Courtesy of the Artist
Visitors can catch April Dean in the exhibition, borderLINE: 2020 Biennial of Contemporary Art at your AGA from September 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
Featuring 38 artists and collectives across two provinces and five treaty territories, borderLINE calls attention to how borders are defined, who can enforce them, and what is confined by their limits.
borderLINE: 2020 Biennial of Contemporary Art is organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and Remai Modern, and curated by Sandra Fraser, Felicia Gay, Franchesca Hebert-Spence and Lindsey Sharman. Presented by ATB Financial at the Art Gallery of Alberta.
What are you hoping that visitors to the biennial will take away from your work?
I'm still finding this work somewhat difficult to understand myself - through conversations in the studio I know it impacts people in different ways. I think this work points to our complacency about the crises of rampant consumerism and single use plastic and maybe agitates our cynicism. I hope it provokes thoughts around care and neglect. For me it works as a metaphor for a lot of overlapping anxieties and is a visual gesture toward the constant constraints and failures we experience living under capitalism.
What do you think visitors should know about you and your work before they come visit the exhibition?
Over the past five years I have learned, through a lot of quiet observation, to nurture and care for many healthy and thriving houseplants. I have even turned into a very novice but avid gardener. Being in relationship to plants is still relatively new to me but is teaching me a kind of slowness, and paying-attention-to that I hope I can learn to extend elsewhere in my community. Learning to care for plants has made me much more caring in general. All of this to say, I don't make a habit out of torturing plants.
Has the pandemic affected your studio practice? Has it changed how you are thinking about your work, considering that the theme of the exhibition is borders?
I started the precursor to this work two years ago while on a residency at The Banff Centre. That summer I was beginning a new body of work Futures Barren/ Futures Abundant locating the house plant as a site of tension between consumerism and care. It's hard to articulate but I feel like my relationship to...well...almost everything has changed in the past 6 months and my thinking about this work has been deeply impacted. Isolation, quarantine, shrouding every possible surface in protective layers of plastic, is this what the future looks like?
Image courtesy the artist.
From where do you make your work? How does that inform your work/process?
My practice is normally founded in printmaking, and although I haven't been making prints in a traditional sense lately, the logic of printmaking stays with me. I am attracted to repetition and multiples and to the philosophy of abundance and generosity that exists in printmaking methodologies, and more so in printmaking communities. Sharing space and resources is pretty fundamental to most printmaking practices and has often led me to think about the social and institutional conditions necessary for an artistic practice to thrive.