Minding the Archive: Derek Jenkins, Tyler Matheson, Alex Murphy

Minding the Archive
Derek Jenkins, Tyler Matheson, and Alex Murphy

September 4 – November 2, 2019
Opening Reception: September 7, 7:00-9:00 pm

What is an archive? Some archives are official, organised and public — historical documents housed in libraries or museums. Some archives are messy, private and personal — family letters, photographs and keepsakes stashed away in basements and attics or under the stairs. The artists in the exhibition Minding the Archive draw on personal archives to question the politics of remembrance, heteronormativity, authority and the passage of time.

Alex Murphy creates layered, time-intensive drawings that speak to the historical preservation of certain narratives and the systemic erasure of others. His intricate works honour individuals and communities whose histories have seldom been maintained in public records. Using an abandoned wallet as the impetus behind his multimedia piece, Derek Jenkins explores the idea of authority: how the past is re-interpreted in the present, how the present is informed by the past, and the inherent weight of the future on both. Tyler Matheson uses cyanotype processes to transform family photographs into unconventional self-portraits that map his identity through places and people of the past. The resulting works point to the performative nature of gender and class, and probe complicated notions of queerness, kinship and family. The artists in Minding the Archive each mine archives in different ways to tell their stories and bring new histories to light.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a critical essay written by Sean Morello.


Derek Jenkins is a filmmaker and lab technician based in Hamilton, ON. His practice is handmade, personal, and documentary, with an interest in labour, ecology, and social reproduction. His films have screened widely, most recently at Media City Film Festival, Experiments in Cinema, and the Fracto Film Encounter. His sound work, “The E6 Process,” was installed at Factory Media Centre in 2018 as part of HAVN’s Sonic Art Series. His film “Livestock” will be included in the exhibition “Animals Across Discipline, Time and Space” at McMaster Museum of Art in January 2020. He is a student in Documentary Media (MFA) at Ryerson University and works at Niagara Custom Lab.

Tyler Matheson received his BFA in Painting and Photography at York University. He now lives and studies in Waterloo, Ontario as an MFA candidate at the University of Waterloo. His research investigates queer theory and personal experiences, object performativity, and the aesthetics of interaction. Currently, his work takes form in painting, sculpture, installation and alternative techniques in photography. He experiments with non-art, kitsch and found materials. His work involves text, images, mirror, textiles, craft materials, glitter, wrapping paper, silicone, tiling grout, cement and more. Recent exhibitions include Above the Belt Below the Bush with curatorial collective Minor Hockey in North Bay, Fresh Paint and New Construction Art Mûr Montreal, and Visual Art Mississauga 41st Annual Juried Exhibition, Art Gallery of Mississauga.

Alex Murphy is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist.  Originally from rural Nova Scotia, he lives and practices in Toronto, Ontario.  Murphy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from OCAD University, where he graduated with distinction.  He was awarded the Frances Lea Ziegler Scholarship for research conducted and work created during a year in Florence, Italy.  This work was exhibited in his first solo exhibition in Dublin, Ireland.  He has also exhibited in both Italy and Canada.  Additionally, Murphy holds Bachelor of Environmental Design and Master of Architecture degrees from Dalhousie University.  It was during these studies that he began reconsidering the physical and social environments that marginalized individuals and communities have historically been relegated to.  As a result, he is compelled to rethink how environments can be inclusively created, and to construct new spaces in and with his art practice.

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