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Brian Longfield

Exhibition: Manitoba Wildlife Imaginary

January – June 2023

Happy Polar Bear, acrylic on canvas, 24″x 24″

For some time Brian has been interested in the factors that grant subjecthood, personality, and character to our perception of others. In earlier work, this interest lead to work using masks to create performance-based work with his partner, Charla Ramsey in which performance of characters using theatrical masks was used as the basis for work that became drawings, paintings, videos, and installations. More recently Brian has been making paintings of animals to explore their subjecthood.

This exhibition encourages seeing animals as beings with thoughts and feelings but it is interesting to note that the personalities and emotions we ascribe to animals are not likely to be their actual feelings but are based on our human perceptions of human emotions. While many animals do indeed have emotions and feelings that can be observed and recorded by behavioural scientists and certainly people who live with pets develop a sense of their pets’ emotional life, this exhibit is not and cannot function as a substitute for that. It does however act as a small stepping stone toward it.


About the Artist

Over the years, Brian Longfield has exhibited video art, installations, and paintings, as well as exploring performance and theatre, and Avante-grade music. His acrylic paintings are made with original photos and a data projector. His current work incorporates an interest in biodiversity, ecology, science and empathy. Brian has recently returned to painting after focusing on video-based work with the now-defunct collective, Viewing Method Group, and performance-based work as part of the duo “6.” Through his various projects, Brian has exhibited at The New Music Festival, Nuit Blanche, Video Pool, Graffiti Art Programming, Frame Arts Warehouse, and as part of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

Brian holds a BFA from the University of Manitoba and an MFA from the University of Western Ontario. He has curated exhibitions, both at Frame Arts Warehouse and at his own former Gallery, Tumble Contemporary Art. He lives in Winnipeg with his partner Charla and their children, Aria and Zephyr.


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1 entry.
Victoria McEwan wrote on January 6, 2023 at 10:48 am
Living in Northern Manitoba I appreciate the opportunity to view your art. I feel your paintings reflect animals looking at the world around them something people sometimes miss in todays busy life.