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Artist Talk + Book Launch | Nic Wilson| Umbrella Projects

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Photograph of a white book with red pages whose cover is patterned with dotted red lines standing upright in a butter yellow void

Umbrella Projects is proud to announce the launch of Learn Spelling,a new artist’s book by Nic Wilson.

Please join Nic Wilson and Leah Garnett on Saturday June 19th at 2pm ADT for a Zoom conversation about the project. To register, please click here.

Named after the menu item that allows you to train your computer to acknowledge certain words, the book uses a collection of unrecognized terms from the artist’s writings as a springboard for a larger investigation into how a living language evolves. Examples in the book - queer slang, loan words, Indigenous place and nation names, Arab and Japanese names, as well as terms specific to art theory - reveal a Eurocentric bias in Word Processing applications. They also double as an inadvertent diary of the artist’s writing.

Hand-bound in an edition of 100 copies, the title features a collection of

autobiographical anecdotes alongside observations and examples of the way “written English is used as a tool to create and legitimize some world views and negate others.”

The same book stacked on top of itself; one copy upside down to show the back cover. The front is patterned with dotted red lines and the back cover has a cluster of rainbow stickers. Both lay on a yellow surface.

Nic Wilson (he/they) is an artist and writer who was born in the Wolastoqiyik territory now known as Fredericton, NB in 1988. He graduated with a BFA from Mount Allison University, Mi’kmaq territory, in 2012, and an MFA from the University of Regina, Treaty Four Territory, in 2019 where he was a SSHRC graduate fellow. In 2021, they were one of the long-listed nominees from the Prairies and the North for the Sobey Art Award. Their work often engages time, queer lineage, and the distance between art practice and literature. Their writing has appeared in publications such as BlackFlash Magazine, Headlights Anthology, and PUBLIC.

Leah Garnett is an artist who lives and works on unceded, ancestral Mi'kmaq land in Sackville, New Brunswick where she is an Associate Professor in the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University. Garnett is a member of two artist collectives, Hermes Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia and The Red Head Gallery in Toronto, Ontario. She has exhibited primarily in Canada and attended residencies at the Sirius Art Centre, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, the MacDowell Colony, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and Struts Gallery.

Umbrella Projects is a year-long collaboration between Owens Art Gallery and Struts, designed to assist artists during COVID to realize projects outside of the confines of the gallery space.


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