I Should Be Dreaming of Butterflies, 2009

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Sharon Switzer

I Should Be Dreaming of Butterflies, 2009


In her latest body of work, video artist Sharon Switzer continues on the trajectory of pairing unlikely, poetic, and darkly humorous texts with evocative visuals. Known for text-based videos, Switzer, in this new work adds abstracted digital drawings, often referencing certain real-world objects or ideas. Some works denote quick thoughts, others are ultra-short stories. 

She brings intangible ideas to life by animating still images. She uses video to add motion to the original drawings, which over time expand to overwhelm the screen. Animating the text also enriches the relationship between words and images.


Using the tools associated with mass media, Switzer creates idiosyncratic work that is driven by personal voice and a sense of whimsy. In doing this, she undermines the viewer’s expectations. Within a greater context, these videos reference the real world and real time as a point of tension for the animations, even though much of the work is created without the use of a video camera, tablet or digital pen. 


The title, I Should Be Dreaming of Butterflies, refers to what she should be doing - dreaming of butterflies - instead of what she is doing - thinking about life in a more realistic, banal and sometimes negative way. Switzer, all the while, is maintaining a sense of humour. By referencing dreams, she draws attention to an otherworldly space where the work exists.


Using tools of mass media and video, Sharon Switzer examines her interests in the relationship between photography and the invisible: ghosts, time, things that photography shouldn't be allowed to capture but does.


Switzer has exhibited her media art in Canada and the U.S. since the early 1990s. Her work was included in the exhibition Oh, You Beautiful Doll at Andrea Meislin Gallery, NYC, 2006, and solo exhibitions of her video work were presented at Corkin Gallery, Toronto: Falling From Grace, 2006 and I Should Be Dreaming Of Butterflies, 2009. Her videos were featured as part of the Canadian Film Center’s Media Lab presentation at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in 2010. In April 2011 Switzer was the Visiting Artist at the Center for Art Tapes in Halifax, NS, and participated in the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival with a large-scale public projection of her video animations. Her work has also been showcased extensively at international art fairs including; Art Basel, VIP online Art Fair 2011 and Armory 2011 and 2012. 

Switzer is the founder and director of the Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF), that takes place each September and which she curates across Canada and around the world. Switzer taught new media and visual art in Ontario universities for eight years, including digital creation and curatorial courses at OCAD University over the past 5 years. She is actively involved in the Toronto arts community, presently serving as Vice President of Gallery TPW’s Board of Directors. Switzer has an MFA from the University of Western Ontario, is a Graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab.