And there it was … gone!

21st Century Nesting Practices has closed, and it’s all been packed and stored away again.

So strange, that process: how things come out of boxes and wrapping to take on a life of their own for a while, and then disappear again.

It was a great experience – a lovely way to come ‘full circle’ with this work and see it from a different vantage point (coming out on the other side, so to speak).

That was in fact the case when a delightful group of poets I had worked with in 2007 (a decade, already?!) came to the gallery to do a reading of work from a collaborative collection titled Eyeing the Magpie. It was nice to re-connect with these poets, and to have this bird-inspired work presented in the context of this exhibition was really fun. My thanks to Nancy MacKenzie, Anna Mioduchowska, Julie C Robinson, Myrna Garanis, and Rusti Lehay (all pictured below) for presenting their work!

 

I am so grateful to the McMullen Gallery for the opportunity to exhibit this body of work; the context and the feedback I received throughout the exhibition was invaluable to me, and allowed me to see my work and my practice as a whole in a new way.

Deep Thanks also to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, for the support in creating the soundscape for this exhibition!

So now, a shift to new things – the first inklings of the coming spring are in the air, a new project going up for exhibition this week, and lots of studio work and new ideas percolating.

 

One more Week, and an Event!

This is the last week that 21st Century Nesting Practices is on exhibition at the McMullen Gallery. Amazing how fast the time has gone by!

The exhibition closes  on Sunday February 25th; morning of the 26th, I’ll be in the gallery, packing up the work.

In the mean time though – pop in if you have a chance, and if you like poetry as well as visual art, there’s a special event happening in conjunction with the exhibition this week:

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I had the pleasure of working with these lovely writers a few years ago – and I am so happy that they are bringing their work to the gallery to share in amongst all my nests!

Almost all of the bird’s nests in 21st Century Nesting Practices are in fact magpie nests – that resilient, ever-so-smart-and-sassy bird that is such a big part of the avian landscape here.

I’m looking forward to this very much – and hope some of you can make it too.

On Galleries, and other difficult spaces

And excellent essay from Riva Symko, Writer in Residence at Latitude 53 in Edmonton.
http://blog.latitude53.org/post/145013825132/does-art-require-four-white-walls-and-a-concretehttps://secure.assets.tumblr.com/post.js
Rivals thoughts come at a particularly opportune moment, as I am heading to the CARFAC National conference and AGM in Montreal.
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The problematic nature of the gallery-as-institution has direct implications for the ability of artists to have the opportunity to show work, to experiment, as Riva so eloquently discusses.
There’s also this … Who gets to show, where, and why also has direct economic implications on an umber of levels (including the ability of artists to earn a copyright-based licensing fee for the exhibition of their work in public galleries, artist-runs, and museums).
Much food for thought here …
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 … and no doubt, much more to come over the next few days …

Nests! at TIX!

I am very happy to let you know that TIX on the Square in Edmonton, AB is carrying some of my limited-edition artist books!

NEST {types} is a collaborative work, with lovely poems written by Vancouver-based poet Catherine Owen, and hand carved linocut prints by me. Each print/poem pairing revolves around a particular type or shape of nest: cup, saucer, scrape, burrow, and so on.

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I printed and bound only 50 books; the linocuts were printed on rice paper, and the text is printed on eco-friendly straw paper; cover stock is FSC-certified. Hand-bound with unbleached linen cord.

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Get in touch with the lovely people at TIX if you’d like a copy – they are perfect gifts!

Wanted: A Voice of Reason

I woke up this morning to a text from my daughter.

Her place of work was in lockdown because someone had spotted a man in black combats, with an earpiece, carrying what appeared to be a rifle wrapped in black fabric.

This, on the heels of what are being described as two other ‘terrorist’ attacks in various places in my country in the past couple of days.

These events are frightening and terrible – as is the loss of life, regardless of whose life is lost in these events.

What I want is a voice of reason. Not violence, not retribution, not hatred and fear matching hatred and fear.

So, this morning, I offer the words of Elizabeth May … One of the few voices of reason I am hearing out I the world right now:

… we must ensure that this appalling act of violence is not used to justify a disproportionate response. We must not resort to hyperbolic rhetoric. We need to determine if these actions are coordinated to any larger group or are the actions of one or two deranged individuals. If it is the latter we must develop tools and a systematic approach to dissuade our youth from being attracted to violent extremist groups of any kind. We need to protect our rights and liberties in a democracy.

I have no answers – but I do know that responding to violence with inflammatory rhetoric and more violence will lead to no good for anyone. There are no winners in a world filled with hatred and fear and violence. None.

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I am immensely thankful that things turned out fine – she is safe, and no one was harmed.  But I am also immensely concerned that histrionic, nationalistic responses to events like these will only make matters worse, and ultimately place many more people at significant risk.

There has to be a better way.

Interview on Arts East

For those of you who might be interested in some of the story behind Boundary|Time|Surface, the sculptural installation I did this summer in Newfoundland:

I recently did an interview with Michelle Brunet from Arts East on the project and on my practice in more general terms. It’s just been posted on the Arts East blog, and you can find it HERE>.

I am working on pulling together a static page for this project, and if all goes well, it will see the light of day in the next few days. I’ll let you know when it’s live.

In the mean time – a few more images from Newfoundland, and Boundary|Time|Surface. I miss this magical place already.

Looking out from the shore at Green Point, June 22 2014. Image courtesy ME Cooke.
Looking out from the shore at Green Point, June 22 2014. Image courtesy ME Cooke.
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Boundary|Time|Surface, June 22 2014. Tide beginning to rise. Image Courtesy ME Cooke.
Sunset, June 22 2014 at Green Point.
Sunset, June 22 2014 at Green Point.

 

Some thoughts on Art Education

I wanted to take a moment to pass on some thoughts from a colleague of mine – Stacey Cann – who is a tireless advocate for the importance of art education. Stacey has been a driving force at Harcourt House Artist-Run Centre for a number of years now, and has developed some great art-ed programs there, including the Art Bus Tours, which are beginning right away. (yes, this is a very broad hint to check it out!)

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Here’s a great guest article Stacey recently wrote for the blog Prairie Seen; I think it touches on a number of really important ideas with respect to the impact of art education in society as a whole.  Most pertinent (to my mind anyway) is Stacey’s observations regarding the impact of art education on practising artists: the didactic information supplied in galleries, the endless (and sometimes endlessly obscure) artist statements provided at exhibitions and elsewhere, and many more … in short, the role of art education in situating the work artists do.

Some great food for thought here – I’d love to hear your comments  the ideas she presents.

 

Enjoy!