Ayala Reznik says a change of scenery will do her and her art practice some good.
The Israeli-Canadian sculptor has been living in Toronto for the past eight years and has found that despite the presence of millions of people, there is a lack of intimacy and interaction compared to the small Mediterranean town where she grew up.
“I do feel from my previous experience in smaller towns [people] are closer to each other, more open-minded, more communicative to each other,” Reznik said.
“It’s easier to get closer and maybe even access conversations that are more intimate and it’s something I do look for in my practice. I want to be involved with more people and talk about their stories and I tend to channel it through my art.”
That interest in returning to a more intertwined community is bringing Reznik to Gabriola Island. From April 3 to 30 Reznik will be the Haven/Gabriola Arts Council artist in residence. It will be her first artist residency and her first time in B.C.
Reznik was selected by a jury that included Gabriola artists Naomi Beth Wakan, Sheila Norgate and Brad Shipley, as well as GAC program director Mitch Miyagawa.
She chose to apply for the program after hearing positive reviews from last year’s artist in residence, Toronto painter Talia Peckel, one of her best friends.
Reznik will be working on and exhibiting her ongoing project, The Goddess Circle, a series of neolithic and paleolithic-style figurines depicting the female form. She said those are topics to which she’s always been drawn.
“I don’t know if I can really point my finger generally at it. The first thing that comes to mind is just that, for me, I see the genesis of art and perceptions of the female body. That’s where it all started,” she said.
“And also thinking of notions of the female subject and her role in that society, that there’s a lot of research on those notions, the ideas that that society was matrilineal, that the female subject was [considered] as something with goddess creation powers and that link into our contemporary time is so distorted. When you think about the female body as subject in our era, it’s really a site of abuse.”
These are conversations she hopes to generate with her Gabriolan neighbours through her practice during her time on the island. She also looks forward to hearing other perspectives and learning from her residency experience.
“Everything you do that is taking you to a place that is outside of your comfort zone, your home, the regular, ordinary, day-to-life settings always change your perceptions over yourself, over your practice, over whatever you do with your life,” she said.
“And that really helps us to re-examine who we are, what we’re doing and maybe start walking on a different path, or at least be more authentic to what we’re doing.”