Akrey, Donna


Outdoor Installations
Artist talk and reception: Thursday, August 12, 7pm
Fabrication Collaboration: Friday, August 13 & Saturday August 14, ArtsFest Site
Installation Action: Sunday, August 14, ArtsFest Installation Walk




Donna Akrey’s Natural & Manufactured project features a series of overlapping elements, both physical and conceptual, that function at the intersection of public installation, sculpture, intervention, performative gesture, and collaborative action.  While in Dawson City, the artist will first be preparing a large-scale sculptural edition of small hand-held objects that will be placed throughout the city for serendipitous discovery. Fabricated in the appearance of river-worn stones, upon closer inspection these sculptures depict urban topographies and apologetic messages that suggest the role of the natural world on our civilising impulses, and the often destructive environmental and cultural repercussions of human socialization. Akrey’s second component will take place as a collaborative production line set within the context of KIAC’s Yukon Riverside Arts Festival. During the Festival weekend, Akrey will be on-site inviting the public to watch and join her in a process of mass-producing objects of “nature.” A ceremonial public installation of the resulting manufactured objects will conclude Akrey’s project. 


My work reflects an interest in constructed human environments, language and communication, body and mind and the power of the habitual on our dreams and realities. I am interested in the parts that make up our ideas of wholeness. I see my job as somewhat of a wrangler, combining parts and fragments of visual information, physical objects and various idea and belief systems, aware of the futility of the ‘ultimate’ and the contradictions and idiosyncrasies therein.

I am interested in how we build our environments, intentionally or by default. I try to use humour as a way to present problematic issues by drawing the viewer in while also using a playful handmade aesthetic that people seem to relate to. This method of disarming the viewer allows me to touch on serious issues and ask questions. In my practice, I imagine the absurd as real, because sometimes the real is so absurd.

I believe knowledge is relative and fallible rather than absolute and certain and I endeavour to discover the richness in between intention and result. Utilizing common, surplus and discarded materials such as foam, concrete, found objects, junk mail, wood, rubber and household products, I create installations and sculptural objects that function as gigantic understatements, ruminations on the spectacle of the unspectacular.


DONNA AKREY is a graduate of the Concordia University Bachelor of Visual Arts program, and holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Her work as been shown extensively throughout Canada in solo exhibitions at Truck Gallery (Calgary), Struts Gallery (Sackville), AKA Gallery (Saskatoon), eyelevel gallery (Halifax), Sansair Gallery (Vancouver) and Third Space (St. John). Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions at the Contact Photography Festival (Toronto), Atelier Frankfurt Gallery (Germany), Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon) and the Darling Foundary (Montreal), among others. In 2004, Akrey was invited as Artist in Residence at the Klondike Institute of Art & Culture in Dawson City. Akrey currently lives in Montreal, where she also teaches at Concordia University.

Darling Foundry