Jan. 3, 2021 | UNB

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College of Extended Learning


Jan. 3 to Jan. 31, 2021

This exhibition reconfigures works sent in for the pop-up exhibition Cut/Paste/Resist, co-created by UNB’s 2020 Writer-in-Residence R.M. Vaughan and Dr. Ken Moffatt, the Jack Layton Chair in Social Work at Ryerson University. Cut/Paste/Resist was exhibited on 4’ X 8’ panels in UNB’s Student Union Building February 10-12, 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a total shut down of the UNB campus.

The original exhibit consisted of collages sent to Richard at his mail box address at UNB. He enjoyed the mail, its hand-to-hand transmigration. In his Call for Submissions, he asked only one question, "What are you Resisting?" and he requested only that it be on a standard 8 1/2 x 11" page and due January 30.

The call for submissions specifically stated that the project was open to everyone—artists and non-artists alike "because collage is a fun accessible way to make art".

He prefaced the project with his belief in the value of this democratic medium:

"In times of protest and social upheaval (and social rejuvenation) artists and activists turn to collage to make a point. Why? Collage is a fun, accessible way to make art. All you need is glue, scissors and paper. The rest is up to you."

The UNB Art Centre at once celebrates all those who contributed to the original exhibition Cut/Paste/Resist and apologizes to all those who contributed as there are no names tied to the collages that appear in the online exhibition CUT.PASTE. RESIST. REDUX. This is simply a visual feast offered up to remember Richard.

As part of this tribute, The UNB Art Centre, in collaboration with Dr. Ken Moffatt, has invited friends of R.M. Vaughan to select a passage from one of his many works of poetry, prose and criticism. These readings will be released on social media throughout the month of January as a way to honour R.M. Vaughan’s memory and to mark the tremendous loss to the cultural community of this gifted Canadian artist.

Marie E. Maltais
Director, UNB Art Centre

R.M. Vaughan

Richard Murray Vaughan was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1965. His life path took him from small town New Brunswick to the big cities of Toronto, Montreal, and Berlin. He died in New Brunswick on October 23, 2020. He attended UNB and studied English, earning his BA in 1987 and an MA in 1991. His first published poem appeared in UNBSJ’s Literary Magazine The Cormorant. In 1992, he had his first solo exhibition at the UNB Art Centre with a series of collages entitled Beach Blanket Bingo. He returned to UNB as Writer-in-Residence for the 2019-2020 academic year where he gave readings, created exhibits and provided inspiration and guidance to the many students he met there.

A true Renaissance man, R.M. Vaughan was a gifted poet, writer, playwright, critic, video and performance artist. His work straddled the boundaries not only of his craft but those of mainstream society as well. He was a gay man who loved to explore, and at times critique, questions of sexuality and queer culture. He cut his teeth as a playwright at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre with the plays Gentleman Caller (1992) and Camera, Woman: A Play in Two Parts. He published numerous poems, chapbooks, essays and novels and has been included in many anthologies featuring Canadian writers and in particular, gay writers. He is perhaps best known for his poetry in A Selection of Dazzling Scarves (ECW Press: 1996), 96 tears (in my jeans) (Broken Jaw Press: 1997), Invisible to Predators (ECW Press: 1999), and for his first novel A Quilted Heart (Insomniac Press: 1998). His poetry has appeared in Quill and Quire and the Canadian Literature Magazine, among others. He has also contributed commentaries and columns as culture critic for several journals including The Globe and Mail, The National Post, This Magazine, Toronto Life, the Utne Reader, Momus, and Canadian Art online. He has written, produced or appeared in 16 experimental films that have been screened in galleries and at international film festivals. His installations, visual art, and craft have been featured in C Magazine and exhibited at the Zsa Zsa Gallery and the Paul Petro Gallery in Toronto.



Why collage was an ideal art form for R.M. Vaughan

"You know I love 'rough art'", R.M. Vaughan, Personal communication, February, 2020.

According to R.M., in "this discontent era such as ours, where people face daily crises and looming environmental and social injustices, collage as a form of activist expression is back." R.M. Vaughan liked lists as explanatory exercises and as an accessible means to address what might seem complicated while profound. In the spirit of R.M.’s approach to explanation, I have made a list of what Cut Paste Resist and collage meant for R.M. The following qualities of collage that R.M. held dear make it an ideal form of art for this time:

A) Collage punctures expectations

When Richard approached me to co-curate Cut Paste Resist, he knew we would see ‘eye to eye’ because he liked to puncture, while I like to disrupt. R.M. liked to puncture pretense, especially artistic and academic pretense. Both of us like to disrupt the taken-for-granted and the big claim to an ideal form. Disruption for me is a bit a safer concept than puncture because it has academic merit and you can find it referred to in social and political theory. Richard liked to puncture my point of view too (while being fully versed in social political and artistic theory).

B) Collage lacks purity and perfection

R.M. distrusted the claim to perfection, such as, the perfect idea, or the perfectly executed artwork. He hated art forms that were rendered so “pure” that they became lifeless and listless. Perfection that had no clear humane personal or social referent to Richard was simply lazy. Most of all, he hated ontology that referred to itself as perfect or pure in order to be self-gratifying or in the service of self-promotion. Collage is anything but pure. The voice of the artist can be faltering, the images can be referential, and the art form can look rough.

C) Collage stands on its own merit

A disagreement I had with R.M. while curating Cut Paste Resist was about listing the source of the collage. As an academic, I wanted to name the artist’s institutional association and role.  For R.M., to start naming factors such as institutional affiliation entailed the search for referents to value of the collage beyond the work itself. It was a process of introducing troubling notions of hierarchy, and to over code the work with other ways to value it. R. M. wanted only to name the artist, the title, and the country. That’s it and that was good enough. Collage allowed for political comment and challenge but it did not have to refer back to the big theorists, have a rationale behind the expression or be socially located to give it status.

D) Anyone can do collage

For R. M., Cut Paste Resist was to be a happy mix of established artists as well as "every kind of artist and non-artist." R.M. liked collage because contributors could afford it. He liked collage because someone might do it in their kitchen or their bedroom. As he said: "Collage is an art form available to all. You cut, you paste. Everything after those two actions is yours to control, shape, and share." In this manner, R.M. was a man of the people; a true social democrat.

E) Collage is messy

He loved the potential messiness of the collage with its multiple incongruent sources, its composition from daily objects or images—objects, as he said, one can find around the house. He loved the possibility that ultimately both the work and the show as a whole just might look messy. Collage with its ragged edges and its loosely connected referents within a single artwork is queer. Even the rules of the show had to allow for messiness. He did not want a stringent, rule bound or institutionally driven principles of curation. If you submitted the collage you got in, as long as the collage was not hateful or intentionally hurtful, it was posted.

F) Craft as Voice/Resistance

R.M. loved craft. He liked to be able to see the hand of the maker and the personal idiosyncrasy of each art piece. Collage as craft was a precious gift for R.M., since the way an artist pieced it together combined with what personal or social issue they focussed on, displayed their singular expression. Resistance was about the hand-crafted voice of each person with all their frustrations and hopes.

- Ken Moffatt


Ken Moffatt is the Jack Layton Chair, an appointment to the Faculty of Community Services and Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University. He is also Professor of Social Work at Ryerson University and Adjunct Faculty to the School of Social Work at McMaster University. In his publication Postmodern Social Work (Columbia University Press, 2019), he rethinks university education by thinking based on encouraging student voice in the context of personal and social precariousness. He takes an interdisciplinary reflective approach to pedagogy and practice that addresses personal and social well-being. Moffatt is most interested in creative resistance that draws upon arts-based practice to enliven social possibility, enhance subjective engagement, and foster social imagination.

West Gallery


Paul Gallant reading an extract from Chapter 2 of A Quilted Heart, (Insomniac Press: Toronto, 1998)


Paul Gallant is a Toronto-based writer and editor who writes about social change, LGBT issues, business, urban development and travel. His work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Readersdigest.ca, The Walrus, and many other publications.

"I first heard of R.M. Vaughan as a writer at editorial meetings at Xtra!, a Toronto LGBT publication where I was an editor for much of the 2000s, and I got to know him as a writer reading his collection of poetry Invisible to Predators and his novel A Quilted Heart. I got to know him as a person first through his contributions to Xtra! and through the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, then as a neighbour who always hosted crafty parties at Easter and Halloween. We became much closer friends over the years, bonding over being Atlantic Canadians in Toronto." - Paul Gallant

D. Boyd reading Saint Stanislaus Kostka (1550-1568) from the chapbook, The InCorrupt Tables, (Wild East Publishing, c.1992)


D. Boyd is an author, illustrator and comic artist. She is the author of Chicken Rising, a graphic memoir, and is currently working on her second book, Fickle & Boycrazy.

"I met Richard in 1985 in UNB Saint John. I don't remember the conversation but I remember being delighted by his wit and way of truly engaging and listening. We became fast friends, which of course wasn't uncommon for him. He was so genuine, disarming, and hilarious that he made friends with (or at least a last impression on) everyone he met. And he kept all those friendships alive no matter how near or far, through the decades. He was a pillar of my life. I will always miss his laughter, his biting wit, his relentless encouragement, the evenings when we sat talking for hours, being completely ourselves, until whoops it's 2am. I will miss him boundless love and a broken heart always." - D. Boyd

East Gallery


David Bateman reading R. M. Vaughan’s Lost Weekend from Invisible to Predators (ECW Press, Fall 1999)


David Bateman is a performance poet, painter, and educator who has taught literature and creative writing at various post-secondary institutions across Canada. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary (Literature, Creative Writing) and has four collections of poetry from Frontenac House Press (Calgary). His first novel, DR SAD, was published by the University of Calgary Press in November 2015.

"I met R.M. Vaughan at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre in the 90's when he first appeared on the Toronto Theatre scene with his incredible play Camera, Woman (Coach House, Press, 1998). I was presenting solo performance pieces with titles as baffling, gratuitous, and soul-searching as I Wanted To Be Bisexual But My Father Wouldn't Let Me, and What’s It Like?, a comic AIDS monologue. His generosity and support meant the world to me, and his articulate, critically attuned perceptions touched the lives of so many. I have always felt that he was a crucial touchstone for a large community of individual artists to go to, to test out ideas, to complain bitterly about queer arts representation, and to just laugh at all of it with a critical and frequently self-obsessed eye—and yet self-obsession as a kind of self-preservation in the midst of an often queer unfriendly mainstream arts scene. We became friends and colleagues and shared many experiences in theatre and poetry over the years. His work has always been a great source of inspiration and enlightenment for so many of us starting out as arts practitioners within a variety of diverse genres. His intellect, wit, and genuine care for the artists he encountered will be deeply missed. His friendship and sincere/campy camaraderie will be cherished for so many years to come." - David Bateman

Sandra Rechico reading R. M. Vaughan’s prose poem 7 Steps to a Better Artist Statement from ruined stars, poems by R.M. Vaughan, ECW Press: Toronto, 2004


Sandra Rechico has maintained a long studio practice in drawing, photography, installation and object-making where she regularly looks at maps, routing, wayfaring, navigation and distance. She is also interested in the residue and detritus from walks, and their representation. Rechico also has a long history of site-specific work, responding to the galleries or locations where she is located. Her current work looks at women taking up space in the landscape using Barbara Hepworth, and the South West of Britain as a starting point. She has been involved in numerous community projects, the most significant being the co-curator of WADE, a series of temporary public art projects commissioned from artists that took place in the city of Toronto’s wading pools. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, where she is also the coordinator of the Master of Fine Arts program in studio art. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and is held in many public and private collections. Rechico has exhibited across Canada, in the USA, Europe and Australia.

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