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Foreign Bodies – Elise Rasmussen, Camille Rojas, Avery Steel

Presented in partnership with Nuit Blanche Toronto: 
Saturday, September 30th, 2017 Sunset – Sunrise (7pm – 7am)
Exhibition Run: Saturday, September 30th, 2017 – Sunday, October 15th, 2017Foreign Bodies explores the relationship between bodies and space – two often-contingent entities, one begetting the other’s character. The nature of a space dictates the ways in which a body can move through and inhabit it; movements that challenge or stray from this expectation can alter one’s assumptions of how a body can be in space and how a space can serve the gestures of a body. Three artists create works in which performing bodies adjust the nature of the real or imagined spaces they inhabit. This awareness of the body in space is further magnified as visitors to the gallery move through other bodies in an attempt to access the work.
Elise Rasmussen is a research-based artist working in photography, video and performance. She assumes the role of artist as investigator, uncovering lesser-known histories in an attempt to challenge the hegemonic record and re-think notions of “truth.” Elise has exhibited, performed and screened her work internationally, including the Brooklyn Museum (NY), CCS Bard Hessel Museum (Annandale-on-Hudson), Pioneer Works (NY), Night Gallery (LA), the Berman Museum of Art (PA), Standpoint Gallery (London), Werkschauhalle (Leipzig), Dazibao (Montreal), Gallery 101 (Ottawa), TRUCK (Calgary) and ESP | Erin Stump Projects (Toronto) where she is represented. Elise received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a Merit Scholarship (2007) and her BFA(Hons) from Ryerson University (2004). She has been an artist in residence at a number of institutions including the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), the Nirox Foundation (South Africa), LMCC Process Space (NY), Pioneer Works (NY), NARS Foundation (NY), The Shandaken Project (Storm King), SOMA (Mexico City), the Banff Centre (Alberta) and has been a participant in the Art & Law Program and the New Museum Seminar. Elise has been written about in publications such as Art in America, BOMB Magazine and the New Inquiry, and has received grants and awards from the Jerome Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts and the American Austrian Foundation. Originally from Canada, Elise is lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Camille Rojas (b. 1993 Toronto; lives and works in Toronto) is a multidisciplinary artist working with film, photography, installations and dance. Shifting her position between camera operator and subject, she adopts both a semi-choreographic approach to movement-making, documenting dancing bodies in public and domestic spaces that dissect concepts and emotions.

Avery Steel is a 22 year old Toronto-based image artist working in a hybrid region exploring the relationship between performance and photography. Avery began her artistic practice as a performer first, dancing, singing and acting on stage for years before the camera was introduced as a medium. In her process, the camera is used as a tool to document self choreographed performance pieces in which the body and the surrounding physical environment is used to convey representations of a past-self. Considering themes of sexuality, gender, mental health, trauma, and control, Avery uses performance and surrealism to create imagined spaces in her photography with the intention of subverting notions of familiarity and thus introducing the presence of the uncanny. Through subverting expectations and the honest use of an autobiographical narrative as a conceptual framework, Avery’s work enables audiences to understand that while emanating from experience, the personal and the political are aligned.