University of Calgary

Dick Averns

  • Sessional Instructor

Dick Averns

The content of my multidisciplinary practice recalibrates the commodification of space: probing how spaces are valued, bought, sold, bartered, exchanged or fought over.  Work is disseminated via sculpture, performance, installation, lens-based media, and writing on art and culture: invariably exploring socio-political themes and often as public art. In 2009 I was embedded with troops in the Middle East; the first time Canada has deployed a non-fiction writer as an official war artist. Additional thematic examples found in my work include environmental issues such as water and energy, and mental health.

In my teaching I work between both studio and art history, including entry level and intermediate studio courses in sculpture and drawing, and art history and humanities classes covering 20th century art history, performance and installation, and contemporary art and design. Senior classes include studio sculpture, drawing and critical studio practices, plus Canadian art history, and seminars in contemporary sculpture, and art theory. As a teaching philosophy I deploy a range of performative pedagogies and aim to ensure students have fun whilst learning.

Significant exhibitions include the national touring show Terms of Engagement: Averns, feldman-kiss, Stimson (Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Agnes Etherington Art Gallery, and Esker Foundation); the Brick + Mortar International Video Art Festival (curated by Denise Markonish, Mass MoCA); Revolver (University of Manitoba’s Gallery One One One); Ambivalence Blvd (multiple sites and solo show at Vernon Public Art Gallery); and Art & Activism (YYZ).

Notable published articles I have authored include “War + Peace: Monument and Counter-Monument” in the On Site Review, “War Art in the Face of The Project for The New American Century: A Postmodern Rake’s Progress” in Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration, Convergence, and “In Deference of a New Diabolique” for the major international group exhibition and catalogue Diabolique.

My work has been exhibited, performed and presented in Canada, the US, Australia, the UK and the Middle East. Support has been received from a wide range of funders including the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development and Calgary Allied Arts Foundation. I was born in England, have studied and Parsons and the Wimbledon School of Art, and received an MFA from UBC in 2003. From 2004-2015 I taught at the Alberta College of Art + Design and commenced teaching at the U of C in fall 2015. When not teaching, writing, or making art I like to run, cross-country ski, and grow food in my back yard.


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