2015-16 Mentorship Program


Claudia Legg

Claudia Legg, "It Sits" (detail), acrylic, paint, wood, lag screws, 30.5" x 22.5" x 2.5", 2015

Claudia Legg, “It Sits” (detail), acrylic, paint, wood, lag screws, 30.5″ x 22.5″ x 2.5″, 2015

Claudia Legg is a Canadian artist based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. They hold a BFA-FA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. Legg uses the theme of isolation (both geographical and psychological) along with a personal history as an outsider (immigrant, queer) to explore the links between body, identity, land and community. Their sculptural and conceptual work co-opts standard industrial materials (house-paint, plywood, sheet metal, Plexiglas, etc.) for queerer purposes.

Legg’s works reference armour, camouflage, safety equipment, disguises, shields, barriers and museological preservation techniques to bring about conversations surrounding the physical and emotional well-being of LGBTQ2 and gender nonconforming communities. Their most recent body of work, Queer Gestures, combined intimate and revealing internal dialogues with a number of sculptural (self-) preservation techniques to unsettle viewers’ expectations and experiences of gender, well-being and endangerment.

As an artist, Legg continues to work as an educator, a witness, a healer and activist for their community.

Alice MacLean

Alice MacLean, "Crouching Figure 2", oil on canvas, 3' x 2', 2011

Alice MacLean, “Crouching Figure 2”, oil on canvas, 3′ x 2′, 2011

Alice MacLean lives and works in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She completed her BFA in painting at NSCAD University. In 2011, she travelled to Paris to study at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Previous to studying Fine Art, she completed a degree in Science at Dalhousie University. Recently, she completed an Artist in Residence in Scotland. While in Scotland, she gained exhibition opportunities in Edinburgh and Glasgow, showing work in both group shows and a solo exhibition. She has recently exhibited her paintings at the Lion & Bright Café, Art Zone Gallery, The Corridor Gallery and shown work online through ArtBomb, a curated website.

“My work aims to convey an emotional presence, exploring an inner reality connected to glimpses of my external reality, with a strong evocation of mood. The images explore people, places, and landscapes that surround me through watercolour and predominantly through using oil paint. The act of recalling a memory, is a disjointed and surreal experience of bringing the past into the present, an ephemeral experience which I explore in paint. My work is reflective, a personal process of investigating the events and scenes around me, as though journaling. Each work is representational of a moment, and aims to question reality by exploring a connection between the formal qualities of abstraction, representation and materiality. The content varies as I investigate the connections between spirituality, the body, and daily instances.”

Sophie Paskins

Sophie Paskins, "Pileated Woodpecker on Orange Box" Pen, pencil, acrylic, household paint on plywood, 24” x 24”, 2013

Sophie Paskins, “Pileated Woodpecker on Orange Box” Pen, pencil, acrylic, household paint on plywood, 24” x 24”, 2013

Originally from the UK, Sophie Paskins moved to Nova Scotia in 2007. Her first Canadian employment was as a part-time admin assistant at the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council (ARCAC) in March 2008. She became the full-time Gallery Director of ARCAC in 2010 and enjoys the many aspects and challenges that come with working for a community arts non-profit. She has managed to maintain some level of ‘art making’ but aspires to establish a regular studio practice alongside her full-time occupation in Arts Administration.

“As an artist, I am influenced by modern design and minimal aesthetic, contemporary palettes and muted tones. Pencil and pen used to be my media of choice but I have recently rediscovered oils. I do not tend to create sketches on paper or generally have a fixed idea of a specific image, rather I just begin and see where it leads. Lately I have been investigating gestural mark making, rendering of shapes, and use of line to suggest movement and a sense of play between flat colour, texture and perspective.”

Anna Taylor

Anna Taylor, "Monkey in the Middle of the Bed", Matchbox, cotton, wool, fur, polymer clay, 2” x 2.5” x 5”, 2012

Anna Taylor, “Monkey in the Middle of the Bed”, Matchbox, cotton, wool, fur, polymer clay, 2” x 2.5” x 5”, 2012

Anna Taylor is an artist, crafter and activist currently living in her hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Taylor turns an anthropological eye towards narratives of sexuality and culture, intertwining a personal mythology with material practice. Traditional form and fabrication are integrally worked into playful objects that subvert norms of sexual representation and delve into mortality. Calling on the extensive history of crafted objects Taylor attempts to rework a visual language to call into question our societal relation to the body and each other.

Anna Taylor graduated from NSCAD U in 2008 and maintains a commitment to the craft and art communities in Halifax. She has sat on the board of the Halifax Crafters Society since 2012. Her work actively seeks to foster queer and feminist dialogues within our creative communities. Often using humor as a tool Taylor hopes to force a crack in your inhibitions with your own sly smile.


James MacSwain

James MacSwain

James MacSwain

James MacSwain was born and raised in the Nova Scotian town of Amherst, received a BA in Literature from Mount Allison University, spent two years in Edmonton studying acting and set design, travelled and in 1973 ended up in Halifax buying a communal house where he has lived ever since. These life experiences served him well as he developed into an arts administrator as a profession, working at the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative and the Centre For Art Tapes. His own creative work was intertwined with these artist-run centres as he gradually focused on animation. This media satisfied MacSwain’s interest in acting, puppetry, Surrealism, satire, enchantment and the politics around gender and class. And of course, the miraculous, as the animator, like all storytellers, breathes life into the dead.  Recently MacSwain has added Book Arts as another main focus. Working  with Joe Laundry in Halifax and Jo Cook of Perro Verlag in BC, he has launched into creating tunnel books, star books and artists’ books.

Ian McKinnon

Ian McKinnon, "Untitled#35", oil on wood panel, diptych, 2x36"x22", 2015 copy

Ian McKinnon, “Untitled#35”, oil on wood panel, diptych, 2 x 36 “x 22”, 2015

Ian McKinnon is a Halifax based artist and educator. He has a BFA from NSCAD (1980) and a MFA from Concordia (1994.) A part-time faculty member, Ian has taught drawing at NSCAD U in the Foundation Division since 2003. After course work at the Atlantic School of Theology (2005/6) Ian transferred to the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College (University of Toronto) where he completed a Master of Theology Studies (2011). His thesis, “Mutual Illumination and the Artist: Dispossession, Disinterested Love and Making Other” is an exploration of and argument for the necessity of theology and contemporary art entering a dialogue. In 2011 Ian resumed his part-time teaching at NSCAD U. March 2014 he became Parish Artist-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Anglican Church (Grand Parade, Halifax) where besides pursuing his own work in a studio graciously provided by the church, he has also established an exhibition program within the church itself. In the past months Ian has been immersed in a new and large cycle of paintings he calls “The Parish House Series.”

Mathew Reichertz

Mathew Reichertz, "Jim", Oil on Polystyrene, 60 x 48 inches, 2008

Mathew Reichertz, “Jim”, Oil on Polystyrene, 60″ x 48″, 2008

Originally from Montreal, Mathew Reichertz completed his BFA at Concordia University and his MFA at NSCAD University. In 2005 Reichertz was the Eastern Canadian winner of the RBC Canadian Painting Competition and in 2006 was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award. He has had numerous exhibitions nationally and his work can be found in a number of institutional collections including the Nova Scotia Art Bank, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Dalhousie Art Gallery. Reichertz’s broad interests are in narrative and contemporary painting. In 2014 He exhibited Garbage, an architectural scale story in the form of a comic at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery. Garbage was also exhibited at the Carlton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, in 2015. He is presently working on a painted installation that is an effort to depict a walk in the park from his dog’s perspective with an emphasis on the canine olfactory experience. In 2006 he became a tenure track member of the Faculty at NSCAD University where he is now an Associate Professor.

Becka Barker

Becka Barker, "Myopiate", still from hand drawn stop-motion animation, 2013.

Becka Barker, “Myopiate”, still from hand drawn stop-motion animation, 2013.

Becka Barker is an interdisciplinary artist and educator in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She uses moving images, drawing, language, and participatory performance as strategies for exploring the influences of mediated communication and geography on self-identification. An important feature of her work is the role of the hand in creating images and experiences; this most often appears in her work as hand-drawn animation, hand-written notes, or hand-processed film. Slowing down production processes by subverting traditional notions of “hand-crafted” in these ways allows her to investigate relationships of power and their embodiment.

Becka’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally at places such as the Ottawa International Animation Festival, EXiS Seoul (where she won Best International Film in 2007), Nocturne Art at Night (Halifax), Images Festival (Toronto), KunstDoc Art Gallery (Seoul), Struts Gallery (Sackville, NB), Echo Park Film Centre (Los Angeles), and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montreal). From 2007-2011, she was visiting faculty of Soon Chun Hyang University (South Korea) in the Film/Animation Department and became an active member of the Seoul Space Cell Experimental Film Collective. Becka has been a regular part-time faculty member in the Media Arts, Design, and Foundation Divisions of NSCAD University since 2005.

Visual Arts Nova Scotia gratefully acknowledges core funding for the Mentorship Program and exhibition from The Robert Pope Foundation and The Craig Foundation. The program is also supported by the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and the Halifax Regional Municipality.