Members’ Gallery

Steel Plate, Slag Block

Brenda Mabel Reid

Exhibition Date: February 23 – April 5, 2024
Opening Reception: Friday, March 8, 7-10PM

Image Credit: Brenda Mabel Reid, ‘Cell-elevation’, 2024,  Courtesy of the artist.

Artist statement

Welcome to the architect’s office. Through the lens of architectural drawing, Steel Plate, Slag Block examines the role, responsibility, and ethics of architects and architecture. It explores the design of four ‘correctional facilities,’ “Ontario Reformatory” in Millbrook, “Addition to the Metropolitan Toronto Jail,” “Building for Incorrigible Girls” in Galt, and “Building For Ontario Training School” (for boys) in Guelph. They were designed by Barnett and Rieder Architects in Southern Ontario between 1954 and 1956. None of these buildings remain today, though their impact lingers.
Drawing from Reid’s experience in the field, they focussed on the business of architecture, design process, and the office as the birthplace of these ‘correctional facilities.’ Working with the original blueprints, they teased out critical details and design choices present in the drawings. These details were contextualized through reading accounts and conducting archival research. They experienced great tension between the sterility of the blueprints and the historical accounts of these places.
The works were created using various techniques, including computer-aided embroidery, screen printing, and cyanotype prints, to explore reproduction, repetition and architectural process. Through the works and the installation, Reid is interested in the aspects of design practice that disappeared in the final blueprint set and, ultimately – from the landscape itself.


Brenda Mabel Reid is an emerging non-binary multi-media artist based in the Haldimand Tract in Kitchener, Ontario. They completed their Master of Architecture (M.Arch) in 2021 and Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) in 2019 at the University of Waterloo. Reid’s work has been exhibited in Ontario and Newfoundland, and they’ve completed residencies at Eastern Edge (St. John’s, NFLD), Centre[3] (Hamilton, ON), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (Kitchener, ON), and Otherwise Studio (Guelph, ON). They have been featured on national television for their work, received awards, and received grants from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, Ontario Arts Council and the Canadian Council for the Arts.