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2017 Finalists Photo Gallery

A look at the artworks and the artists who are the 10 finalists for NSCAD's 2017 Starfish Student Art Awards. The Starfish Gala, during which the work of finalists will be on display, takes place Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. at the Port Campus, 1107 Marginal Rd., Halifax. 



Angela Arsenault (BFA 2004, MFA 2017)
Ghosts in the house, 2016
Mixed media, installation.


From Sydney, Cape Breton, Angela Arsenault grew up surrounded by industrial ruins. She returned to her hometown – both physically and through memory – to create Ghosts in the house, a collection of casts made from the detritus of industrial ruins, specifically an abandoned dry dock in Sydney’s north end. According to Angela: “The themes that exist in my work – memory, self identity, geography, industry, and death – are a result of my constant exploration of the narratives that have made up my existence. I wade through memories, oral histories, old family photos and the graves of industry to unearth the myths that lie under their surface.” After completing her master’s degree at NSCAD this spring, she will begin doctoral studies at Concordia University on a three-year fellowship.




Carly Belford (MFA 2017)
Flower Painting, 2016
Oil on birch panel, 40.6 cm x 50.8 cm x 5 cm


As a painter, Carly Belford engages with Dutch Flower paintings, trying to puzzle out what they mean. How could such lavish blossoms exist together in the same vase, even though they would never bloom at the same time? Implicit in the lush bouquets, for example by Rachel Ruysch (1643-1706), is the theme of “vanitas,” the idea that beauty is fleeting and fragile. “This is the context for my work but I’m engaging with it in a very contemporary sense, playing with pattern and colour and ideas of illusion and abstraction,” says Carly, who is from Toronto, ON. Soon to graduate with her MFA, Carly has enjoyed her two years at NSCAD, especially the chance to gain teaching experience and her interactions with NSCAD’s supportive faculty in painting and graduate studies.




Annabel Biro (BFA 2017)
Here’s a chair!, 2017
Ceramics, photography, 150 cm x 150 cm x 60 cm


Here’s a chair! announces the title of Annabel Biro’s artwork—a folding beach chair accompanied by four digital prints. But, if the chair is ceramic, is it really a chair? Is a chair only a chair if you can sit on it? Those are the questions the artist poses, intrigued by the possibility that someone might actually be tempted to ease themselves down on the slatted seat—as depicted in the accompanying photos. The native of London, ON says her NSCAD experience, now drawing to a close, has been “awesome” – “the ceramics department is amazing and the resources we have are incredible. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work within sight of that view.”



Andrew Godsalve (MFA 2018)
Getting To Know 500,000,000 Years in 9 Weeks and 17 Gigabytes, 2016
Photographic print collage
111.75 x 152.5 x 91.5 cm


From Hinton, Alberta and familiar with the west coast of Canada, Andrew Godsalve (MFA 2018) wanted to get to know his new home of Halifax better. His exploration of Halifax’s coastline at Point Pleasant Park is captured in Getting to Know 500,000,000 Years in 9 Weeks and 17 Gigabytes. A collage of photographic images of rock and stone, Getting to Know … is an attempt to reconcile geological time with human experience and digital space. It reflects an interest in land and landscape where they meet the ocean, “especially where the geology is visible and changing.”







Julie Hall (BFA 2017)
Like a Flood Themselves
, 2017
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Having already obtained two degrees—a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Food Science-- Julie Hall came to realize that science “wasn’t what I wanted to do” after all. And so, the resident of Middle Sackville, NS started all over again, this time at NSCAD—“the single best decision I’ve ever made.” For Like a Flood Themselves, the artist uses scientific processes such as hypothesizing and correlating in composing an epic poem that imagines a world suddenly without water. Performed and recorded by the artist to reflect a first-person Western perspective, the poem moves through five stages of grieving—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—in coming to terms with a compromised Earth. Julie and her collaborative partner Jacob Irish recently returned from an exchange at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in the Netherlands, where people have a very different relationship with water and the sea.




Jacob Irish (BFA 2017)
The Battersea Effigies, 2017
ink on paper, 110 x 76 cm


Jacob Irish’s drawing The Battersea Effigies depicts wicker effigies, two caged figures looking vaguely Norse, vaguely Flemish Primitive and totally bizarre. “I was speculating a link between a few moments in history,” says Jacob, a graduating student from Burlington, ON. “There’s a reference to zoological drawings made by early European explorers upon colonial contact with North America and Early Netherlandish paintings of the 1450-1500s. I am combining these sources with an absurd narrative to critique the process that visual historians used to unintentionally mythologize the unfamiliar. Using this practice I am critiquing the hegemony of scientific truth-making and Eurocentric ways of knowing.” Through the act of drawing, Jacob connects his own art practice to those of artists from centuries past, trying to figure out how some artists and mapmakers could get details so wrong. For example, in his map of Halifax dating to 1749, Moses Harris decorates the perimeter of the map with new world discoveries, including a strange-looking “porcupine” which has the head of a monkey and the body of a long-haired beaver. It is clear that artist had never actually seen a porcupine before attempting to draw one. “It’s a little bit like that old game of telephone. Communication gets warped and something gets lost in translation."

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Ann McCosker (BFA 2017)
Sub-Settler’s Duo, 2017
Sterling silver, fine silver, steel cable, tourmaline, moonstone, quartz, opal
3.3 x 7 cm, 21.5 x 19.5 x 1 cm


With a BA in Environmental Studies and a job in costuming, Ann McCosker decided she needed her education to line up with her interest and passion, and so enrolled at NSCAD to study textiles. That is, until an introductory jewellery class diverted those plans—as she says, “It was love at first touch.” The attention to detail, the exacting processes and the precious materials all appeal to her, prompting her to challenge herself by learning age-old techniques such as filigree and applying them to contemporary jewellery design. For her Starfish-nominated work, she brings everything together—her love of jewellery and her theatrical and science backgrounds—in creating a statement necklace and wide bangle. The matching set, she imagines, is for the adornment of a deep-sea submarine captain from a sub-sea dome colony and pays homage to the captain’s love of the ocean.



Christiane Poulin (BFA 2017)
Winds of Change: a Lace-scape
Textiles, seven panels each 400 cm x 102 -128 cm

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Christiane Poulin’s NSCAD journey had a forty-year layover. After retiring as a medical doctor, she decided it was time to finish what she started back in 1970. It was the right decision: “I’ve learned so much from my professors and peers. I’ve been thinking and doing and making and listening.” Winds of Change: a Lace-scape was conceived in homage to the collective experience of generations of NSCAD students and faculty and also to NSCAD’s charming old Fountain Campus, especially as NSCAD aims to vacate the campus in the next few years. One of her favorite places at NSCAD is the deck, a place at the heart of the campus which brings students and professors together to eat lunch and chat – “about the little things and big things and about art.” The artwork consisted of seven panels of lace (about 40 metres of weaving altogether). Christiane was thrilled to see how the installation came alive at the Anna Leonowens Gallery through the interaction of the audience. “People ate and drank and talked about big things and little things and about art,” she says with a smile. “It was wonderful.”



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Julie Simmons (BFA 2017)
evanesce, 2017
experimental film

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A visit by Terry Bailey, NSCAD’s Director of Admissions, to Durham College is one of those moments that Julie Simmons will always look back on with a smile. Having “been through a lot of post secondary” without feeling she had found her true calling, Julie learned she could transfer to NSCAD and jump right into the third year of the film program. “It’s been a life-changing experience,” says Julie, who is from Caledon, ON, a small town north of Toronto. “Film making is such a collaborative art form and I’ve been fortunate to get to know and work with such an amazing group of people.” Her Starfish-nominated film, evanesce, was created for Sol Nagler’s Sculpting Cinema class; it’s an experimental film that plays on how our memories fade each time they’re recalled. “When we replay them in our mind, they are altered and reconstructed, making it difficult to distinguish between reality and imagination,” she says. Created using found footage, 16mm film and home movies, evanesce is “personal to me … I’m interested to see other people’s reactions.”



Tamsin Sloots (BFA 2017)
outside identity, inside you, 2016
Intaglio, woodcut, chine-colle, Japanese papers, book board, cotton rag paper, dress pins, thread
16.5 x 14 cm


Tamsin Sloots’ small Chinese thread book is a little like an origami fortune teller—those paper games kids play with to predict the future. Made traditionally for the purpose of storing thread and needles, Tamsin’s version, called outside identity, inside you, was created as a personal exploration related to a sibling’s changing gender and her family’s changing attitudes. The tiny book has pockets, flaps and layered images—revealing all is not what it may seem on the surface. “I’m from a very conservative background and people think gender is a fixed thing when it’s so much more complicated,” says Tamsin, a transfer student with a diploma in textiles from Sheridan College. While at NSCAD, she has enjoyed the chance to explore and take “super cool” classes, such as printmaking and art history.


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