Erika DeFreitas

It is now here that I have gathered and measured yes.

May 4—June 8, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 11, 2:00—5:00pm
Co-presented with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Often working with staged objects and performative actions across disciplines, Scarborough-based artist Erika DeFreitas’ new body of work explores intuitive processes and their representation as extended ways of knowing. Influenced by 19th and early 20th century spirit and occult photography, It is now here that I have gathered and measured yes. employs camera and cameraless photographic techniques that recall photography’s important role in the heyday of the Spiritualist movement. Used as a tool to both prove and demystify paranormal activities, the spirit photography and séance documentation of the time perform a multitude of positions on belief, disbelief, and desire for something to exist beyond linear time and the material plane.

DeFreitas calibrates herself to this extrasensory desire, tracing her own intuition at work navigating that which both prompts faith and provokes skepticism. At Gallery TPW, this research follows her from documenting a private exercise in psychometry—a practice of reading the energies of objects through physical contact—to darkroom photograms that generate something akin to aura imagery, to performed gestures that both embody and disrupt the postures of a debunked psychic.

For DeFreitas, photographic processes aid in focusing her attunement towards “objects that glow,” as she describes them; understanding herself in relation to things and their energies, histories, and potential futures. Across these images, each outstretched hand invites a moment of focusing-inwards, as DeFreitas explores the spectrum of knowledge found between what is seen, what is felt, and what is otherwise imagined.

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Erika DeFreitas is a Scarborough-based artist whose practice includes the use of performance, photography, video, installation, textiles, works on paper, and writing. Placing an emphasis on process, gesture, the body, documentation, and paranormal phenomena, she works through attempts to understand concepts of loss, post-memory, inheritance, and objecthood.

DeFreitas’ work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at Project Row Houses and the Museum of African American Culture, Houston; Fort Worth Contemporary Arts; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, Winnipeg; and Gallery 44, Toronto. A recipient of the Toronto Friends of Visual Arts' 2016 Finalist Artist Prize, the 2016 John Hartman Award, and longlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award, she has also been awarded several grants from the Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.