featuring a live collaborative performance with

Meryl McMaster, Under the Infinite Sky, 30” x 45”, Archival Pigment Print on Watercolour Paper, 2015

What better way to launch autumn than with the Canadian premiere of Wanderings, a new photographic series by the prolific Meryl McMaster. And, what better way to open this seminal exhibition than with a collaborative performance art piece, Wandering Together, with the renowned Johannes Zits. Meryl and Johannes considered working collectively over one year ago, and Katzman Contemporary is electrified that this project has come to fruition for its fall season launch.

ON VIEW: September 9 to October 10, 2015

OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, September 9 from 7 – 9 p
Wandering Together begins at 8 p

Johannes Zits, Wandering Together Studio Sand Drawing, 52.75” x 33.75”, digital photograph, 2015

In Wandering Together, Johannes exposes the self-contained element of performance that comprises Meryl’s artistic process. For this collaboration, Meryl ritualistically will paint Johannes’ skin prior to the performance, transferring the energy and spirit from one artist to another. In doing so, binary definitions of gender, culture, and identity (to name a few) are distorted. Johannes will situate himself in the centre of the exhibition space, and respond live to the art and the environment via body painting. A collage of photographs documenting this creative process will be shown together with a video recording of this performance. Johannes’ body painting will be on display as part of this show until September 24 (unless it is prematurely displaced). For further details regarding this opening, please visit our Facebook event page.

Meryl McMaster, Phantom Silence, 18” x 62”, Archival Pigment Print on Watercolour Paper, 2015

Meryl McMaster has been busy! For this year alone, Meryl has work on display in 14 public galleries across Canada and the United States. Currently, her 2010 series, Second Self, is on exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York, and several pieces from this body of work are now part of the gallery’s permanent collection. Meryl’s latest series, Wanderings, is now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, alongside this upcoming exhibition at Katzman Contemporary. She has received accolades in both the Canadian and American press (Magenta Magazine, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Blackflash, Ottawa Citizen, Canadian Art, and an exhibition review in VanityFair.it). Meryl will also be participating in the Canadian Residency program in Detroit later this fall, and already has six exhibitions slated for 2016-2017. She certainly has matured from the emerging artist who graduated from OCADU only five years ago. Katzman Contemporary is proud and honoured to see Meryl reach such exceptional artistic accomplishments since her first show with the gallery in 2011.

Exhibition Statement:

Wanderings is a contemplation of the limitations and possibilities of the self. Tethered as we are to the past, and all that makes us who we are, we look all around seeking a world of boundless possibilities of who we might become. In these images, I walk into this unknown.

Within this series, dreamlike experiences vacillate between the past and the future. The possibility of our selves can be seen through the lens of our child-like nature to be free from restrictions – we can be the person we dream of if only we will it. Meanwhile, tension arises as the inescapable factors that make us who we are – our past, our circumstance, and our genes – can sometimes anchor us to a contrasting certainty.

The themes in these images are those related to wandering – to exploring the unknown. Imaginary creatures act as guides and protectors through this journey, with birds specifically recurring as a motif within many of the images. As voyagers of the sky, a place representing opportunity and possibility without limits, they provide me with new eyes to see the world from a new vantage point, and to see beyond my normal scope. The wandering soul in each image is a metaphor for a life in which we discover things both new and different that contribute to experiences that may not immediately make sense, but eventually becomes clearer as we grow older.” – Meryl McMaster (2015)

Wanderings is an exceptional series of work that engages with cross-cultural mythology as it relates to the concept of the “Canadian identity.” While previous bodies of work have established Meryl’s exploration of two contrasting, but interrelated worlds, the work in Wanderings converges on the personal journey she has undertaken within these realms.

Meryl McMaster Biography:
Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree member of the Siksika Nation, British, and Dutch) is an Ontario-based artist, and a BFA graduate from OCAD University, Toronto. Her work explores questions of identity, representation, perception, myth, memory, and the environment; it unravels identity and subjectivity as something that is never complete, but always in process, and invariably formed from within. She is the recipient of the Charles Pachter Prize, the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the Canon Canada Prize, and the OCAD Medal. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions throughout Canada and the United States, and has been acquired by various public collections including: the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Donovan Collection.

Johannes Zits Biography:
Toronto artist Johannes Zits’ multi-disciplinary practice focuses on the many meanings engendered by the body. He draws attention to conventional image making, and how mass media images are disseminated and consumed. In working with the natural environment, Johannes extends the notion of the performer to include nature itself. Considering nature as an equal ensures that it can be neither construed as a passive prop nor adored and fixed in the realm of the sublime.

Since graduating with a BFA from York University in 1984, Johannes has presented work across Canada as well as internationally. In 2013, Zits performed at the 8th Encuentro, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and presented a collection of his videos at Le festival international du film sur l’art, Montreal. In 2014, he presented variations on the performance “Island” at the M:ST Festival, Calgary, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, and at Meta 2014, Chongqing.


For additional information, or to inquire about this exhibition, preview opportunities, and/or general gallery questions, please contact us at info@katzmancontemporary.com.