Visual Art in Arc’s North Issue: Maria Hupfield

Maria Hupfield responds to six paintings by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith in her performance piece “All Is Moving.”

By Kevin Matthews

As you’ll see in the editors’ note for Arc’s 2013 annual—a special theme issue about the North—the work on this issue rewarded us by challenging, shifting, and expanding our ideas. What is a North anyway, and how would we know when we’ve found it? We’re excited to think that it might do the same for you. It may be stating the obvious, but as north is relative, so is anyone’s particular North. This also means that everyone’s encounters with the North must happen in an interstice, the kind of place artists are bound to navigate—who else could? The poets we present in this issue all have to deal with hybrids and gaps to find their way to the reader. Arc is glad to pave a section of that road.

This is also true of the visual art we’ve selected for this issue. Indeed, one of the four artists, Maria Hupfield, does performance work, so naturally we think the images of her work in the magazine will only whet your appetite. At, we’re extending the experience by sharing this video of a piece called “All Is Moving,” in which Hupfield responds to six paintings by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. For us, it seems to explore some of that territory we’re trying to reach, somewhere between North and South, between one artist and another, straining at the periphery of definitions that we all must challenge from time to time. May it enrich your experience of the magazine, and may the North, whatever it is for you, continue to shift and glow in your night sky.

All Is Moving, Maria Hupfield at Accola Griefen Gallery, March 2013, from Meredith Drum.

Held in conjunction with the exhibit, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Water and War, held 28 February to 6 April 2013 at the Accola Griefen Gallery, New York, NY.


Based in Brooklyn, Maria Hupfield is Canadian First Nations, of Anishnaabe (Ojibway) heritage and a member of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. A MFA graduate of York University, her performance “Contain That Force: 7 Solo Acts” was recently presented at SAW Gallery by the National Gallery of Canada for the exhibition Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art. Maria Hupfield is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal.

Kevin Matthews is originally from Winnipeg, now writing, working, and living in Ottawa. He has performed his poetry in front of audiences around Canada—from hundreds to handfuls, and from symphonic concert halls to correctional facilities. He is Arc’s vice-president and visual art editor, and one of the organizers behind Ottawa’s international poetry festival, VERSeFest.

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