Ed Pien, Ephemera (detail), 2016

Ed Pien | Shadowed Land

September 21 - November 18, 2018

Opening Reception: Friday, September 28, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00 pm 

All welcome. Free admission. The Artist will be in attendance.


The Thames Art Gallery is thrilled to announce "Shadowed Land", a solo exhibition curated by Kendra Ainsworth and produced/circulated by the Art Gallery of Mississauga, in support of acclaimed Canadian artist Ed Pien. The exhibition opens to the public at the Thames Art Gallery on September 21 and will be on view until November 18, 2018.

"Shadowed Land" features installation and video work in which Pien explores notions of sense memory and the irrepresentability of traumatic histories and loss. Incorporating photography, video, sound, light and kinetic installations, this body of work has grown out of the artist’s interest in concepts of disappearance and haunting, and probes ideas of being implicated, bearing witness, loss, mourning, resilience, and empathy.

A traumatic event can cast a long shadow. The reverberations and memory of such personal or collective wounds can permanently inflect day to day life, infiltrate the cultural consciousness, and can be the impetus for activism and art production. Throughout his career Pien has explored themes of disappearance and haunting in his work; in "Shadowed Land" he delves deeper into them, exploring how memory, loss, trauma, marginalization, resilience, and empathy intersect. He is particularly concerned with the ethical responsibility to remember and learn from traumatic events and difficult histories, and the challenges inherent in their representation.

Depictions of wars, genocide and destruction have filled the canvases of artists throughout history and have informed and shaped cultural understandings of violence and trauma. But what are the unintended effects of propagating these images? Who and what is remembered and memorialized, and how? What stories are left out? Do we present images of trauma to the detriment of those struggling to process these events, or does the need for awareness supersede that for sensitivity?

Pien takes up these questions, and places a particular focus on the elusive, sometimes hidden, and difficult to access nature of memory and trauma - difficult to access because it is personal and subjective, or because it is often not adequately publicly acknowledged. The resulting work, in its abstracted, repetitive nature, speaks to these challenges of understanding, representing and processing trauma. We all live on shadowed land physically and metaphorically, knowingly or unknowingly - and it behooves us to understand the implications of its history, and our responsibility to it, in the present, and in the future.

Ed Pien. Our Beloved, 2016 Courtesy of the artist and Art Gallery of Mississauga

Ed Pien

is a Canadian artist based in Toronto. He has been drawing for nearly 30 years. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, he immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of eleven. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from York University in Toronto and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario.

Pien has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Goethe Institute, Berlin; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Musée des beaux arts and Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montreal; Songzhuang Art Centre, Beijing and the National Art Gallery of Canada. He has participated in Oh Canada, at MASS MoCA, the 18th Edition of the Sydney Biennale, as well as the 5th Edition of the Moscow Biennale. This fall, he will be participating in the Beijing International Art Biennale. Pien teaches part-time at the University of Toronto and is represented by Birch Contemporary in Toronto, Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporain in Montreal and Galerie Maurits van de Laar, in The Hague.