2021 Grad Show

Jennifer Danvers

AUArts Grad Show IMG_5559 copy 2


I am a Doukhobor descendant and come from an oral tradition but I was not raised in my heritage. My work as a visual artist unfolds in the space between contemporary environment, mind, body, not-so-distant past(s), ancestral stor(ies), and (most of all) the intergenerational memory that is stored in the body (understanding of self through internal mapping of ancestral experiences stored/passed down through generations of flesh. My body is the body of my grandmother, is the body of my great grandmother, is the body…)

I am obsessed with materiality. A lot of my studio exploration is an intuitive response to textures, movement, and manipulation of materials. I often work through abstract-representation. It all leads back to the body.

The M Series

"The M Series" is a collection of drawings that appropriates the imagery of the matryoshka doll. Removed from its body, the head of the doll acts as a shield to absorb and deflect the gaze of the audience. As a matryoshka doll, the figure is free to explore her environment and space through the body to further feel and understand how various dynamics can support and influence environments. The doll’s movement is a way to connect her body with her mind. It is a way to understand one’s environment, history, and contemporary settings through a body that contains historical, generational memory that has been disassociated from the mind through colonial assimilation.

A [Doukhobor] Way of Life [?]

This work is negotiating family heritage. Recycled materials and layered images with text conveys the dynamics and conditions a historical body remembers instinctively in contrast to its contemporary setting. A historical way of body-knowing based on ancestor’s experiences, the colonial system that interrupted those experiences, and the realization that the perspective does not comply with that of a colonial lens. I am creating a horizon within my studio, one which acknowledges the past while working towards a future that negotiates how to bring the heritage of an oral tradition into the 21st century.

Gr nf rks BC

This work is a landscape of 7615 Boundary Dr in Grand Forks BC. It’s a collage assembled by memory. I have spent this semester looking at how one historical image can contribute to fragmented experiences through generations. This work is looking at a lived experience that has been fragmented over time. This work is taking previous works considering that historical photograph, and using those fragments to construct an environment that has felt the closest to home. Included in the drawing is the most memorable parts of the exterior of the represented environment. Also included is how elusive memory can be when moments which span years blend into one, or how memory will misplace objects and can shift representation.

House on Fire...

"The house is on fire [it was like that when we got here]…" is a studio research project. The title for the documentation of archival traces, process, materials, and manipulation within my studio practice has a two-fold meaning. "The house is on fire..." is in reference to extreme Doukhobor modes of protest. One catalyst for the Doukhobor emigration was a fire which consumed their arms for battle, making them useless as a body of war – how could they fight for the czar if they had nothing to fight with? It is also a word-play on a government house, on a change of word after the Doukhobors immigrated and the Canadian government enforced land-reclamations as the(/some) Doukhobor’s refused to pledge allegiance to the queen.

M Series #2 (The Weird Sisters)

This triptych is a drawing installation of three matryoshka dolls interacting with the boundaries of the paper which contains them. The context and visualization of the text informs, and influences, the shape and movement of the figures. The narrative is a limited third person POV which establishes the reality within the work. The dolls support, contradict, and visualize the impact of representations of that narrative on the body. Each lady embodies and rejects the logic of the boundaries enforced upon them. (This work was made and submitted for consideration to the BMO 1st ART! 2021 Invitational Student Art Competition.)

Matryoshka Dolls

The Matryoshka Doll Series are drawings which negotiates body in place. Growing up, the one object I remember seeing and associating with my family history was the matryoshka doll. The Matryoshka Doll Series is an ongoing investigation of the physicality, narrative, and layers that compose Russian nesting dolls while playing with representation of the matryoshka doll.

The house is like a body...

This work is a research project considering the influence of heritage and environment on behaviours and upbringings as the viewer attempts to navigate themselves through a virtual landscape that never fully materializes into tangible entities. It was through this project that I began to consider alternative ways that home can exist for a person. It was here that I began to understand that, for me, the idea of home exists within movement, adaptation, and resilience - attributes that were developed by my ancestors out of necessity and passed on through generations. These connections were not made until the sale of my grandmother’s house was finalized and I realized I was grieving for that feeling of home that her space provided.

This site may contain artworks with provocative content that some viewers may find uncomfortable or upsetting. AUArts supports a culture of non-censorship and ongoing conversations about contemporary art.