Atticus Gordon, Eryn O'Neill, and Violeta San Juan

- / James Gallery

Ranging from gigantic urban development projects and country-wide infrastructural feats to vast expanses of rural farmland and seemingly empty landscapes, many human civilizations have laid claim to every parcel of land within their reach. World powers continue to map, allocate and divide territories, draw borders, and erect walls that regulate the movement of people across the globe. In rural and remote areas, the expansion of farmland – a process typically deemed necessary and progressive – is often strategically conducted to displace Indigenous communities from their traditional lands. Even the public and private structures in our urban centres exert various forms of inclusion and exclusion, despite their appearance of neutrality. How do we shape the places we inhabit? How do those places, in turn, shape our lives? What are the consequences of our control over land, both in the present and future? Turf Wars brings together works by artists Atticus Gordon, Eryn O'Neill and Violeta San Juan who each challenge traditional approaches to landscape and grapple with their relationship to place and space.

about the artists:

Atticus Gordon is an emerging Ottawa-born and based artist working in painting and painting-based installation. Gordon’s works are playful imaginary worlds that push towards a revaluation and reimagining of our world and simultaneously probe the meaning and structures of contemporary painting. Over the last few years, Gordon has received the Ottawa Art Gallery Award of Excellence, the SAW Prize for New Work, and a nomination for the BMO 1st Art Prize. His works have been exhibited in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Berlin. During and since completing a BFA at the University of Ottawa (2019), Gordon has been an active participant in Ottawa’s visual arts community, and is deeply connected to seeing the arts flourish in Ottawa. To that effect, Gordon is a sometimes-curator, writer of art criticism, and co-founder of Nosy Mag, a non-profit publication examining Ottawa’s art and culture.

Eryn O'Neill: Born in Ottawa, Eryn O’Neill holds a BFA from NSCAD University, and an MFA from the University of Waterloo. She recently completed her MA in Art and Architectural History in conjunction with a Graduate Diploma in Curatorial Studies. In Fall 2022, O’Neill will begin her Masters of Architecture at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. Eryn attended the Vermont Studio Centre in 2016 and the Golden Foundation Artist in Residence in March 2019. A multiple Ontario Arts Council Grant recipient, and a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Award, and most recently, Eryn was awarded a City of Ottawa Production and Creation Grant in 2020. Her work is in both private and public collections, including the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Collection, Global Affairs Canada, Tomlinson Group of Companies and Roderick Lahey Architecture Firm. Eryn lives and works as an artist, academic and instructor in Ottawa, with a studio space at the Rectory House in the Byward Market. From 2020, Eryn has instructed Diploma Students at the Ottawa School of Art. She is represented by Wall Space Gallery and Galerie Annexe in Ottawa.

Violeta San Juan is a Canadian-Chilean visual artist, writer, and poet currently living in Hamilton, Ontario. Active across the Greater Toronto Area since 1990, she considers herself a sculptor and writer who paints. Her motivating issues are those concerning Human Rights, like basic rights to Freedom, Justice, and Peace, as well as issues of discrimination by age, gender, or gender choices; and environmental issues such as the right to clean air, water, food and shelter. She supports protection of men, women, and children of any gender, and is against abuse and exploitation of any kind. Violeta writes short stories, poems, and some Haiku. She was trained in Art History at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Chile, holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Conception (Chile), a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from McMaster University (Hamilton), as well as Nursing Certifications and training in jewelry making from Mohawk College (Hamilton).


Gordon gratefully acknowledges that works from the exhibition were produced with the financial support of the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.