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Noise Ghost

Naked bodies on a floating iceberg with northern lights in distance

Noise Ghost

May 28–August 23, 2009

Curated by Nancy Campbell

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

The Noise Ghost is an Inuit poltergeist, an arctic auditory phenomenon of incorporeal guile. This unseen, unbodied noise ghost may announce his haunting visitation by curling around a northern house on a cold quiet night and emitting a small, high-pitched hissing.

“The Noise Ghost circles the igloo and, always the constrictor, wraps the fragile ice in singing folds of death. The hiss susurrates, skitters about the room, swooping on the face of a screaming terrified child. Its high buzz mingles with gasping whispers a low, obscene anticipatory gurgling as of a meat-lusting animal in full slobber. Sometimes you can see the raw noise itself, curling impudently in the cold air.”
– William Gordon Casselman, 2006

This tale is a fitting introduction for the two-person exhibition of Toronto artist Shary Boyle and Cape Dorset artist Shuvinai Ashoona. Boyle is a performance artist, sculptor, painter, and filmmaker whose work provides deeply personal, physiologically moving imagery that recalls the bittersweet fantasy worlds of childhood. Boyle’s projections are whimsical and dynamic, employing obsolete overhead projectors. Works such as Skirmish at Bloody Point (2007) present a delicately layered narrative – both real and imagined – that subtly reveals the struggles of indigenous peoples to establish land claims.

Similarly, Shuvinai Ashoona’s drawings are both personal and dream-like, suggesting altered states of mind and shifting perceptions. Her work ranges from closely observed, naturalistic representations of her Arctic home, to fantastical, monstrous, and strange visions. Her vivid and often inexplicable imagery is disturbing, presenting man-eating beasts, monsters, and dark, fantastical landscapes. Ashoona sources images from both her imagination and residential environs, infusing these with her fascination for horror films, comic books, and television. Ashoona and Boyle’s imagery recalls and articulates the anxieties of life.

Opening Reception

Thursday May 28, 2009, 5pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Media Coverage

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the project support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Title Image: Shuvinai Ashoona, Untitled (Nascopie), 2008-2009. Ink and pencil crayon on paper. Courtesy of Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto.

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