Skin Hunger, exhibition in the FINA Gallery

In the Forest Where I Died, Pip Dryden

In the Forest Where I Died, Pip Dryden, 2020. Work in the Skin Hunger exhibition.

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies is excited to announce a new exhibit, “Skin Hunger”, opening at the FINA Gallery on March 4, 2021 that will provide the community with an opportunity to explore the international issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of physical distancing through a student-organized art exhibition.

The exhibit will run until March 26, 2021 and will feature works from UBCO’s Bachelor of Fine Arts students, Masters students, and faculty members, displaying works focusing on the theme of our need for touch and the impact that social distancing is having on our “Skin Hunger”. This exhibition is a project for a curating course by Stacey Koosel, instrcutor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. It allows students to hone their skills into curating their very own exhibition and an opportunity to broadcast their talents.

“It’s an honour to teach the first curatorial course in the Okanagan. The students have done an amazing job at producing a dynamic, socially engaged contemporary art exhibition that explores the impacts of the Covid-19. The ten artworks selected for “Skin Hunger” play with the paradox of social distancing and the need for touch and connection. It’s a great exhibition that will have lots of online public programming to help us engage with the community.” says Dr. Stacey Koosel, Curator of UBC Okanagan Art Gallery and art history instructor.

This exhibition also socially engages with the greater community in the Okanagan amidst difficult times. Dr. Koosel is providing all students with this opportunity, and ensuring they are working safely to prepare this exhibition.

The term “Skin Hunger” refers to our universal and neurological need for touch. Touch is a vital part of both physical and mental health. It releases oxytocin, reduces stress, and calms our nervous system and currently many of us are starving for touch. Our increasingly digital existence is leaving many people alienated from the physical world. In response to this, “Skin Hunger” places art in direct response to our physical estrangement. These works will evoke a desire to “feel” the materials in the audience, while also allowing for a safe, COVID-friendly way to do so. In order to mitigate this desire, we are providing informational brochures that contain a material reminiscent of that of one of the artworks. The shift to online learning has kept many students from engaging with the artwork made by their peers, in addition to reducing the opportunities for student artists to show their works.

“Skin Hunger” features works by Jordan Doody, Briar Craig, Brittany Reizel, Avery Ullyot-Comrie, Hana Hamaguchi, Pip Dryden, Ashley Desjarlais, Bethany Hiebert, Arianna Tooke, and Jordan MacDonald. All the artists are members of the UBCO artistic community, with students from UBCO’s Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts, as well as faculty members.

“Inspiration from the pandemic has resulted with an online option for the exhibition,” explains Amber Barker, one of the students from the class. “People will have the option to view the exhibition from the comfort of their own home with an online 3D tour of Skin Hunger, as well as Zoom talks with some of the featured artists.”

The artistic director for the project, fine arts student Pip Dryden, is working closely with the gallery and other team members to ensure that this exhibition showcases the artists. They are ensuring these pieces bring a sense of connection during these isolated times, while also ensuring the exhibition a safe experience for visitors.

We encourage you all to check out the exhibition and artworks as an opportunity to feel a connection and bring a positive experience to light during this pandemic. Visitors to the gallery must follow social distancing measures which include a maximum of 6 people in the gallery at one time.

As part of the “Skin Hunger” exhibition, a panel of artists will discuss materiality in their artworks along with how the pandemic has changed or challenged their practice. Registration is now open for the panel on March 16th at 6:00 pm.

“Skin Hunger” opens to the public on March 4, 2021 and runs until March 26, 2021, in the FINA Art Gallery, 1148 Research Rd, Kelowna, BC.

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