What’s Happening

May 5, 2023

Critical writing “for” artists not “about” them

While criticism often carries the weight of having to be (or trying to be) right, Critical Fictions tries only to be with.

By Emily Doucet

The Brooklyn Rail, May 2023

Hannah Godfrey’s Critical Fictions circles the work of five artists. Derek Dunlop, Kristin Nelson, Hagere Selam shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot, Andrea Oliver Roberts, and Logan MacDonald, are all, as Godfrey points out, queer Canadian artists working with abstraction and the body, critiquing hegemonic power structures “with wit and pathos.” The book is composed of discrete groupings of critical essays, poems, and stories “for” each artist rather than “about” them. This distinction between prepositions is central to the amalgam “critical fictions” offered in the book’s title. Godfrey’s critical texts are imprints of her relationships with the artists and artworks that pepper the author’s fictions, evidence of exchange rather than pure exposition. By writing against the erasure of thinking alongside, Godfrey positions the artist as a narrative accomplice. [Read the review.]


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