An Ongoing Dialogue …

One of the most remarkable things about making art for me has always been the opportunities this mad existence has offered to meet – and work with – some truly exceptional human beings.

I have been gifted with several such ongoing encounters, one of which I’d like to share today …

I have worked on (and continue to work on) a collaborative project entitled Archives of Absence with  Catherine Owen, a terrific poet from Vancouver. We launched a chapbook, a miscellany, and the visual art from this meeting of minds in April 2011 at the Edmonton Poetry Festival, and I blogged about it here.

Catherine and I also wrote about our experience of working together on this project in an essay entitled “Engaging Space” … and that essay has (happily!!) just been published by Radius – you can find it here.

It is an amazing thing to me – as someone who has ‘shifted gears’ over the years from written to visual modes of expression to see this (very) visual project described and made real in words … another iteration, and other way of seeing all that we have seen as individuals, and as a collaborative team. This collaboration has been all the richer too, in that it has provoked a re-kindling of my desire to work with words again in an active way – to write, as well as make visual art – and that is a tremendous gift, beyond the telling.

The work on Archives of Absence continues … I continue to make work for this project, returning to it as a place which distills many of the ideas that permeate both my work and Catherine’s on an ongoing basis. Each foray in brings something new: a new way of seeing the land, the city, the work already made … the way I work and why I do what I do.

Collaboration keeps people honest and open, keeps the ego checked at the door, and and makes one just unsettled enough to keep the work continually fresh. For these things and so many others, I am always grateful.

Engaging Space will be released this spring by Wolsak & Wynn, in a collection of essays and prose memoirs entitled Catalysts – featuring visual art from the Archives of Absence project on the cover.

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