Tanya Lukin Linklater
breath ,’ echo
November 12, 2022–January 7, 2022
Opening November 10, 6-8pm
950 East Cordova Street
Tanya Lukin Linklater's practice centers knowledge production in and through conversation and embodied practices. Her work encompasses, but is not limited to, performance, dance, video, drawing, photography, installation, and writing. Originating from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions, southern Alaska, and living and working in North Bay, Ontario for over a decade, her work reckons with histories that affect Indigenous peoples' lives, lands, and ideas. Considering collaboration an anticolonial approach, she often produces work alongside dancers, composers, musicians, and poets, in relation to museums, objects in exhibition, scores, and cultural belongings. In her first solo exhibition with the gallery, she presents three distinct, yet iterative recent projects.
Lukin Linklater’s ongoing series of Hair Prints (2022) is produced by coating her hair in natural pigments of crushed strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry, and then using the gesture of her hair to transfer them to paper. “I undertook a series of movements in [the] studio allowing for my hair to fall, move across, and be pressed into the paper following my body.” Captured in the works are ephemeral moments and experiences. The mark making connected to the body registers choreography in the print itself, articulating action beyond the object.
Held in the air I never fell (spring lightning sweetgrass song) (2022), commissioned for the Toronto Biennial of Art, comprises a round platform of wood and copper, above which rises a suspended composition of colorful textile scarves. The wood of the platform was milled from ash trees culled as part of a municipal program to control the spread of emerald ash borer, a devastating invasive species. The use of copper leaf on the platform points to the element’s significance in Indigenous communities as a signifier of both inherited and communal wealth. The kokhom scarves (“kohkom” is Cree for “grandmother”) are a recurring material in her practice, and for Lukin Linklater, the scarves are a way to evoke “women’s intergenerational, embodied, experiential (and sometimes land-based) knowledge.” By referring to the wood structure as a “performance platform,” as a material, the work suggests that not only could a body activate it, but perhaps the scarves themselves are already “performing” in their formation.
The 2020 video, This moment an endurance to the end forever, commissioned by ICA, Virginia Commonwealth University, is part of an ongoing series related to Indigenous geometries that was produced during the pandemic across multiple geographies. Here, she considers “Indigenous knowledges that teach us about breath and air.” Lukin Linklater combines super 8 footage of herself performing alongside bentwood sculptural components in her own home, and choreographed collaborations with dancers along the Salmon River, Ontario, as well as her own writing. The resulting video is structured through the duration of one day–from sunrise to sunset.
Lukin Linklater’s forthcoming and recent exhibitions include the 14th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2023); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2022); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2022); Oakville Galleries, Canada (2022); New Museum Triennial, New York (2021); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2020); Remai Modern, Saskatoon (2020, 2017, 2016); Heard Museum, Phoenix (2020); Trinity Square Video, Toronto (2020); Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville (2018); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2017); Winnipeg Art Gallery (2017); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); and Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2016).
Lukin Linklater is a doctoral candidate at Queen's University, she holds a Master's of Education from the University of Alberta (2003), and a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University (1998). She received the Wexner Center for the Arts Artist Residency Award in Visual Arts, Columbis (2022–2023), was the recipient of The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, Visual Arts (2021), and in 2019 she received the Art Writing Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. Slow Scrape, her first book of poetry, was published by The Centre for Expanded Poetics and Anteism (2020) with a second edition published by Talonbooks (2022).