Student intern Emily McCormick is trying her hand at curating, creating the Semiotica exhibition for the Helen Christou Gallery.
"My experience as an Art History/Museum Studies major at the University of Lethbridge has been filled with numerous opportunities," says McCormick. "I've worked at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and University of Lethbridge Art Gallery as a curatorial intern. Both galleries have allowed me to gain an invaluable amount of work experience for my future career."
One result of McCormick's internship at the U of L Art Gallery is Semiotica: The Persuasion of Text, an exhibition in the Helen Christou Gallery running from Mar. 12 through Apr. 9.
"Moving away from traditional art styles, this exhibition explores conceptual art involving written language," explains McCormick. "It features works from the U of L Art Collection by Jenny Holzer, Joseph Kosuth, John Baldessari, Vera Gartley and Enn Erisalu."
According to U of L Art Gallery Director/Curator Dr. Josephine Mills, "Emily proposed the idea for this exhibition last semester while working on an internship with me and she came up with a great concept."
Semiotica was built around one of the key works in the U of L Art Collection – American artist Jenny Holzer's Selections from Truisms. During the 1980s, Holzer attained international recognition for her use of text in public locations with her truisms (short, provocative statements) that appeared on electronic signs and posters, were carved into benches and appeared in many other formats all over the world.
"The work in our collection includes a bank of many of these phrases running across a screen. When first acquired, it was exhibited widely as part of touring exhibitions, but given this high use, we have not included it in an exhibition for several years," says Mills. "I am excited to see the work up in the Helen Christou Gallery and to give students and staff an opportunity to see it alongside other conceptual works from the collection."
McCormick's internship included the opportunity to organize a public perception project, assist with installations, write for a university newspaper as well as curate the exhibition using the gallery's extensive collection.
"The museum studies program has given me the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in class and work in my chosen field before I finish my degree. This experience will definitely help me attain my career goals quicker," she says with confidence.