Oxygen Art Centre is excited to be hosting Vancouver-based visual artist, educator and organizer Justin Langlois, who will be in Nelson this summer as our artist-in-residence followed by an exhibition.
Langlois has a BA Honours in Communication Studies and an MFA in Visual Arts / Integrated Media both from the University of Windsor in Ontario.
He is the recipient of many grants including Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. He is the co-founder and research director of Broken City Lab, the founder of The School of Eventual Vacancy and the curator of the The Neighbourhood Time Exchange. He is also the lead artist on Locals Only with AKA Artist-Run in Saskatoon funded by the Canada Council of the Arts New Chapter initiative. He is currently an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Integrated Learning in the Faculty of Culture and Community at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Justin Langlois will be in residence at the Oxygen Art Centre from August 20-24th where he will be interviewing select participants around the nature of disagreement for his proposed project, Conflict Studies. In conjunction with this project, Torchlight Brewing Company is bottling a Conflict Brew special beer for the month of August. The beer will have a blank label in which the participants will be invited to embellish with their own text or design during their interview. Langlois takes an interesting view on disagreement, noting.“The act of disagreement is a core part of everyday life, so learning to disagree is a civic exercise. Disagreement is difference. And difference is the spark of civic life.” Through this project, Langlois hopes to encourage community members to indulge in challenging conversations, with text-based artworks and documentation displayed for the month of September in the gallery.
The Exhibition, Conflict Studies opens with a reception for the artist on Friday, August 24th from 7-9 p.m., with an artist talk to follow on Saturday, August 25th at 2 p.m. The exhibition will then run from August 25th to the end of the month, closing with Cultural Days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 28th, 29th and 30th. Gallery hours are Wednesday thru Saturday from 1- 5 p.m. Oxygen Art Centre located in the alley way behind Hipperson’s Hardware, at 320 Vernon Street.
Langlois often draws on conversation, social interaction, and the format of the interview to generate new work. As Vancouver’s inaugural artist in residence, in 2016-17, Langlois focused on key social, environmental and political issues facing the city at the time, culminating in a giant neon sign reading, SHOULD I BE WORRIED? installed near Olympic Village along False Creek.
Typical, across much of his art practice, Langlois uses text-based signage installed in public spaces, hopes to inspire diverse possibilities and ways of thinking. His clever signage and text draws from slogans, everyday expressions, and advertising campaigns, inverting or distorting the text to offer new expressions that grow in depth as one ponders them. His works are often installed outside the confines of the gallery space catching the viewer off guard and thus drawing unconscious material and associations to the surface. This sort of tapping into the collective subconscious is akin to spotlighting the elephant in the room and leaves an uncanny presence in the mind the unsuspected passerby.
Working outside the white cube allows Langlois’s work to reach an audience that may or may not enter a gallery space and places his art in a broader, more civic context.