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2016 Finalists Photo Gallery

A look at the artworks and the artists who are the 10 finalists for NSCAD's 2016 Starfish Student Art Awards. The Starfish Gala, during which the work of finalists will be on display, takes place Thursday, April 22, 7 p.m. at the Port Campus, 1107 Marginal Rd., Halifax. 



Laura Admussen, Island Catch, 2015. Seaweed, cotton, linen, found rope and metal, 120 cm x 11 cm x 2 cm.


A transfer student from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Laura Admussen (BFA 2016) is thrilled to finish her degree at NSCAD University while experiencing life in Nova Scotia. “Here, I’m finding the practices, processes and techniques that I connect with,” says Laura, 26, from Calgary, AB. “My time has been awesome. I’d like for it to never end.” Her practice encompasses both jewellery and textiles, (among other disciplines), and in her piece, Island Catch, the two disciplines are literally woven together. Her materials are natural and found materials gathered from McNab’s Island; the challenge was in finding out how they could be stabilized and transformed. “I must say, the classes have really opened my mind. I feel very strongly that I’m in the right place.”




Maeghan Banks, make, believe, 2015. Two-channel video installation with sound, 9 min. loop.


Intermedia artist Maeghan Banks (MFA 2016) is enjoying graduate studies at NSCAD, finding it to be “quite intense, rigorous and with conceptual depth.” She values the time to give concentrated thought to the philosophies and theories around art making. With an undergraduate degree from Concordia University, the Montreal native is grateful for the opportunity to be teaching a class, Social Media as Art, which she designed and proposed. Ideas of instruction and communication inform the nominated work, make, believe, borrowing the aesthetics of instructional videos to explore how meaning is constructed and shared through objects and gestures.




Jordan Baraniecki, Untitled 3’s (C) (detail), 2015. Charcoal and conté, 186 x 65.4 cm.


Jordan Baraniecki’sUntitled 3’s (C) represent a return to where he started: drawing. Initially thinking he would be a graphic designer, his educational investigations have led him to the University of Saskatchewan, Alberta College of Art + Design, back to U of Sask and now to NSCAD University. In making drawings, the 24-year-old Saskatoon native uses an intuitive process of creating to explore negative space and create abstracted forms. He uses simple materials, charcoal, pencil and conté, to make his marks. “I've been working with a simple intuitive process but it doesn't mean the work is simple. It's quite complex and my attention to detail has led to some interesting discoveries."



Kate Grey, Scar Tissue, 2015. Semi porcelain clay, video, 5:17 min.


Scar Tissue, a video performance by finalist Kate Grey, is an “acknowledgement of the frustrating and exhausting cycle of mental injury.” The video shows a porcelain bust Kate made in her own likeness propped on a plinth and then torn apart. “Throughout the video there is slight confusion over whether or not the hands are coming from the bust or an external force,” says Kate, 24, a student originally from Calgary, who transferred to NSCAD from the Alberta College of Art + Design. “The confusion references the discomfort felt in psychological trauma, unable to find the distinction between someone harming you or you harming yourself.”







Marc Knowles, Platform Peek, 2016. Latex paint, spray paint, paint can lid on wood, 92 x 165 x 6 cm


When Marc Knowles (MFA 2016) talks about painting, he uses the word “play” a lot. For the painting Platform Peek, for example, he plays with notions of landscape and abstraction, with geometric and organic patterns. Not to mention paint—thick, liquidy, colorful paint. To emphasize the point, he’s stuck the lid of a paint can in the centre of the canvas like an exclamation mark, or a porthole providing a glimpse into another painterly world. A Montréaler originally from Aylmer, QC, he’s been enjoying his studies at NSCAD, soon to end with graduation just a week after the Starfish Student Art Awards.




Nathalie Maiello, 7 necklaces, 2015. Copper, brass, powder coat, 60 cm x 180 cm x 10 cm.


Nathalie Maiello (BFA 2016) did her research in deciding where to study jewellery and metalsmithing, drawn to NSCAD for its reputation for excellence, the facilities and the professors. “I’ve learned so much,” says Nathalie, a Montrealer, who will be embarking on graduate studies at Indiana University Bloomington in the fall. Her nominated work, 7 necklaces, was part of her graduation exhibition, Spaces In Between, at the Anna Leonowens Gallery last November. For that show, she created jewellery on a large scale to explore notions of scale and space.  “Jewellery has such an intimate relationship with the body, but here, I created jewellery for a space,” she says. “So, if you remove that intimacy, you interpret the work quite differently.”


Sydney McKenna, Play, 2015. Relief print, 116.84 x 81.28 cm.


From Kamloops, BC, Sydney McKenna (BFA 2016) took a big risk in leaving the comfort of home and familiar surroundings to come to NSCAD University and Nova Scotia.  “I felt like I could really grow as a person and an artist here,” says Sydney, 22, who will graduate with a BFA this spring. “It’s been life changing. I’m definitely not the same person I was when I arrived.” Sydney revisits notions of home and childhood through her work, a densely carved relief print entitled Play. Look closely and images of a bear, salmon, jungle gym and detritus emerge, all grown over with vegetation so it’s hard to distinguish where one starts and another ends. “I’m playing with ideas of decay and abandonment, how some things that had a purpose are changing and becoming something else.”



Philip Nuttall, Canis Latrans, 2015. Marble, limestone, 56 x 30 x 30 cm.


Becoming the sculpture finalist for Starfish Student Art Award confirmed for Philip Nuttall (BFA 2017) that his decision to transfer to NSCAD was the right one. The 26-year-old student from Toronto is being recognized for his work, Canis Latrans, a coyote skull carved out of marble and placed on a limestone pillar, which he also carved. “The facilities and studios are incredible,” he says, “And the professors have a real interest in what I’m working on. It’s really quite amazing.”






Yalitsa Riden, Shoreline, 2015. 11 min, 13 sec.


For Yalitsa Riden (BFA 2016), although her film Shoreline came from a “very personal place,” it was important to her that everyone involved feel connected and invested, from her cast of women (Sara Campbell, Andrea Skinner, Danielle Doiron) to the members of her creative team. “I love working collaboratively because what you make together ends up becoming something larger than yourselves,” says Yalitsa, 26, from Vankleek Hill, ON. Shoreline has shown at various independent film festivals throughout the world and made an impact. It was named the Best Coast to Coast Short at the Silver Wave Film Festival in Fredericton last November, best student film at the Mountain Film Festival in Nevada, and was recently named the Canadian finalist for the 2016 LICHTER Art Awards in Frankfurt, Germany. (The winner will be announced March 30, 2016.) The accolades, which she shares with her collaborators, are an endorsement for what she loves to do. "I want to continue experimenting with film and finding new horizons in which to produce and present work," she says. "Hopefully that can translate into a masters pursuit when the time comes."



katarina marinic, Fabrication, 2016. Photography, 76.2 x 50.8

Photography student katarina marinic (BFA 2017) arrived at NSCAD taking a somewhat different route. Having already completed a diploma in Applied Photography at Sheridan College, the Toronto-area resident entered NSCAD in her third year. In additional to her technical training, she has extensive experience as a professional photo retoucher of products and people, with a long and impressive client list. As a comment on the digital manipulation that is her stock and trade, she created Fabrication using her own image to see how far she could push it. “When I was working on it, you see all the imperfections in the computer. So I kept going with it until it was completely perfected, the facial features and the skin texture,” she says. “I was interested in that point—the point of scary—where an individual’s features are altered to the point that they’re not themselves anymore.”


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