I had an opportunity to get out to Green Point one last time to make some small works on Monday. It was a bittersweet thing; I was delighted to have the opportunity to work in that remarkable place again, but I was doing so fully aware that there are only a few days left here, and this was my last time on these rocks for quite a while.
Still. The work took on a playful quality as the day progressed – I was reminded of being a kid and playing on the beach for hours – there were many ‘what if’ and ‘why not try’ moments. It was lovely to feel so unencumbered by the need for ‘results’. To be able to get lost in responding to the place and its physical character in a simple, childlike way.
Part of that was the scale of these pieces: they are all small, hand-based gestures toward understanding the place in simple ways, intimate approaches to line and light and surface.
The photographs, however, can tell a very different story; the absence of many reference points for scale allows each piece a different kind of solidity, and different understandings of lines and borders and containment come into play.
It was a good day, and especially so because it left me with a great deal to think about.
I’ll miss this place.
Especially because the room to breathe and think is such an intrinsic part of all of it.
Time has passed SO quickly – and been so full of things to do and see and make.
Took a couple of days to decompress after the installation of Boundary|Time|Surface at Green Point; saw more of the park, took some fabulous hikes.
I’ve also been spending some time in the studio, starting to work on (and work out) what I will be developing from this project, and also getting back on the rocks and trying out a few things that I hope will bear creative fruit at some point.
I’m still hoping to make some more small works out at Green Point in the next good low-tide window – but as always with this project, the weather and tide have the final say. It looks like we might be in for some stormy weather, right when the tide window is best … but I’m not giving up just yet!
In the mean time … I will be presenting the final talk for my residency this Friday, July 4.
I’ll be posting excerpts of some video and more images here soon – just need to finish reviewing the images and video I have already. SO. MUCH. VIDEO. SO. MANY. IMAGES.
What a marvelous adventure this is, and has been so far!
Sunday turned out to be a near-perfect day for installing Boundary|Time|Surface at Green Point.
The day was full of high cloud, lightly overcast, and calm wind. Great light, and nothing extra to contend with that could have an impact on the completion of the work.
Had a FANTASTIC group of volunteers helping with the work of moving logs and extra rocks down the beach! Couldn’t have asked for any better bunch – and they were so efficient, the work went much faster than I’d anticipated – we were ahead of schedule by a couple of hours!!
My DEEP GRATITUDE to:
Anne Marceau, Michael Burzynski, Renee Martin, Lisa Liu, Shawna White, and Ryan Lacombe – and of course, to John Waldron, who has provided vital geological input, logistical assistance, and been an endlessly patient sounding board as this work has taken shape over the last several months.
Thank you SO MUCH for all your help and support!
We all had time to sit with the work, to walk up and down the line as the tide came in and started to take the posts down. It struck me how much more solid the structure felt than I initially anticipated it would. There was something about it that felt really rooted to the land, despite the rational understanding that it really was a fragile thing, that it would be gone in a matter of hours.
So many resonances.
And a silence about it, a stillness and a presence that held into evening and sunset.
A good day, and a remarkable experience of this place. Like no other.
I have been neurotically watching the weather forecasts the last couple of days, hoping against the odds that the lovely weather we’ve had would return in time for Saturday. And as of a few minutes ago, it looked like this:
So, no luck for Saturday. BUT – Sunday does look like it will work!
SO, an “executive decision” has been made:
We are going to create Boundary|Time|Surface at Green Point on SUNDAY JUNE 22 2014!
The basics on how the day will shape up are as follows:
We will be on site from about 9:00 am on.
Volunteers arrive 9:30 – meet at the Parks Canada sign by the beach – look along the beach to the headland; you should see us!
Construction will begin at 10:00 am, and finish before 3:00pm.
I will remain at Green Point with my partner in this adventure, John, to document the tide’s alteration of the sculpture – high tide is at about 9pm, so we will be watching and recording until then.
Not sure where the little fellow is going, but he seems happy to be going there!
I find him a little creepy, to be honest, but perhaps even more interesting because of that.
He’s from Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland – the town closest to where I am working at Green Point in Gros Morne National Park.
In this part of the world, it’s often a challenge to get from one place to another; for example, we are staying in Woody Point NL, but I am working on the other side of Bonne Bay. So, that has meant about an hour and 10 minutes drive, one way, to get to the installation site.
Thankfully, that’s changed with the warmer weather! In the last couple of days, the seasonal water taxi/passenger ferry has started up again – and it cuts the “commute” by about 40 minutes each way! It’s a short walk to the ferry dock from our house, and then it’s only 15 minutes across the bay to Norris Point. From there, about 20 minutes to Green Point.
Travelling by boat is probably my favourite mode of transportation. I love being on the water; it feels like there’s more room to breathe and think out there. And here, the scenery on the ride over is fantastic:
But maybe one of the most delightful and unexpected bonuses for taking the water taxi is what you can do while you’re waiting to board:
A fantastic end to another good work day on the rocks!
Things are really coming together, and if the weather holds, we will be “all systems go” for the installation on June 21.
Will keep you posted and confirm closer to the day! Getting excited!
Finished off the week with lots going on – did an interview with CBC Radio Corner Brook on Thursday morning*, and then spent the afternoon and early evening at Green Point, hauling and placing rocks out on the wave-cut platform in preparation for the installation.
*(The radio spot aired on Friday morning, but I missed the broadcast, as I had my head down working on the talk for Friday night! I am hoping I can get a link or sound file for it, so I can post it here.)
Had a great time last night at the artist talk, and speaking with people afterward.
A Huge THANK YOU to everyone that attended!
What a turnout! We had 50 people in the audience at Galliott Studios. It was a little overwhelming (in a good way) at first – the people here are so warm and welcoming though, that it was easy to feel among friends.
A couple of special shout-outs are in order: to Rob and Greg from Parks Canada for arranging and setting up the technology and getting signs posted in town promoting the talk, and to Jennifer at Galliott Studios for being such a lovely host.
I had some really great questions after the talk too, and had some people step up right away as volunteers to help us build the work when we do the main installation. A tremendous thing, to feel so supported by a community when I am so very much a newcomer, and ‘from away.’
Had a lovely walk back to the house afterward, complete with a full moon peeking over the hills.
This morning we woke to brilliant blue skies, blazing sun, and a bay so still it looked like a mirror. Again, whales passing through. A very auspicious start to a slower paced day … Taking a little time to catch up on various things, do some writing, relax, and take stock of the ‘what to do next’ list, after a very busy week of long days and work on the rocks.
It’s been a good day; productive in a recuperative, quiet way.
I will be giving an artist’s talk on my residency project, Boundary|Time| Surface, on Friday, 13 June (YES, Friday the 13th! I was born on Friday the 13th too – so I am going to see it as a lucky omen).
The talk will be hosted at Galliott Studios, a great little cafe/gallery/studio space in Woody Point.
The folks at Creative Gros Morne and Visit Gros Morne have been kind enough to post information about the talk too – THANKS! Have a look at both web sites – this is a really vibrant community, and I feel very fortunate to spend time here.
We began to work on the rocks at Green Point in the past few days, starting to work things out in earnest.
As it turns out, we had a bit of a geological dilemma to work out before we even began testing ideas for the sculpture! There were some differences between various sources regarding the exact location of the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary at Green Point, so we had to figure it out for ourselves, just to be sure. While I am not overly concerned about being exactly on the mark all the way out on the wave-cut platform, I do want to make sure that our starting point on the cliff face is correct, and follow that layer as well as I can (seaweed and the odd fault in the rocks not withstanding). After some work, we got it sussed out, and traced it out from the cliff as well, so we could position the trial pole properly for future reference.
Here’s John standing on the cliff face; his right hand is resting on the Boundary.
Saturday was a ideal day in many respects – enough wind on the rocks to give us quite a show, and to really test the construction methods and durability of the components of the work in less-than-perfect circumstances.
There were a number of things to fine-tune: testing different methods of building supports for the the sculpture, figuring out how many uprights will be needed … and crucially, how long it takes to move materials from the beach out onto the wave-cut platform to build the work.
No matter where I am working, or with what materials, beginning a new project always has this time of testing built into it, complete with false starts and digressions. Moments when everything you thought would work perfectly … Doesn’t. When you wind up wondering what on earth you were thinking, and if in fact you weren’t completely daft when you thought this was a good idea.
Happily (so far) those moments have been very few. Things went really well, and we are cautiously optimistic that the construction will go as planned, and actually be simpler than we initially thought! We’ve got ample in the way of supplies … so that’s not an issue. And it turns out that there’s a good supply of rock on the shore right where we are building that will provide excellent support material.
Monday was a long day on the rocks, but we got a lot accomplished, and had some lovely conversations with people as well. A tour group came by in the late morning, and then from 1 – 3:30, there was a Parks Canada Interpreter with us at Green Point, and we had more visitors then too.
I managed to get a big stockpile of rocks moved, in preparation for building the sculpture in a couple of weeks …
We put up a few more test poles too, to try a variety of support methods, and to see how different base surfaces would impact our ability to get the uprights to stay up where we wanted them.
There’s still a lot to get sorted and fine tune (getting all the poles we will need in a stockpile and re-testing all the technology for the documentation are the next two jobs on the list!), but we have some time before the actual construction day, and lots of things to learn and do in between.
In the end, that’s what makes it all worthwhile: the process, the learning, the letting go. It’s never entirely as one plans – nor should it be.
Oftentimes, it’s the unexpected things that make it better than you ever anticipated.
We arrived in Woody Point to begin the Residency at Gros Morne Monday afternoon. It’s been a week of getting settled in the house that Parks Canada provides to the artists, setting up the studio, walking in the town and getting familiar with the town, and meeting some people.
I am repeatedly struck by the beauty of this place. It’s got well under my skin already, and I don’t think I will ever forget just how special it is, or how lucky I am to be able to spend time here.
Have been blessed with vistas of glass-smooth water, mist, almost-daily visits of whales (probably Minke) … Gulls wheeling and settling by turns, in search of a meal … Big crows, everywhere, pontificating from treetops, fence posts, roof tops … Goldfinches at the feeder outside the kitchen window; the most brilliant yellow plumage I have ever seen.
Received some great news, which set life a-kilter and many things in motion (a bit like a juggler on a unicycle) …
I have been accepted into the Artist-In-Residence Program “Art in the Park” at Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland.
The project I am going to work on will be a site-specific installation at Green Point:
Green Point has been chosen as the Global stratotype representing the division between the Cambrian and Ordovician periods in geological history.
So, this spot on the planet holds a boundary, a division in time and history. Just like the strata shown in the images above, there are many layers to that story, different scales of time and history, differing notions of memory. Many ways to understand change, and the essentially ephemeral nature of all things.
These are some of the things I am going to be considering in my work during my stay.
There is, in many ways, a very arbitrary quality to this division; other places on the planet record this same point in geological history. But it is here, this one place which was chosen to be the internationally recognized stratotype. There’s food for thought there too … so many human-generated boundaries/divisions/separations have this same arbitrary quality. There’s power in choosing. Power in naming and defining. Power in distinguishing the sides of boundary, whether it is readily visible or not: we know what it means to draw the ‘line in the sand.’
These are things I will be considering too.
There’s a raw, vital beauty to the landscape there. It commands respect. It’s a place that can make a mere human feel quite insignificant.
I think those are important things to consider too.
And I know there will be many adventures over the weeks of my stay – and I will do my best to capture some of that journey here.