Ciphers — critical and creative writing (working title)

Coat, 2023. Image: Tricia Middleton


Tricia Middleton’s project involves a creative approach to discourse that will take the form of critical creative writing. Ciphers (working title) encompasses a series of works combining assorted techniques and lines of inquiry that will result in the completed first draft of a new manuscript. Tracing the object of her investigation north from London to the Barents Sea, Middleton will cultivate an archive of found object, ambient sound, video recordings, and other ephemera in conjunction with the writing she will be doing; both text and gathered materials could be presented in different configurations following this initial exploration. The artist as desultory cipher observes the curator as parasitic cipher and from there a narrative unfolds and unravels as both polemical and psychological fiction.

Support in discourse, 2023.


Lately Middleton’s material practice takes the shape of an archive comprised of past artworks she tends as creative, critical writing has become the focal point of her work. Until recently her material investigations took on the form of large-scale architectural installations, concentrated on the psychogeography of the domestic interior and its double, the city. The paradoxical relationship between ‘interior’ and ‘exterior,’ as seeming opposites absorbed in ceaseless mimicry of one another, underpins much of her thinking about space. Her work always begins with improbable premises and precarious material conditions that make finding the forms her thoughts might inhabit a trial at times. It is through generating such frisson and friction between thoughts and objects that she can find the information needed to make the embellished claims instantiating these works stand up. The materials comprising these installations were broken down and repurposed from one exhibition to the next, slowly dematerializing over time, as she gradually divested herself of these burdens to shift focus elsewhere.


Tricia Middleton lives and works in Montréal. She holds a BFA from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver (1997) and an MFA from Concordia University in Montréal (2005). Her solo exhibitions include presentations at Nordnorsk kunstnersenter, Svolvær (as part of LIAF, 2019), DOC!, Paris (2017), Anéxo7, Gatineau (2015), Oakville Galleries, Oakville (2012) Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver (2011) Mercer Union, Toronto (2010) Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge (2009), and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2009). Middleton has participated in group exhibitions at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Montréal (2004), National Gallery of Canada (2007), Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2008), The Power Plant, Toronto (2010), Art Gallery of Alberta (2014), Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2014), Overgaden, Copenhagen (2017), and Galerie Néon, Lyon (2018). She has held international residencies at ISCP in New York (2013-14), Cité des Arts in Paris (2014), Hotel Amazonas in Bolzano, Italy (2016), and at DOC! in Paris (2017). Obsidian Situations is her first literary work, written over an extended period in Paris, published by Documents through the Centre for Expanded Poetics in Montréal (2023).
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