Annie MacDonell: The Beyond Within

8 October 2021 to 6 February 2022

Curated by Crystal Mowry and Leila Timmins 

Organized and produced in partnership with the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa

As a surface with only one side, the Mobius strip resists orientation. To trace its surface is to experience left becoming right, outside flipping in, and time assuming the shape of an infinite loop. While its perimeter is defined, it is the twist in the loop that prevents predictability. Within static institutions and other familiar containers, is it possible to experience a similar twist – a radical detour – that encourages us to build our worlds anew?

Underpinned by feminist conceptions of the everyday as a basis for political engagement with the world, The Beyond Within proposes strategies for reorientation. In two videos made in collaboration with Paris-based artist Maïder Fortuné, pedagogical roles are underwritten by radical forms of intimacy. OUTHERE (For Lee Lozano) incorporates documentation from a 1971 lecture at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design alongside archives and an astrological reading to give form to an influential recluse: the late conceptual artist Lee Lozano. In Communicating Vessels, friendship and artmaking become productive, if precarious, portals through which to escape the isolation of the self.

Psychedelic experience as a means to dissolve the ego and yield new models of collectivity is central to the new installation, Set and Setting. This work is informed by historical and contemporary psychedelic trials performed within research settings. Juxtaposing animated drawings sourced from early trial documents and architectural sets that recall institutional examination rooms, Set and Setting suggests that the boundary between subject and viewer is not only thin, but porous and continuously shifting. 

By making use of radical and lateral modes of thinking and storytelling, MacDonell affirms how art can be both a necessary clarifier and serve as an essential tool in world building.

Funded with the support of KWAG's Women of Influence for Women's Art, the Allan MacKay Curatorial Fund and the Musagetes Fund at Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation.

Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation logo for The Musagetes Fund

Premier Exhibitions Sponsor

Sun Life Financial logo with the tagline Making the Arts More Accessible

Maïder Fortuné and Annie MacDonell, still from Communicating Vessels, 2020. Digital video, 31 minutes. Courtesy of the Artists.