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April Hickox

Curator's Commentary

In a career spanning more than thirty years, April Hickox has worked intensively and expressively with images of nature. She is a lifelong resident of Ward’s Island, the Toronto island on which people reside in year-round cottages on municipally owned land. Her life in this remarkable community, with its rich and colourful history, has shaped her artistic practice. Her work constitutes an autobiographical journey in which she asserts that humans belong to nature, are part of nature. The natural world depicted in her photographs is full of intimate details; it is an inhabited environment in which traces of humans are only sometimes visible and yet human presence is always palpable. In her series Invasive Species (2012–2014) and Island Homes (2014, ongoing), she explores human interactions with the natural environment on Toronto Island, including those of visitors, residents and staff. By documenting traces of human activities in the landscape as well as historic homes that are virtually concealed behind a screen of foliage, she questions our notion of parkland as a bridge between alienated humans and pristine nature, exploring the ways in which we reconcile our desire to preserve nature with our desire to belong to it.

Biography

April Hickox is a lens-based artist, teacher and independent curator. She lives on the Toronto Islands. Her work is based in narratives, with a broad range of approaches to subject and an affinity for landscape, encompassing history, memory and site. She has produced work in various media, including photography, film, video and installation. Hickox has exhibited nationally and internationally, with the support of many granting agencies, including assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Recent notable exhibitions include the Harbourfrount Centre, Winnipeg Art Gallery, MacLaren Art Centre, Oakville Galleries, Tom Thompson Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. Currently, she is working on video installations and a touring site work at Rodman Hall, curated by Stuart Reid.

An active community leader, Hickox is the founding director of Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary Photography, and a founding member of both Tenth Muse Studio and Artscape. As an educator, she is the past chair of the photography department at OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University). Currently, she holds the position of associate professor of photography. She also runs ecological art and photography residencies in cooperation with Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts on the Toronto Islands. She is represented by Katzman Contemporary, Toronto.