black mold in corner of room painted yellow, Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper by Greg Staats

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return

October 23, 2021 - June 5, 2022

Galleries: 230 Irving & Sylvia Ungerman Gallery and 231 Jennings Young Gallery

BOOK NOW

Member or Annual Pass Holder

New Visitor

Admission is always FREE for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass Holders & Visitors 25 and under. Learn more

 EXHIBITION OVERVIEW

“I’m interested in diverse layers of communication; paradoxically, of the wordless as an entity—by which I mean, torn from the Tuscarora or Mohawk languages of my traditional belonging, I am presented with a void in my practice. Yet I carry a reciprocal responsibility to knowledge, so returning to Six Nations as a participant in the land and an observer of its latent meanings, I have acquired a new enthusiasm through a de-essentialized process—of image gathering and being in a state of constant reflexive return. The dissociation brought about by my dilemma becomes a wandering with purpose that allows the gleaning of images and events as evidence stored within the land. Once this evidence is picked up, I then decode and present what a wordless trauma would look like.

Dissimilar images can also reveal unexpected affinities, as if they shadowed one another.

I exist within the process of transforming belonging by way of selecting more complex images that challenge essential thinking. The images here are of deep personal connections to family, land, and systemic deficits that continue to exist. Working through personal condolence countervails the dragging of an ancestral presence, which casts a traumatic shadow. The idea is to recognize that trauma precipitates a transitional stage of change.”

- GREG STAATS

This exhibition features two new series of photographs by Staats, untitled [1969], 2021 and darkling ease, 2021, as well as the installation dark string, 2010.

In his video installation dark string, Staats emphasizes the restorative nature of the good mind, a central tenet of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ worldview. A string of wampum is filmed and projected onto the gallery wall. The wampum—made of dark purple quahog shell beads—functions as a codified mnemonic device in Hodinöhsö:ni’ condolence ceremonies. Here, it exists in an electronic feedback loop activated through its own image and witnessed by visitors. By animating the wampum in this way, Staats highlights its role in elevating the mind and re-establishing peace for those grieving the loss of a family member or title holder. The video energy of the wampum reflects collective and individual requickening (a life-giving, restorative process), and reinforces the Hodinöhsö:ni’ worldview, which encompasses the creation story, original instructions, and the annual cycle of ceremonies of thanksgiving.

Greg Staats, Skarù:reˀ / Kanien’kehá:ka, Hodinöhsö:ni’, was born in 1963, in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario, Canada.


ARTWORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 86.4 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 88.9 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 86.4 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 81.3 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 76.2 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 132.1 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - artworks
Greg Staats, darkling ease

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 68.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, darkling ease

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 68.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, darkling ease

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 68.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, darkling ease

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 76.2 x 76.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, darkling ease

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 50.8 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, darkling ease

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 68.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 81.3 x 81.3 cm. Ministry of Natural Resources aerial photograph, Archives of Ontario. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, 68.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, untitled [1969], 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper

Greg Staats, darkling ease, 2021. Archival pigment print on cotton fibre paper, overall: 68.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - darkling ease
Greg Staats, dark string, (colour, silent, continuous live feed), 40-piece handmade quahog purple wampum string on sinew, and small common nail.

Greg Staats, dark string, 2010. Video installation (colour, silent, continuous live feed), 40-piece handmade quahog purple wampum string on sinew, and small common nail. Courtesy of the artist. © Greg Staats

Greg Staats: in constant return - dark string

ARTIST OVERVIEW

Greg Staats is Skarù:reˀ [Tuscarora] / Kanien’kehá:ka [Mohawk], Hodinöhsö:ni’. b. 1963, Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. A Toronto based artist whose Hodinöhsö:ni restorative aesthetic employs mnemonics of condolence, articulated in visual forms that hold body and place including: oral transmission, text works, embodied wampum, photographic, sculpture, installation and video. Staats' practice conceptualizes Land as monument embodied within a continuum of relational placemaking with his on-reserve lived experience, trauma, and the explorations of ceremonial orality. Staats’ lens based language documents cycles of return towards a complete Onkwehón:we neha [our original ways] positionality, reciprocity and worldview.

Visit the artist’s website.


RESOURCES

Greg Stats Artist-in-Residence Project at the AGO in 2014.

 

Greg Staats Onenh dwa’ den’ dya - Now Let Us Proceed, 2019 at Gallery 44, Toronto, with text by Leila Timmins.

 

Longhouse Faithkeeper, Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation, Alfred Keye’s letter to Greg Staats regarding Hodinöhsö:ni’ Reciprocal teachings and principles of relationships.

 

Greg Staats: Condolence, Grenfell Campus Art Gallery, 2011, with texts by Richard W. Hill Sr. and Charlotte Jones.

 

Deborah Doxtator’s text “Inclusive and Exclusive Perceptions of Difference: Native and Euro-Based Concepts of Time, History and Change,” 2001.

 

The Two-Row Wampum-Covenant Chain Tradition as a Guide for Indigenous-University Research Partnerships by Richard W. Hill, Sr. and Daniel Coleman, 2018.

 

Otiyaner: The “Women’s Path” Through Colonialism by Kahente Horn-Miller, 2005.

 

Greg Stats: Reciprocity, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, 2007, with texts by Robert Houle and Sheila Staats.

 

Greg Staats discusses in constant return with AGOinsider.


Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.
You can unsubscribe at any time.