Traversing the line, with no fixed point // Briana Palmer

Traversing the line, with no fixed point. Mixed media installation by Briana Palmer. Image courtesy of the artist.

Event Details

Exhibition Dates:
Thursday January 9th – Friday February 7th, 2020

Opening Reception: Thursday January 9th, 5-8 pm
Artist will be in attendance

Artist Talk: Saturday January 11th, 2pm

ASL interpretation available by request. Requests must be submitted by 5pm on November 13th by emailing or calling 204-779-6253.

These events are free to attend and open to the public.

Traversing the line, with no fixed point uses various printmaking methods and mixed media to question the use and position of the railway system in national memory and history. It can be a reminder of one’s heritage, while for others it is a symbol of slavery, genocide, and colonization. In this exhibition the artist creates a fictional world with objects in constant flux of meaning and interpretation.


Briana Palmer lives in Hamilton Ontario, and teaches in the studio arts program at McMaster University. Originally from the West Coast, Briana received her BFA from the Alberta Collage of Art and Design and MFA from the University of Alberta. Her primary practice is in printmaking, sculpture and installation; creating works that reflect an intersection between perception, experience, and social ideologies taken from her own cultural practices, up-bringing and daily experiences. Using unusual combinations of media and materials, she arranges enchanted worlds where the objects and images are transported from their original source, relocating their history, and becoming poised between the uncertainly of what we know and understand, and what must be reconsidered.

Palmer’s works have been exhibited in Canada, U.S and Europe. Her prints are in the collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Southern Graphics Council International, and the University of Alberta.

Artist Statement:

I question the intersections between perception, experi- ence, and social ideologies of my own cultural practices and upbringing.

Traversing the line, with no fixed point is the title for this body of work, and it encapsulates various prevailing ideolo- gies by neither denying nor allowing one fixed meaning, but cultivating an experience of constant flux instead. The main component of this work is the “Iron horse,” a railway system that runs through the installation. The use of the railway has been part of society’s cultural fabric for more than a century, and for many it evokes personal memories and experiences. It can be a reminder of one’s heritage, or bring to mind posi- tive history like the daunting feat of binding nations while for others, it is the symbol of the diabolical underbelly of human experience through, slavery, genocide and coloniza- tion.

Within this railway system, a fictional world has been cre- ated that is comprised of various biomorphic components of various sizes in print ceramics and drawings. These forms are punctuated by a multiplicity of miniature narrative assemblages that are made from collected found objects (both natural and human-made) and handmade elements. Similar narrative elements are also echoed in numerous col- lages. These miniature 2D and 3D tableaux are the result of a practice of collecting bricolage and are imbued with nos- talgia, societal values and the detritus of a media saturated culture.

The recontextualisation and juxtaposing of the objects as a narrative strategy points to a flux of meaning and inter- pretation as the objects and images are transformed from their original context, relocating their history. This poses these objects between uncertainty and new possibilities of meaning. While the narratives constructed in these minia- tures seem whimsically surreal on first viewing, it is impor- tant for them to be regarded within a social and historical framework.

Date and Time

Jan 09, 2020Feb 07, 2020, 5:00 PM - 5:00 PM