New Maps of Paradise will chart, in an intentionally ambiguous fashion, the creative practices of Calgary artists Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton. Eric + Mia as they are more commonly known, have worked in the Calgary arts community, singularly since the early 2000s, and collaboratively since 2001. Eric’s practice emerged from the theatre and performing arts communities and he was an organizing force with Bubonic Tourist and such events as the Mutton Busting Festival. Mia was immersed in drawing and contemporary craft practices, particularly textiles. Their projects consistently animate specific communities and engage participants as collaborators and citizens in playful politics. New Maps of Paradise will meander through their ongoing collaborative research into urbanism, humour in art, theatre and performance, contemporary craft-based practices, and the professionalization and economics of the art industries.
New Maps of Paradise at the Nickle Galleries is Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton first major solo museum show. The exhibition loosely borrows its curatorial tactics from cultural geography and ethnology, which are prevalent throughout the artists’ working processes as well. Its design will thematically map the artists’ interdisciplinary practices through their community and narrative networks. New Maps of Paradise will comprise archival material, past works, ephemera, incomplete ideas and at least one new work. The gallery will be divided into sections, the map, the archive, the collection and storage using idiosyncratic display strategies. A field guide will accompany the exhibition.
Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton are award winning interdisciplinary visual artists, facilitators and community organizers. By combining the playfulness of childhood chums with the scrutiny of ethnographers, they create community-specific, relational and participatory works that invite audiences to become active agents in the creation of community. During the last seven years, Moschopedis and Rushton have developed a collaborative practice that operates in both gallery and post-gallery contexts. As visual artists, their work crosses disciplinary boundaries and utilizes various materials and processes. They bring together elements of craft, performance, printmaking and cultural geography to create playful, but highly critical projects. Thematically their work is concerned with mapping communities—collecting and processing overlooked “information,” and investigating everyday systems of organization—noticing those things that structure citizens’ experiences of their urban environments. Moschopedis and Rushton’s projects, workshops, artist talks and lectures have been presented in formal and DIY festivals, galleries and post-secondary institutions throughout North America and in Europe.
Diana Sherlock is a Canadian independent curator, writer and educator whose research and curatorial projects create opportunities for contemporary artists to produce new work in response to specific collections, contexts, histories and cultures of display. Recent projects include: In the making (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Kenderdine College Art Galleries, 2014/15); Folly: Château Mathieu (Esplanade Art Gallery, Nickle Galleries, 2009–14). Current research projects include: tracing the parallel histories of West German ceramics (Ricardo Okaranza: Un Certain Regard, Berlin 2010) and the Medicine Hat clay industries; and the text, “Capitalizing on Community: The Makerspace Phenomenon.” Sherlock has published over 60 texts in gallery catalogues and contemporary art journals including Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, CMagazine, FUSE, Blackflash, Ceramics Art and Perception (Sydney, Australia), Artillery (Los Angeles/New York) and The Calgary Herald. She teaches critical theory and professional practice in the School of Critical + Creative Studies at the Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary.