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About the artist

A graduate of OCAD University (MFA) and Ryerson University (BFA), Danielle Bleackley is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Toronto, Ontario. With ten years experience mentoring and educating young artists in community, gallery, secondary and post-secondary institutions, Danielle is passionate about art as an act of generosity, and is dedicated to nurturing compassionate communities through creativity. In 2014, Danielle completed The Royal Conservatory, Learning Through The Arts, Artist Educator Foundations course, and has been the recipient of various grants from the Ontario Arts Council for her educational projects. Danielle has recently offered her insight and guidance as a mentor to young artists, as they build their portfolios for entrance to arts-focused high schools and post-secondary institutions

Recent residencies: in September 2013, a one month residency in Haukijarvi, Finland at Arteles Creative Centre, and in 2015, a one week residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island, have initiated a slowing down of her artistic process. With this, a renewed dedication to writing and stitching, and an attention to the body and movement emerged, and her newest works and explorations focus on the simplicities and complexities of line; the line that forms the cursive word, that stitches into fabric, that maps the path from one place to another, and the lines that ground the body into the earth. The ephemeral and fleeting nature of the body’s movements and gestures are significant for this work and research: the hand that writes, the heart that beats, and the physical body that moves on and through landscape and architecture.

In 2016 Danielle gave birth to her son and since, has been reflecting, writing and making in small pockets of time on this ineffable experience. In summer 2020, Danielle and her son will take part in a Mothra residency on Artscape Gibraltor Point in Toronto, together with other artist parents.

Curriculum Resources & Mentoring

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ARTIST STATEMENT

My multidisciplinary art practice is characterized by a deep curiosity of the body; its intrinsic link to language, the ephemerality of its movements, and its capacity to carry an archive of experience over time. Personal in origin, my practice seeks to understand and poetically capture ordinary and yet poignant narratives in form. I consider these ideas through a material-based studio practice that involves performative drawing, stitching, writing and listing, photography and small sculptural works. My work presents documents that reference the personal archive (lists, journal-like texts and photographs), draws maps out of experiences of solitude, and seeks to chronicle individual identity by uncovering intimate moments that exude both vulnerability and strength. Though rooted in my experiences, this work aims to speak to the larger cycle of uncertainties, wonder and heartbreak of everyday life.

Manifesting as works on paper, small embroideries on textile, photographs or small sculptures, my works carry an introspective tone. My process is a balance both intuitive and deliberate and the materials that I select emphasize the physicality of my gestures in making and, whether through the written word, hand stitching, or my body in the image, the feeling, experiencing body is referenced.

“Danielle’s workshop has enhanced Branksome Hall’s visual arts program over the past three years and I am confident it would do the same for any Ontario Art Curriculum because of her knowledge and understanding of best teaching practice, her own art practice, and her sensitivity and ability to work with others. The Poetic Turn Workshop is extremely relevant and successful for both the learners and teachers involved.”

                    - Bernadette Badali, Dept. Head Visual Arts and Film, Branksome Hall

For me, working with text was an unexpected release. I had feelings that were bottled inside for a long time and that I had forgotten. When I got to writing in Danielle’s Poetic Turn workshop, I remembered them and just wrote. It helped me clarify a lot of confusing situations in my life. People think that electronics and texting in general is a bad thing, but I feel that this project proves that even the silliest message that you sent your best friend three years ago can be turned into an artwork. “

                    - Amy, 16, student at Father John Redmond C.S.S.