Jen O'Connor | The Unified Field


The Unified Field, 2020 

Watercolor, Acrylic, Print 

Work pending completion will be complete by October 7th 2020

The horse is a powerful beast. Universally the we see the horse as a beautiful free creature operating without restraint and in their glory. But, through the work of early ancestors we domesticate this useful animal which is undoubtedly why numerous groups of humans have been able to survive in face of an inhospitable natural world. Their labor in building the kingdom of man is what has allowed humans to develop in the industrious and creative ways we have, and can be acknowledged for why we are now blessed with abundance in the developed world. 

In the Old Testament we encounter four men riding the horses of pestilence, famine, war and death. A mysterious scroll, unable to be opened by any beings present in the Holy Kingdom, was released by a seven eyed goat who removed the ribbon with his nose. The horses released are not bringing these terrors by themselves but being directed by riders. 

Since the Neolithic Revolution over 10,000 years ago we have collectively experienced a change that affected all those living at the time and who have come thereafter. Our changing relationship to our environment was supplemented by our ability to harness the energy of horse and later develop machines. Places with more rapid technological advancements have profited from the conquering of territories, farming and the development agricultural systems to support an ever growing population. All advancements and solutions have side effects and our transition from hunter gathers to agriculture societies experienced major changes including the ability to support a larger population, hierarchical arrangements and the practice of slavery.

The second element of this work is pattern. A theory found in quantum mechanics is that of the Unified Field, a theory seeking to understand the subtle vibrations that encompass all of life. The absence of pattern at the center of the work is a channel, one from where we can insert our individuality. A space in which to align ourselves and extrapolate our deepest truths in relation to the whole. In the face of the suffering we need to understand more deeply enter our selves to understand humanity. We must acknowledge our presence as a result of history and work to dismantle personal and collective traumas which only perpetuate needless suffering. 



Garbage Conglomorate Theater // Trash Talk // The Peep Show // How to Destroy Video

I want to add the work that I was engaged in during my last two years at ECUAD. I was developing documentation of my sculptural assemble which uses only garbage and found materials. I returned to painting in order to complete The Unified Field work, but the demo reel found in the link above will give you a better idea of my sculptural and film practice

By limiting my use of materials to garbage I demonstrate the emergent properties of these materials as well as to inquire into the necessity of the continued production of new materials. I animate sets to create video productions that often deal with satirical representations of mainstream media or that question the status quo and customs of society.

Please visit my website for more detailed descriptions of individual artworks.


Haley Bassett

This project was awarded the Opus Art Supplies Graduation Award (BFA), and received an Honourable Mention for the Vancouver Art Attack Award

Haley Bassett is a Métis and Austrian-Russian visual and social practice artist from Dawson Creek, BC. She was born in 1991 to cattle-rancher parents, and now lives and works in Sunset Prairie, BC. She completed her BFA in Visual Art from Emily Carr University, minoring in Social Practice and Community Engagement in May 2020.

As part of her social practice, Bassett founded the Northern Arts – Community Development Program in 2019, in partnership with the Dawson Creek Art Gallery. This program is designed to alleviate barriers to artistic professional development in the Peace Region. As part of this program she writes a weekly arts column, teaches and organizes workshops, as well as curates and organizes art exhibitions in public venues.

Bassett started out as a painter; however, her practice is now focused on sculpture and social practice. Her visual work explores how time, place, family histories and personal traumas converge as formational aspects of the self. She use floral motifs and natural materials, including dried and fresh flowers, to create these coded narratives by drawing on the Victorian tradition of floriography (the language of flowers), the cultural significance of certain plants as well as her personal associations with them. Much of Bassett’s work celebrates the culture and landscape of the Peace Region, and she hopes to make a positive impact on northern communities by representing them authentically in her work.


Instagram: @haley.bassett

Aurora Quinlan | In Movement

Materiality and Connection; The Intertwining of Meaning through a Multitude

During my final year at Emily Carr, I began exploring my work through the connection and materiality each piece has in relation to the pieces around it. Though I work mainly with painting, I felt as though materiality and the inclusion of many kinds of materials were important for my final year. Every artwork has a relationship to the artist and its audience, but also with the works which accompany it on the wall and the materials in which they are all created from. While my original intention was to be able to explore the connection different works have when in conversation on a wall, the connection of these pieces has morphed and grown, even without their intended installation form. This display, while not what I had originally envisioned for my final piece, has been able to create connection and new meaning through the circumstances.

The Connection of Individuals

The Connection of Individuals shows the beginnings of what was intended to be my graduation piece, but due to the unforeseen circumstances we have all had to face, it has become a project all of its own. I now see it as the beginning of a new way to think through painting in my practice. In this, I am focusing on not only each individual piece but on how they interact and connect with one another, through material, colour and installation. While I was unable to fully explore the installation portion of this collection, I will continue to investigate these ideas in future projects, and I am grateful for what these pieces have taught me. The connection between art and ourselves will always be there, no matter the circumstances, and I intend on continuing my pursuit of this connection.

In Movement

In Movement is a diptych, which was intended to be connected with most, if not all, of the pieces from The Connection of Individuals and installed in order to create a conversation and collaboration, and a final unified piece. Due to the circumstances, and the lack of installation ability, this project grew apart from The Connection of Individuals, and into something separate from its original intention. This diptych has changed and developed into the expression of the feelings of abruptly finishing a degree, moving back to my childhood hometown, and leaving a life I was not prepared to leave. Just as many other people, my life was quickly uprooted and I had to readjust to life in my childhood hometown, far from everything I had grown to know in my adult life. The circumstances in which myself and many of my peers experienced prompted me to finish these piece in relation to the situation, rather than try and make them what I had originally intended them to be. The making of these pieces began before any of us knew what was about to happen and finished in a different province and in a changing world. Though In Movement is not what I originally thought it would be, I feel these works changed and grew into what they needed to be, as did I.


Aurora Quinlan grew up in Alberta and moved to Vancouver in order to attend Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She is now one of the BFA graduates of 2020, who majored in Visual Arts and minored in Art and Text. She is working towards receiving her MFA in Visual Arts. Quinlan aspires to be a university professor in the Visual Arts field as well as maintaining her own art practice so that she can continue creating her own work while teaching and encouraging aspiring artists to pursue their passion.

Mackenzie Colby | Tantalizing Secretions

This project received an Honourable Mention for the Opus Art Supplies Graduation Award (BFA)

Zappitude (2020)

48” x 48” x 7”

Hand tufted rug circles, feathers, plaster shaped in vintage soap molds, stuffed unicorn horn, foam, yarn, Nanny’s lace, Molly’s sweater, Laurence’s tealight cups, Mom’s corks, Molly’s bath mat, fabric, non-slip grip mat, faux fur, polyfill, spray paint, acrylic, oil, Albertan beeswax, paper mache clay, moldable plastic, cardboard, foam mat strips


In these detail photos, I hope you will get a glimpse of what this painting is like in its true, tangible form. Zappitude is both physically and visually hefty. It’s important to me that viewers are able to search for details and moments that intrigue, excite, perplex or disgust them. Reflecting the process, my paintings desire presence.


Zappitude develops from an organic art making process that relies on my relationship to my materials. I start with a collection of things. Some are given to me by friends or family members; some pieces have lived with me for a decade. I begin with no known ending so that the painting can become something with me. In time, I alter, conceal and transform these things, and they begin to relate to each other, contrasting texture, form and space. As I work, I use plaster and wax to create my own objects that accompany the found ones. Feeling the process, I make unlanguaged decisions that collectively dictate the result.

Nightwalk (2019)

38" x 52"

Thrifted yarns, laces and fabric, polyfill, oil paint, paper pulp clay, homemade oil stick, plaster

Nightwalk Detail (2019)

38" x 52"

Thrifted yarns, laces and fabric, polyfill, oil paint, paper pulp clay, homemade oil stick, plaster


Artist Statement

My name is Mackenzie Colby and I am a recent BFA graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Currently based outside of Seattle, Washington, I am at the beginning of my career as an emerging artist. Making work is important to me as a human-animal who thrives in the experience of life, aesthetics, and expression. My practice is based on material relationships and intuitive decision-making that I recognize as similar to the sentient creative ability of non-human animals. I’m interested in stereotypically feminine/natural approaches to “reasoning” that are historically thought of as invalid in the logic-driven patriarchal system of Western society.


My work is important to me because of its visceral materiality. With so much of our human experience turning to digital spaces I think it’s important to experience curious things first-hand. In my painting practice, I use paints, waxes and mediums to alter, envelope and preserve a fluctuating collection of thingy things. One action leads to another in a heap of subconscious and conscious thought, thriving on the push and pull between medium and maker. There is a slowing down, both in the making and the viewing of my work. Hours of time are dedicated to the layering process. The viewer recognizes my hand in the work: do they recognize the hands that made the objects within? Accelerated capitalism distances us from the labour that results in mass-produced objects. I create paintings with the intention of providing an active space that asks viewers to search, acknowledge, and bask in a moment.


Mackenzie Colby was born in Abbotsford in British Columbia, Canada in 1998. Growing up on the beaches and in the trees of the Pacific Northwest, her love of the organic world flourished. A serial collector, Mackenzie has drawers, bins and bags filled with items that many would call “garbage.” She has a longstanding love for simple, beautiful moments. In time, painting beckoned to her. Mackenzie developed her interests when she opted to take her Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts.

After spending one year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mackenzie finished her degree at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in May 2020. Her efforts in school earned her a nomination for the BMO Financial Group’s 1st Art! Competition, which is currently pending results. During her time in Vancouver, Mackenzie also learned traditional candle-making techniques as a chandler’s apprentice. In her free time, she enjoys contemplative, mesmerizing crafts like sewing, candle making, and rug tufting.

When not creating, you can find Mackenzie giddily peeking under rocks at local Salish Sea beaches or hunting for the perfect slime mold cluster.

Mackenzie’s paintings were featured in a solo show at Emily Carr University in Spring 2020. She has also shown work in exhibitions at Eclectic 47, Schack Art Center, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mackenzie also received a travel grant to study the master painters of Florence and Sienna at the Sienna Art Institute (SART).

Info | | @mackenzie_colby


Thanks for taking a look! (-:

Sam Schembri | Iconic

This project received an Honourable Mention for the Chick Rice Award for Excellence in Photography

Visit: or @s_schembri on Instagram



Artist Statement

Sam Schembri is a queer artist and graduating student from Emily Carr University of Art & Design. Their involvement in the queer community inspires their research in Gender studies and Greek antiquity. They express modern sexuality, gender, and identity, through reworking myths to expose homosexuality embodied in classical histories.

All media explorations are informed by the previous, bringing sculptural aspects into their paintings, drawings into photography, painting onto printing, abstraction into figuration, and bridging the gaps between different artistic realms. Their studies have included mono-printing, silkscreen printing, drawing, photography, digital art, communications design, and multiple painting mediums, generally combining several approaches into a collage.

Their vast approaches to art-making have allowed them to stray from their main focus to play with ghostly abandoned places through photography and mono-printing. Other works capture queer portraiture through photography and installing collected personal items.



Their recent showing of “Iconic” re-envisioned myths of Aphrodite, Hermes and their intersex child, Hermaphroditus, also known as Androgyne. Sam reframes these associated homosexual mythologies by using real present-day queer people. They built magnetic circular canvases to attach physical prints and materials; as well as screen-printed freestanding mirrors made from their photography of queer friends posing as Greek gods/goddesses in drag.

Alongside the altar-like positioning of the flanking mirrors and the central magnetic canvases, personal objects are displayed. Such as cork-boards of photos, jewellery, tickets, letters, and sentimental objects are placed on plinths to raise their worth as offerings to the “queered” gods.

“Iconic” was meant to be its own space of worship, incorporating personal elements of fetishism in object-hood alongside iconic centrepieces to utilize the ritualistic behaviours of museums, domestic spaces, personal collections, queer expression, and narcissism.


Narcissus & Dysmorphia

A mirror of Narcissus accompanies “Iconic” as an anecdote to dysmorphia and queer shame. As the modern term of narcissism is quite different from the original myths of Narcissus. Several stories depict his admirers, men and women, inevitably killing themselves for his unreciprocated love.


“Nemesis, the Goddess of revenge, decided to punish Narcissus for his vanity. The Goddess lured him to a pool where he leaned upon the water and saw himself in the bloom of youth. Under a spell, Narcissus did not realize it was merely his own reflection and fell deeply in love with it as if it were somebody else. HE, IN FACT, MISTOOK HIMSELF AS ANOTHER. Unable to leave the allure of his image, he eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated and “he melted away from the fire of passion burning inside him, eventually turning into a gold and white flower”. In other stories, he committed suicide or drowned.

This print is meant to make your reflection look like another, as the myth provides. And what does that mean? To not recognize yourself? To love something that is unknowingly a version of you? To try and love your body when it won’t love you back? Here I am, looking at my reflection, creating a reflection, and reflecting in the reflection. Thinking about self-love, gender dysphoria, vanity, and Queer shame, in relation to this myth. CHEERS to learning to make history fit my confused Queer body through my art and stretching it out till the threads break apart.”

— Sam Schembri


A Note from the Artist:

Queerness has been exhibited throughout human existence and it is time to bring it to the forefront of the contemporary art scene to reimagine its meaning. History has moulded our (mis)understanding of ourselves, and each other, leaving a lot of damage in society and I am constantly reimagining myself in an attempt to rewrite my own history and embrace who my authentic self is. This does not just relate to queer bodies but rather to human experiences altogether. The act of rewriting stories here is acknowledging what has been expected of us and what we expect of ourselves. Simply put, I want to rewrite stories; through art, about me, about my world, and about history. These stories may be homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic, classist, and traditional, but they can be altered.

After all, history has made me, and now I want to remake it.