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NODES | Animality and Kinship
Ashley Snook

July 4 - 30, 2022
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 7, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Ashley Snook, a body within a body within a body (detail), 2021-2022. Image courtesy of the artist.

Welcome to the Chthulucene! A place in time that addresses living and dying together on an irreparable earth—a place in time with possibilities, including the possibility of reworlding. Here in the Chthulucene the world is a site of uncertainty and change but also a place of opportunity to look, think, and be, differently.

NODES is an exhibition that emphasizes ongoingness by addressing concepts of animality, kinship and interconnectivity with, and upon, our earth—Terra. Animality in this project is proposed as a holistic term that explores ideas and propositions for restructuring and ameliorating relationships between humans, and between humans and nonhuman species. Within Western theories of animality, nonhuman animals have regularly been considered to have the limiting capacity of being wild, part of nature and separate from, and ultimately below the human. Within this conception, the term animality has been used predominantly by white thinkers to inform what defines nonhuman animals, as well as a way to colonize and oppress peoples. The term animality has also, by contrast, been used to speak of progressive relationships between human and nonhuman species, including with respect to their connection with the environment. This exhibition probes the potential to reframe animality to refocus current perspectives with the goal of mending socio-cultural relationships and supporting environmental remediation.

Collectively, the works in this exhibition invoke transformational spaces as sites of interconnectivity as contexts in which to be present and to explore animality in both divergent and convergent ways. Through this, NODES seeks to decenter humanness, allowing space for contemplation, grief, and imagination through sensorial participation in seeing, smelling, touching, and hearing. The spirit of this exhibition, with its deployment of sculpture, drawing, video, and experiential installation, aims to provide an opportunity for us to reconnect to a sense of animality and the surrounding biosphere by promoting kinship between species, and problematizing current human-centric perspectives. It encourages that through commitment, collaborative efforts, and multispecies alliances, reworlding may become possible.

About the artist

Ashley Snook is an interdisciplinary artist residing in Tkaronto, Ontario. In her practice, Snook examines interconnectivity between human and nonhuman animals, and vegetal/botanical life. Currently, her research and studio work investigates notions of animality. More specifically, her research takes on a historically-informed perspective regarding animality to problematize a spectrum of human-centric, socio-cultural and scientific frameworks. Such frameworks are shown as the hegemonic forces that enabled rampant environmental degradation, racial injustices, and destructive human-animal relationships. The trajectory of her research aims to reconnect a raw sense of intimacy between the human and animal and the surrounding biosphere through drawing, sculpture, and installation. Snook has shown her work nationally, including in exhibitions such as Come Up To My Room at the Gladstone Hotel in 2018 as well as the recent exhibition GardenShip and State at Museum London. She has received various awards during her academic studies including, most recently, a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS). She has also received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (SSHRC) during her MFA at OCAD University in 2015 and 2016. Snook is currently a PhD candidate in the Art and Visual Culture program at Western University and NODES represents her culminating work within the program as her graduate thesis exhibition.

www.ashleysnook.com