Winter 2023 Artist Talk explores globalization, grief and renewal

The River is a mixed-media installation and solo exhibition by artist Gu Xiong, who will be the first speaker of the Winter 2023 Artist Talk Series.

The 2023 Winter Artist Talk Series at North Island College is welcoming a trio of artists: Gu Xiong, Michelle Nguyen and Helen Utsal.

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their creative art practice and their personal story as to how they maintain a thriving career in art.

“Each professional artist must learn how to navigate the infrastructure of the visual art world,” said Sara Vipond, NIC Fine Art faculty member and series coordinator. “This means learning how to develop a robust studio practice, discovering their own voice within arts-based research, cultivating relationships with fellow artists and curators as well as creating successful applications for grants, exhibitions and residencies.”

The series launches Thursday, January 26 with critically acclaimed international multimedia artist, Gu Xiong, whose practice centres on the creation of a hybrid identity arising from the integration of different cultural origins.

The second lecture takes place Thursday, February 16 with oil painter Michelle Nguyen. Nguyen’s work explores processing various forms of grief with a goal of encouraging the viewer to think and speak openly about human mortality and acknowledge death as an inevitable reality. She believes that the act of grieving is essential for the process of healing.

The series wraps on Thursday, March 9 with local artist and landscape painter Helen Utsal, who uses time in nature as a critical aspect of her inspiration and practice — a space for meditation, creation and renewal. Her work focuses on reflecting the impressions of nature and the feelings of wonder, awe, magic and possibilities.

“The three artists chosen for the winter 2023 series not only have unique approaches to using visual mediums to explore different topics but have also been on very different journeys as they’ve developed their practice,” said Vipond. “It’s an honour to be able to welcome these three artists to NIC this term.”

Each Artist Talk lecture takes place at the Stan Hagen Theatre at NIC’s Comox Valley campus. The lecture begins at 7pm and is free to attend.

For more information on the Artist Talk series, visit:

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