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UTSC artists step out

Danièle Dennis's 'Shed' (2014).

Just weeks after graduation, two University of Toronto Scarborough’s most promising studio art students have been invited to show their work in the elite Show.15, a biennale exhibition at the Idea Exchange in Cambridge, Ontario that functions as a snapshot of emerging talent in Ontario.

For Daniel Griffin Hunt and Danièle Dennis, the show represents a culmination of their artistic growth over four years at UTSC, where they each recently graduated with Honours Bachelors of Arts with concentrations in studio art and art history. Although each has exhibited in student shows throughout their program, this emergence is a first step in a common artistic goal to get work out in the public.

Both say UTSC was central to their artistic development. “I think U of T Scarborough grounded me in who I am in the practice that I have. The community is very tight-knit. All of the professors are more than willing to help you conceptualize your project and really work through ideas,” says Hunt. Dennis adds that even simply having regular access to studio space and artistic tools was really helpful. “I was literally taking out equipment twice a week. And studio space is really, really important to be able to get into that mind frame of creation.”

Their submissions express distinct artistic approaches. Hunt’s Keystoning (A Foundation Laid) explores the material intelligence of objects using thirteen concrete piers (total weight of 650 pounds) held in an upright circle by the tension of a ratchet strap. Dennis’s Shed explores the taboo of bodily waste and cultural beauty norms with two hundred hairs collected and photographed, with photographs assembled in a grid format.

Each student already has other shows booked this summer, Dennis at the Xspace Cultural Centre and Hunt at the Daniels Spectrum Artscape building and Younger Than Beyonce nomadic gallery, all in Toronto. Despite valuing their undergraduate years, both are looking forward to what comes next. “I'm excited to have my voice heard and to have people get to engage with the work. I think it's important to get the work out there,” says Dennis.




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