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Over the course of the last two years, Heather Leier and Meghan Pohlod have been developing a collaborative print practice in which they exchange work with one another over international borders. Pohlod is based in Berkeley, California, USA, while Leier lives in Calgary, Alberta Canada. In each of their individual art practices, Leier and Pohlod seek to understand their individual embodied trauma. Through her practice, Pohlod studies the phenomenological effects that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has on the body and draws from discarded familial images to negotiate her own relationships with family and abandonment. Leier’s research is focused on the ways in which she negotiates public space and how this is informed by her experiences with and memories of traumatic public gender-based violence.
Through this collaboration, they are speculating that their individual narratives will have more strength if told in concert and that the work may be easier to engage with emotionally when the labour of creative production is shared. They believe that their experiences, goals, and visions for futures are too complex to be streamlined into single-minded expressions and so seek to develop more complex visual languages together that would not be possible without one another. The other methodological consideration present in their collaboration is a loss of control. Both of their practices deal with trauma and emotion so by mailing work back and forth to one another and individually acting upon it, they are challenging each other to lose control. For Meghan, PTSD creates symptoms such as loss of physical and emotional control while Leier’s practice is centred on the lack of control experienced because of trauma.
Through this exhibition, they endeavour to share work from their ongoing collaboration which embodies nuanced interpretations of trauma, pain, joy, and collectivity.