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Maria Hupfield

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Statement

Maria Hupfield’s work extends through performance, installation, sculpture, video, photography, and collage. Her approach draws from Anishinaabe traditions and the history of performance to create actions and objects that function as mediators between the body and the natural or urban environment. Hupfield bases her research on memory, site, and the body, concepts that allow her to probe certain issues relating to boundaries, cultural memory, power, material culture, and identity.

Over nearly ten years, Hupfield has developed a visual language characterised by the use of industrial felt, metallic materials, and organic matter. The malleable objects Hupfield creates from grey or metallic materials, such as clothing and accessories, travel bags, bones, trophies, etc., have come to resonate with various symbols relating to mortality, connectedness to the natural world, primal urges, or the passing on of traditions. The artist wears or carries these sculptural accessories, which, when subsequently exhibited, become witnesses or traces of her performances, themselves acts of physical endurance through repetitive choreographies, or initiatory nature walks, for instance. Hupfield regularly addresses Anishinaabe oral traditions and ritual structures, both of which have a special interest in the role of the audience, and of their sensorial and emotional engagement with the work.

By anchoring herself within the history of North American contemporary Aboriginal art, as well as the history of performance by such artists as Jimmie Durham and Joseph Beuys, Maria Hupfield’s investigation into our presence within the world and of our cultural memory opens up a rich dialogue between western and non-western traditions.

Biography

Maria Hupfield (b. 1975) is a Canadian artist of Anishinaabe (Ojibway) heritage, and a member of the Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario. She holds a BFA with a major in Art History and a minor in Native Studies from the University of Toronto, as well as an MFA from York University. Beyond her teaching experience at these two institutions, she has also taught at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. She is a member of the Social Health Performance Club in New York.

In 2015, her work will be part of a new solo exhibition at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, following exhibitions at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau in 2015 and 2013, and at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in 2011. Several institutions in Canada, the United States and Europe have also included her work and performances in group exhibitions, namely the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, Saint-Jérôme (QC) (2015); theNorth American Native Museum (NONAM), Zurich (2014); the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C. (2013); the Museum of Art and Design, New York (2012); the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe (2011); the McCord Museum, Montréal (2011); and the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2010). In addition, Hupfield recently took part in three major exhibitions dealing specifically with contemporary Aboriginal art, including: Sakahàn. International Indigenous Art (2013), National Gallery of Canada; Beat Nation. Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-2014), Vancouver Art Gallery; and Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Art of the Great Lakes Region (2013-2014), co-produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She was also part of Bronx Calling: Third AIM Biennale (2015) at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, and the ImagineNATIVE Film Festival (2015) in Toronto.

Maria Hupfield has been awarded the {Re}Conciliation (2015) prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2014, she was selected as part of the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) professional development program, sponsored by the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and in 2013, she was a recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant Program. Her works are included in public and private collections throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Maria Hupfield is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau in Montréal. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.