemporary Art.
In 2005 Professor Tenhaaf was awarded a major grant through the New Media Initiative, jointly funded by the Canada Council and the National Science and Engineering Research Council, for a collaborative project with Professor Melanie Baljko in York’s Department of Computer Science. The project uses art and science to create interactive installations in which humans interact with artificial agents. The interactive sculpture Push/Pull (2009) is the first of these installations.
Professor Tenhaaf has published numerous reviews and articles that address the cultural implications of biotechnologies and of Artificial Life (an area of research that studies dynamics in nature through computational models as well as software or robotic agents with lifelike behaviours). She has been a jury member for the Madrid-based Vida art and artificial life competition since its inception in 1997.
Prior to her appointment at York University in 1997, Professor Tenhaaf taught at Concordia University, the University of Ottawa, and Carnegie Mellon University. She has served as associate dean and as coordinator of the Digital Media Program in the Faculty of Fine Arts, and currently directs the MFA and PhD Programs in Visual Arts
Email: tenhaaf@yorku.ca | Website

David Scott Armstrong David Armstrong
Associate Professor: Print Media

David Armstrong is a print artist with a particular interest in the image and its mutability. His work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the US, Estonia, Brazil and Japan, and is found in the collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, University of Alberta, and the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts at the Portland Museum. His current research folds printed, photographic and drawn/process-based renderings into a relationship between the fixed and imprinted, and the transitional and changeable, and considers ensuing questions directed towards an understanding of materiality, time and the consciousness. Professor Armstrong taught at the University of Western Ontario before joining the faculty in York’s Visual Arts Department in 2003.
Email: darmstro@yorku.ca | Website

Jon Baturin Jon Baturin
Associate Professor: photography, digital media

Jon Baturin has spent much of the last decade investigating ideologicalconstructs and the formation of dogmatic systems as they relate to notions of Truth. British Cultural Historian, John Calcutt, has located those concerns as “…Truth, Justice, Power, and Identity.” To be entirely accurate these areas of investigation should be seen as sub-sets of the notion of “Hope.” Hope has been the locus, whether the projects appear as mediated critiques of political systems or as collaborative works, which envision social change. The phrase “ideology of care” best defines this broad philosophic position. Baturin is presently working on a series of new collaborative projects which deal with gender, identity, and the visual manifestations of his collaborator’s notions of wellness and loss. Research has historically been undertaken in conjunction with international institutions – usually as artist-in-residence. These include Glasgow School of Art, Tallinn Art University, Athens School of Art, Banff Centre for the Arts and Tasmania School of Art. Recent project have also involved international media centres such as V-Tape Digital (Toronto), C3 Digital (Budapest) and Cyberpipe Media Centre (Lubjiana Slovenia). Jon Baturin is a co-founder of "Critical Media" an international not-for-profit organization with a mandate to promote and develop challenging international cultural projects in diverse media. He has taught on the faculties of several Canadian art institutions including the University of Saskatchewan, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Ontario College of Art, Concordia University, and the University of Lethbridge. He is currently Associate professor, Photography and Digital Media, Dept. of Visual arts, York University, Toronto Canada. Digibodies | Email: baturin@yorku.ca | Website

Michel DaigneaultMichel Daigneault
Associate Professor

As Graduate Program Director in Visual Arts, Daigneault plans to work “assiduously” on building a dynamic visual arts community within the campus walls. In September, Daigneault curated, “Your Own Adventure,” showing in the Gales Gallery and featuring works from Visual Arts students in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and digital media. Daigneault wants to reach out to young artists. “I want to expand the series of invited guest artists, curators and art critics to the campus in order to offer the most dynamic environment to our students.” His future projects for student exhibitions are set to take place in art centres and galleries in both Toronto and Montreal in order to create dialogues between the works of students from different universities.
Full article
| Email: daigneau@yorku.ca | Website

Michel Daigneault

 

Michael Davey Michael Davey
Associate Professor: Sculpture

Professor Davey is a sculptor specializing in installation, fabricated and cast metal work. He has exhibited his sculptures and work in other media, including drawing, photography, book works and performances, in Canada, the United States and Europe. Professor Davey's research has taken him to Carrara, Italy, where he created a site-specific work, and more recently to an artist-in-residency and group exhibition in England, which led to the establishment of an annual student exchange program with the University of Northumbria. He has held lectureships in sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland. As a
founding member of Toronto's Mercer Union, he has held solo shows and curated local, national and international exhibitions. Currently, he is a member of the artist-led gallery Red Head in Toronto.
Email: mdavey@rogers.com | website

Janet Jones Janet Jones
Associate Professor: Painting, Art Criticism

Professor Jones' teaching and research interests combine creative work and academic study, focusing on studio art and cultural theory, and how these two areas interrelate. The influence of critics on artists has
been a topic of particular interest in her writings. Her current research focuses on the present situation of painting in relation to modernism and postmodernism. A practicing artist, Janet Jones has exhibited her paintings in numerous solo and group shows across Canada; in Germany, France, England and The Netherlands; and in New York. Her most recent paintings focus on the theme of the techno-sublime and feminist geography within urban spaces. She has lectured on both her own work and Canadian painting in Europe, Russia and China. Dr. Jones has served as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts, director of the MFA Program in Visual Arts and coordinator of the Fine Arts Cultural Studies Program at York. In 2002, she received the Dean's Teaching Award for outstanding teaching and contribution to the life and vibrancy of the Faculty of Fine Arts. | Email: jjones@yorku.ca | Website

 

Katherine Knight Katherine Knight
Associate Professor: Photography

Visual Arts Associate Professor Katherine Knight, a summer resident of Caribou Harbour, one day discovered a local house and its secret riches: a collection of Victorian punch-paper motto needlepoints dating from 1831-1881. Displayed saloon style in the 19th century house, these artefacts recalled the area’s history and its domestic culture where the men and their sons fished and bartered, the women maintained the homes and in their spare time taught their daughters the art of embroidery. In May 2007, Knight received a SSHRC Research/ Creation grant of $120,000 to explore the material culture of Caribou Harbour and to create a fine art project that incorporated Jane Webster’s collection of needlepoints.

Full article | Email: kknight@yorku.ca | Website

 

Yam Lau Yam Lau
Associate Professor: Painting, Drawing, Theory

Yam Lau’s creative work and research explore new expressions and qualities of space and image. His most recent works combine video and computer-generated animation to re-create familiar spaces in varied dimensionalities and perspectives. In addition to his new media work, he is actively involved in the local art community. Certain aspects of his practice, such as using his car as an on-going mobile project space, are designed to solicit community participation. The recipient of numerous awards from the Canada, Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils, Professor Lau has exhibited widely across Canada, the US and Europe. He also publishes regularly on art and design. He is represented by Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto. Professor Lau taught both fine art and digital art courses at a number of post-secondary institutions prior to joining York University’s Visual Arts Department in 2005. Email: yamlau@yorku.ca | Website

Nina LevittNina Levitt
Associate Professor: Photography

For the past twenty years I have been working in photography, installation and video. My practice examines the representation of women in popular culture and often relies on the recovery and manipulation of existing images. My work has been shown extensively in Canada, and in several shows in the UK and the US, and has been widely published and reviewed including feature articles in Parachute #100 and Canadian Art.
Notable exhibitions include Otherwordly, "The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture" (Vancouver Art Gallery) and "Little Breeze" at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough.
Recent research and artworks focused on the representation of women spies during WWII. THIN AIR, the second in a trilogy of shows on this subject was at the Koffler Gallery in Toronto, March 2008. The third and final work was shown at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, November 2009. A catalogue of these works was published by the galleries and is available at ABC Art Books. I am currently working with the SOVFOTO press photography collection at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie for a show there in 2011. From 1984 to 1991 I worked as the Program Coordinator of the Toronto Photographers Workshop, an artist run photography gallery that I helped found. I taught photography at the University of Illinois at Chicago, video at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in the New Media Program in the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University. Email: nlevitt@yorku.ca | Website

Nancy NicolNancy Nicol
Associate Professor: Time-Based Art

Professor Nicol is an award-winning video artist and documentary filmmaker whose work is grounded in the tradition of the artist as activist, probing issues of human rights, social justice and struggles for social change. Her research, writing and creative projects include video art and documentary as well as critical writing and social criticism. Nancy has created over thirty feature films and presented her works widely in national and international film festivals, academic and human rights conferences and community based organizations. Email: nnicol@yorku.ca | Website


Judith Schwarz Judith Schwarz
Chair, Visual Arts Department

In addition to being named the new Chair for the Department of Visual Arts, Judith Schwarz has been awarded two public art commissions for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The project will result in the installation of four laser-cut stainless steel panels to be mounted on transit shelters. The Spadina and Dufferin installations, Weather Sampler and Origami Remix, evoke symbols for weather and summer gardens.
Schwarz’s considers her roles as an artist, educator, and department leader as “services to the community, but in different ways.” She emphasizes that in whatever position she holds, she must remain “accountable to [her] internal sense of integrity and standards of excellence.” As the new chair of the visual arts department, Schwarz hopes to accomplish a variety of tasks, all aiming to build a stronger sense of community.
“Our department has been through a decade of fast-paced changes including long and disruptive renovations. It’s easy to become fragmented and lose sight of what makes us a community and what gives us purpose,” she explains. She hopes to re-articulate the department’s vision “to ensure our research specialties are reflected in a coherent curriculum that provides students with an excellent education.” Schwarz hopes to perform a conceptual reorganization and overview of the galleries, the Goldfarb Center, the Speaker Series, Open House and downtown exhibitions. She explains that each of these components is an opportunity to strengthen the interplay between studio and studies practices providing curatorial and exhibition opportunities for all members of our community. Some of her other goals include the support of research initiatives, fund-raising, and mentoring educators at all levels including TAs, new faculty, and part-time instructors. Email: jschwarz@yorku.ca | Website

Yvonne Singer Yvonne Singer
Associate Professor: Art Studio

Yvonne Singer is a practicing artist with an active national and international exhibition record. Her installation works employ multimedia techniques, often with cryptic texts to articulate cultural issues of disjuncture and perception. She is particularly interested in the intersection of public and private histories.
Exhibitions include Signs of Life; an intimate portrait of someone I don't know (Loop Gallery, Toronto), The Trouble with Translation (tour - Germany, France, Canada), Alphabets (Stewart Hall, Montreal), Crossroad (Visual Art Centre, Clarington), doing time (The Red Head Gallery, Toronto), Staging Memory (Montreal Holocaust Centre), The Veiled Room (ACC Galerie, Weimar, Germany), Images of Girlhood (McCord Museum, Montreal). She has received several public art commissions and her work is found in many private collections. She is a member of the Art Advisory Committee of The Koffler Gallery and serves on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council and C Magazine.
Professor Singer has been teaching at York University on a part-time basis since 1980 in Atkinson College, the Faculty of Education and the Graduate Program in Visual Arts. She joined the Department of Visual Arts as a full-time faculty member in 1999.
Email: ysinger@yorku.ca | Website


Brandon Vickerd Brandon Vickerd
Associate Professor: Sculpture/Foundry

Brandon Vickerd is a sculptor whose research encompasses robotics, site-specific interventions, metal fabrication, foundry processes and collaborative projects. He has exhibited his work in numerous group and solo shows. Recent solo shows include Champions of Entropy, Object #4 at the Deleon White Gallery in Toronto and Life or Something Like It..., at Eyelevel Gallery, Halifax. His publications include a number of exhibition catalogues, including Systems Catalogue for the Truck  Gallery.
Professor Vickerd’s work has won support from the Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council and Alberta Foundation for the Arts. In summer 2005 was awarded a major grant by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to create a Digital Sculpture Laboratory in the Department of Visual Arts at York. The first of its kind in Canada and one of only a handful worldwide, the laboratory will be dedicated to the study of the convergence of the digital and the physical in art through the translation of digital code into physical reality. This cutting-edge research facility will add an exciting new dimension to York’s sculpture program, opening up new possibilities for teaching, learning and creative work. Prior to his appointment at York University , Professor Vickerd taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Victoria, and served as head research/sculptor at Heavy Industries in Calgary, Alberta, where he assisted in the creation of CC technologies and 3D scanning systems for use in fine arts production. He joined the faculty in York's Visual Arts Department in 2004. Email: bvickerd@yorku.ca | Website

Kevin Yates Kevin Yates
Associate Professor: Sculpture

Professor Yates art practice and research revolves around creating sculpture which functions like film stills: objects that hold space like a “pause” so the viewer can examine and inspect. He’s particularly interested in crime scenes, in the cold relationship that exists between the tragedy on screen and the scrutiny of the viewer. To echo this gaze his work often takes the form of highly realistic miniatures. These miniature objects are experienced both as real physical objects but because of their inaccessible scale they read also as an image.
Professor Yates creates installation experiences, which confound the expectation of knowing-through-seeing, setting the stage for a perpetual mystery. Professor Yates has previously held positions in the Department of Art at the University of Oregon, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Victoria. Professor Yates has exhibited throughout Canada and the University States, and been the recipient of a number of grants for research and travel.
Email: yates@yorku.ca | Website




Associate Members

John Greyson

Associate Professor, Department of Film

Mark David Hosale

Assistant Professor, Digital Media Program

Adjunct Faculty

Bill Burns
Artist

David Liss
Director/Curator Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Scott McLeod

Director of Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art

Christof Migone

Artist