Artist talk: Alison James

Image: detail of animation components from Cut, by Alison James. Screen printed papercut stop-motion animation, 0:05, 2015.

Event Details

Join us on Saturday November 16th at 2pm for an artist talk with Alison James. This artist talk is presented in conjunction with her exhibition, The In-Betweens, which runs from November 1 to December 5, 2019.

ASL interpretation at the talk can be provided by request. Requests must be submitted by 5pm on November 13th by emailing or calling 204-779-6253. This event is free and open to the public.


Alison James is a multidisciplinary artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In her research-based practice, she utilizes the technical processes of printmaking and animation to investigate the reconstructive nature of autobiographical memory and personal identity. Alison holds a BFA Honours degree from the University of Manitoba and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Past exhibitions and screenings include I Had a Feeling, Atelier Presse Papier, Trois-Rivières, QC (2016), Gimli Film Festival, Gimli, MB (2015), Les Sommets du cinéma d’animation, Montreal and Québec City, QC (2014) and Animasivo, Mexico City, Mexico (2014). Alison has participated in residencies at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Frans Masereel Centrum, and Atelier Graff.

The artist would like to thank the School of Art at the University of Manitoba for their support.


Artist Statement:

We are what we remember. This notion troubles me. In the last number of years, I have come to realize that the majority of my episodic memories, and thus my life narrative, are tied to documentation — photographs, home videos, and verbal storytelling. What does this mean, when such records are created and presented in a way that makes life seem to largely consist of a string of joyful experiences — smiling faces partaking in celebrations, vacations, holidays?

My recent work converges on the in-betweens — personal episodic memories that do not conform to life scripts documented in my family’s archive. Through screen printing and stop-motion animation, I endeavour to reconstruct strong episodic memories that share three common threads; they do not exist in the form of material record nor were they relayed to me as a story, I seldom shared them, if at all, and most notably — they possess a significant emotional charge. What does it take to encode such a memory, I wonder? Are they truer than those connected to documentation? More meaningful?

When recalling a memory, it is impossible to conjure a perfectly preserved experience. Rather, we reconstruct the past from a personal present, introducing errors and imbuing the memory with our present-day mood, values and outlook on life. I meditate on memory reconstruction through screen printing: a highly deliberate technique that involves  composing an image, deconstructing it to create layers, then reassembling it through the printing process. Animation breathes life into these constructions, seeking to conjure the elusive core of the memory — emotion.


Want to learn more about episodic memories? Click here to listen to The In-Betweens, an essay by Alison James on Monkey Sparrow (begins at 09:13). Monkey Sparrow is a weekly radio show hosted by hannah_g on CKUW 95.9 FM.

View James’ website at

Date and Time

Nov 16, 2019, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM