GardenShip and State artists Paul Chartrand and Michelle Wilson discuss their practises in conversation with exhibition co-curator Patrick Mahon. 

Paul Chartrand constructs sculptural habitats populated with living agents that operate in animate assemblages. Paul finds inspiration in the blurry definitions of culture and nature; intending for his work to foster dialogue regarding this problematic dichotomy. Paul completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in 2013 and his Master of Fine Arts degree at Western University. He now lives and works along the O:se Kenhionhata:tie (Willow River in Mohawk) also known as the Grand River in Dunnville, Ontario.

Michelle Wilson is an artist and mother currently residing as an uninvited guest on Treaty Six territory in London, Ontario. In her current work, she makes palpable the presence and absence of bison and their inseparability from the land and its people. In the Euro-American archive, bison bodies have been used to convey colonial knowledge systems, and their story of survival has been used to perpetuate myths of “settler saviours”. This is the legacy that Wilson, as a feminist of settler descent studying in colonial institutions, has inherited and is confronting. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Art and Visual Culture at Western University. 

Patrick Mahon is an artist, a writer/curator, and a Professor of Visual Arts here at Western University. He was Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & Humanities at Western for the past 4 years, and has been on faculty in Visual Arts for 26 years. Mahon’s artwork has been exhibited widely, in Canada and internationally. Recent and forthcoming solo and group exhibitions include: Patrick Mahon: Messagers’ Forum, Thames Art Gallery Chatham, On (2020-21); Written on the Earth, McIntosh Gallery, London, ON, curated by Helen Gregory, (group exhibition, 2021); and GardenShip and State, Museum London, London, ON, co-curated by Patrick Mahon and Jeff Thomas, (group exhibition, 2021, and ongoing community projects, beginning 2020). Patrick’s work is included in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections.

This program is in partnership with Western University Department of Visual Arts -Art Now!, Paul Chartran, and Michelle Wilson