Have been pondering many (often divergent) ideas over the holidays.
It’s been part of the process of getting back “into it” after the time away – thinking about what directions do I want to take in my practice over the next while for sure, and getting myself sorted for the commitments I already have (more on that soon!) – but this pondering has also been about ideas of growth and change on a broader level.
What I want to help manifest in the world.
What the world can teach us about how to manifest beauty of all sorts on an ongoing basis, if we but pay attention. See, rather than merely look.
So it wasn’t entirely surprising that I came across the video below. Remarkable work, and much fuel for thought here. Enjoy – and best of this New Year to you.
I am preparing to fly West this afternoon, after a busy and very productive several months in various spots in Nova Scotia. A great residency with Scott Smallwood, and new work launched in Parrsboro, at Main & Station. The start of some new and exciting collaborations with Deborah Carruthers and with Susan Tooke. Time to experiment with cyanotype processes, work on video and audio projects. Time to hike, to make photographs, to think, to further the long-term process of healing my body (thank you Acupuncture and Massage Therapy!)
It feels like much more time has passed since I was last on ‘home turf’ – or rather, that the tempo and scale of time as I experience it has shifted in a fundamental way – and now I have to find my way back to something more familiar. Not quite there – and I think that’s a very good thing. VERY.
It was a good place and time to be reminded of the diverse (and often very difficult, painful) histories of any given place. How easy it is not to see that – how easy to get lost in the vast beauty of the place – any place – and look but not see. The beauty is part of those histories; it’s woven into the different scales of time inherent in that locale to be sure. Geologic time. Tidal Time. Seasonal Time. Mythic time. Colonial Time (a very slippery fish, this one). Settlement Time. Expulsion Time. Industrial Time. And on and on … but make no mistake, there’s nothing linear about this.
The ‘present’ as we fashion it in any given moment is its own rabbit hole; a crucial vantage point (and obviously the only one available in a pragmatic sense), but it’s also a very troubled and troubling place from which to assess the relative value of most things and actions and ideas … . The popular narratives that tend to overwhelm all other chatter are still those that yoke the present to doing cartwheels toward the ‘somehow-better-future’. Because, of course ‘things’ will be ‘improved.’ This is the wish, the hope, and the outcome to be willed into being, somehow.
And under it all, the land remains—a page upon which this story is “written, erased, rewritten,” as author Teju Cole put it. Only memory and history can interrupt this cycle of revision we commonly refer to as progress. And those interruptions are vital, absolutely necessary, if we are to navigate some way toward a better way of existence for ourselves (on all levels), and co-existence with all beings.
Remains to be seen how well I am able to carry these glimmers of understanding forward as I return to the familiar places and routines – but the intent (and hope) is there. Patience, process, compassion.
Some simple, beautiful work here. A thoughtful dialogue with the land, and our impact upon it as part of an ongoing process of creation …. and destruction. Here, as in all things, we truly do reap what we sow. Nice to know that occasionally that the product can also be beauty.
I’m a little boggled by how the days have passed by since our exhibition opened. Just this week, and I’m back to Parrsboro to take down the show, and pack it all up for shipping.
I’ve been really quite chuffed by the feedback we have been getting on the work. Our lovely hosts at Main & Station tell us that there have been a good many visitors, and that many of them have been spending some real time with the work. Some, up to an hour.
That is so lovely to hear. I am deeply grateful to everyone that has stopped in so far, and for the opportunity to show this brand-new work, fresh out of the studio.
And if you are in the area, macromareal (a rising tide lifts all boats) is on exhibition until August 26th at Main & Station in the 2nd floorGallery. If you do stop by, please let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the work!
She was in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on a short visiting-friends-and-seeing-new-things holiday, and fortuitously, it worked out that she could come to Parrsboro for a couple of days.
We started at Partridge Island and the beach below Ottawa House, and then headed out to First Beach for some lunch and to see the Bay at high tide for the day (something I hadn’t seen at this location, despite all my trips out here!).
We had a blast touring around beaches and going on foraging adventures, talking art and life, and generally enjoying this magnificent locale.
Then we were off again to the beach a Diligent River, which is stunningly beautiful – but required patience, because the tide wasn’t exactly in our favour. It took some roaming and squishing through red Fundy mud to finally get across to the gravel spit to forage for goodies. Didn’t get much, but it was worth it many times over in any case; the view is a special thing.
Such a treat, in so many ways – it’s always nice when work and not-work come together with friends, and it becomes an opportunity to accomplish things AND just hang out!
I’m sitting in the airport, waiting to board … and pondering what the next weeks will bring. I’m off to a residency in Parrsboro Nova Scotia for the next month.
Heading back to Main & Station to work with Scott Smallwood on our Macromareal project! Feels a bit odd, actually – after the year’s worth of planning and thinking – to actually be on the verge of doing.
Excited, and a little nervous, and really really happy and grateful for the opportunity.
A lovely piece on history, time, change – and sense of place. What place means when it is rendered in the first person, and intimately connected to the sights and sounds in a landscape? We are each responsible for the reality we inhabit, in all ways.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
My father was born and raised in Montreal in the first half of the last century. He served in the RCAF (briefly) and the Royal Canadian Navy (less briefly) during World War II. In the ’60s he…