Canadian First Nations artist Wendy DesChene graduated with an MFA in Painting from Tyler School of Art and immediately incorporated materials that would support activism. Weary of the limitations placed on art by institutions, she fostered audience participation in her large installations. The outcome, a large collaborative community exhibition titled WYSIWYG, was unleashed onto a dozen different locations, including the Art League of Houston, Minnesota State University, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and The Henry Street Settlement of New York. Her explorations have been honored with several Canada Council Travel Grants and a recent Verdant Fund Grant.
In addition, variations of collaborative-based projects were showcased at the Soap Factory and Tomio Koyama Gallery of Japan. Her longstanding collaborative work as PlantBot Genetics with artist Jeff Schmuki has been awarded NEA and Pulitzer Foundation Grants for exhibitions and programming at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, The Goethe Institute in Egypt, the Bach Modern in Austria, the New Gallery of Canada, and Marfa Dialogues in St. Louis.
Wendy continues to critique art world structures, systems and protocols, through interventionist strategies that include the placing works on the street or within institutions without permission. Using projectors, stickers, art liberation tactics, and videos she has commandeered the worlds most prestigious art institutions as her studio and target. Documented work from her "Unauthorized Series" has been exhibited in numerous international exhibitions including the Sanlun Yishu Project in Beijing, China, The Ice Box Project Space in Philadelphia, PA, and the International Center for Art and Design in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Due to racist and outdated laws in Canada, her family has only recently been able to reclaim their indigenous status as part of the Métis Nation. As a large part of belonging to a modern First Nation is finding paths back, new artworks will focus on reclamation and investigating what it means to be indigenous. Painting and drawings from past bodies of work have traveled to the Drawing Center in New York, the McColl Center for Art and Innovation in Charlotte, and other well-regarded venues. In addition, she has completed many international residency programs, including The American Academy in Rome, Jentel, I-Park, Pouch Cove Canada, the Hafnarborg Art Museum Iceland, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, KulttuuriKauppila Art Center Finland, Buitenwerkplats Netherlands, Airgentum Spain, and Mauser Eco House Costa Rica. Currently, she is Professor of Painting at Auburn University.