Power Talks

Brenda Draney in conversation with Justine Kohleal

Since 2006, The Power Plant has partnered with Art Toronto to present thought-provoking talks by scholars, artists, curators, and art world figures. This year, in the context of Art Toronto’s 20th edition, for the first time presented virtually, The Power Plant is thrilled to present three online studio visits with established and up-and-coming Canadian artists.

Artist Brenda Draney will be joined by Justine Kohleal, Assistant Curator at The Power Plant. The two will discuss Draney's creative process and elaborate on her artistic career. 

Brenda Draney (b. 1976, Canadian) is Cree from The Sawridge First Nation, Treaty 8, with a strong connection to Slave Lake. Draney’s work is shown and collected internationally including the National Gallery of Canada, NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, the Embassy of Canada Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Alberta, Gordon Smith Gallery, Walter Phillips Gallery, the Sobey Foundation, and the Shorefast Foundation. She won both the 2009 RBC Painting Competition and 2014’s Eldon and Anne Foote Visual Arts Prize and was short listed for the 2016 Sobey Art Award at the National Gallery of Canada. Draney’s work visually represents the moment when vulnerability is exposed, while encouraging the viewer to reject the notion to dominate the void where horror, poignancy, or powerful moments exist. Draney encourages her viewer to face this void head on, but as an empath. She provides enough tools for the viewer to place their own narrative within her typical imaginary spaces.

Justine Kohleal is a Toronto-based curator and art critic. Prior to her appointment at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery she worked as an independent curator and arts writer in Edmonton, Alberta. At The Power Plant, she has curated a number of projects including Beth Stewart: Length, Breadth, Thickness and—Duration and Thomas J Price: Ordinary Men, and has been assistant curator of exhibitions featuring Shuvinai Ashoona, Ellen Gallagher, Vincent Meessen and Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa. Select past curatorial projects include [INTERFACE] (Fringe Gallery); No Job More Dangerous (dc3 Art Projects); Intellectual Play (dc3 Art Projects); and Sounding the Alarm: The Poetics of Connection (Art Gallery of Ontario). Kohleal was curatorial assistant to Gerald McMaster and Denise Birkhofer for The Faraway Nearby: Photographs of Canada from The New York Times Photo Archive (Ryerson Image Centre) and to writer/curator Kari Cwynar for Duane Linklater’s installation Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality (Evergreen Brickworks). She interned with The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Centre and with Public Programs at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Kohleal holds a curatorial MFA from OCAD University and a BA from the University of Alberta with a focus in Art, Design, and Visual Culture.