GradEx 105 | OCADU

June 20, 2020

OCAD U & Propeller Art Gallery presents DRAWING & PAINTING CLASS OF 2020 GRADEX105 SHOW

OCAD U Drawing & Painting GradEx 105 is an online juried exhibition featuring 46 works from the 2020 graduating Drawing and Painting students. Launching our first online exhibition with OCAD U seems apropos at this time considering that Propeller was founded in 1996 by a group of recent grads from OCA to seek public exhibition opportunities in Toronto. Please support these emerging Artists! See Online Catalogue below.


Tania Costa, Heejae Jo, Behrad Motekallem, Par Nair, Neil Padaloy, Leah Probst

The GradEx 105 exhibition was curated by Propeller Members: Lisa Johnson AOCA, Joseph Muscat AOCA OSA and Frances Patella BFA, B.ED

Exhibiting Artists: Kelly Anne Besmonte, Christie Carriere, Tristan Coloma, Jazmin Cordon-Ibanez, Tania Costa,
Paige Dawdy, Callie DeWees, Zoe Eisenstat, Kayla Ferreira, Sadaf Ganjavi, Emily Gillies, Aynsley Grealis, Emily Grybas, Emily Hwang, Blair Immink, Sarah Jefferies, Heejae Jo, Suhani Karani, Jina Kim, Esther (Do Yeon) Kim, Francisco Lethbridge, Zhuangyuan Lin, Clara Lynas, Claudia Menecola, Anna Min, Jordan Monck, Behrad Motekallem, Par Nair, Ehiko Odeh, Neil Padaloy, Kais Padamshi, Kristin Palombo, Leah Probst, Alysha Rocca, Madelyn Rotella, Madison Rudin, Kathleen Rumney, Jim Russell, Sam Serrano, Maya Skarzenski , Chelsea Smith, Zachary Warne, Kaile Ward, Ani Armani Yaghubian, Sarah Zoccano , and Emily Zou.

The GradEx 105 exhibition was curated by Propeller Members: Lisa Johnson AOCA, Joseph Muscat AOCA OSA and Frances Patella BFA, B.ED

GRADEx 2020 Introductory Essay from the Chairs of Drawing and Painting

Ilene Sova – Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting & Julius Manapul – Associate Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting

After some uniquely creative brainstorming, this year’s Drawing & Painting catalogue committee decided that they wanted to use the symbol of a circle to represent their class and their final year together in the studios at OCAD U.

As you hold this catalogue, you will see a series of circles extracted from the dynamic digital images of the student’s work, arranged in a gorgeous pattern of textures, colour and shapes.

A circle for these students represented the community, collectivity, and support that they had formed with one another and their faculty. In their design session, they spoke to the extraordinary meaningful co-working environment that they formed over the year. Through the circle, they wanted to express that unity, togetherness and collectivity, that formed amongst their classmates in the final year of their undergraduate degree.

The circle you will see in this catalogue, also fantastically appeared in many of their finished projects. Students painted on circular canvas shapes, textiles were sewn into painted circular sculptures and complex textured circles, also emerging in abstract paintings and collages.

At this time, it is important to note that this year’s graduating Drawing and Painting students of OCAD U have pulled through these challenging times our world is facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With their campus closing four weeks before they were to finish their year, the class was scattered across the globe; sequestered to makeshift at home studios with no chance to say goodbye or be in their final critique with one another.

In these hard times artists, who are the creators, problem-solvers, and future thinkers of our communities, are needed more than ever to ground us all. Artists will be the ones to navigate our new perspectives in life, giving us a vision into future and forward-thinking possibilities.

These are the qualities that the 2020 Graduating Artists have presented us. Through their talents, persistence, and incontestable hard work, they are pushing us through 2020 with a deeper understanding of the world we live in. Their work challenges us all to move forward globally in unity and with the utmost empathy.

This catalogue celebrates these diverse creators from different perspectives of life, who look at the world in a critical lens beyond gender, ability, race, nationalities, age, and the possible unknown horizon, as they come full circle to the end of their undergrad and into their new lives as emerging artists.

Ilene Sova – Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting Julius Manapul – Associate Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting

GRAD EX 2020 Introductory Essay from the Students of Drawing and Painting

af-fin-i-ty (noun) A collection of relationships to others, space, and objects. The spontaneous moment of empathy towards someone or something.

“Bound in a building with an affinity to the land, the studio and our peers.”

Countless hours of research and production have been applied in the short eight months of the 2019-2020 year. We have been constantly learning and working towards our final art pieces but we have not gotten to this point alone. Our peers have generously gifted a helping hand whenever it was needed. Never hesitating to respond with feedback and lacking the fear of honesty because growth in an artwork has always been the priority. Affinity has been a major theme in our discussions this year, along with the symbol of the circle. We connect the circle with reciprocity, our orbital energies being released from ourselves and returning with other collective opinions. We have seen this come through in the recent events of COVID-19 and the impacts it has had on our graduating class. But we are profoundly reminded of how important our community is in this moment and how leaning on each other for support, guidance and love is key to maintaining a new sense of normal.

We acknowledge the privilege of being able to create in this institution. We acknowledge the privilege of access to the history of the building and the land. We acknowledge the privilege of gathering in this space and time and interacting with all the individuals who have influenced our art in positive ways. We acknowledge the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe, and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand and create.

The Catalogue Committee

Special thanks to our community partners, donors, and supporters. 

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