The process of installing (and then striking) and exhibition always feels a little bit like alchemy to me.
It’s the presentation of a series of things transformed: from the raw materials, to the work, to the exhibition itself … and then it all disappears again. Of course it’s not that at all in practical terms.
It’s the work of being an artist, in all the different shapes that takes.
Still, it’s an interesting process to be completely inside, from start to finish …
And soon, all those boxes will be on their way across the country … and I have no idea where they will wind up after that!
It’s been a remarkable time; the residency and performance, the talk, the exhibition … and now that it’s all done and packed up, a little time to reflect.
The first week was all about slowing down, getting reacquainted with the town and the land … shifting gears, not unlike the tides here do every 12 hours.
There’s a generosity to the pace of life in Parrsboro; in the Maritimes in general. There’s room enough and time enough to do what you need to do. It’s a precious thing. It’s also been really nice reconnecting with people I’d met last year, seeing friends who live in this part of the country, catching up on news, feeling welcomed. A good place to start getting myself sorted, to make work, gather ideas like I gathered materials … .
It’s been a summer notable too for the generosity of several people that have left me feeling deeply grateful for the opportunity to be making work in this place.
So, this is a note of thanks, to many people, and on many counts:
To two lovely local visitors to my work space in the Nonesuch Centre for the Performing Arts (which was formerly Trinity United Church here in town). Louis Heb came by to see what was happening, and shared stories about himself and his family’s connection to the church over the years: in particular a family member who was the church organist. Tom Hatfield came by too – he remembered attending Boy Scout meetings when he was a kid, in the same room I am working in now. He also remembered the organ, and the lovely acoustics. Both Louis and Tom were happy to see that the building was going to be saved, and taken care of, and used to bring people together again. It was a real gift to be offered these stories, and to see so directly the way in which the building still houses the memories of the community in an active way. It’s remarkable to be sharing the space with all of that history, and making work derived from the landscape and objects that come from the area.
Things and places – like people – hold histories and memories of their own.
To Randy Corcoran, captain, amazing source of sea-and-boat-related stuff, and an artist in his own right. My hosts at Main & Station connected me to Randy after my residency last year, and he and I had been in touch over the winter about various materials and objects I was looking for to make sculptures. He’s a busy guy – doing charter boat tours and house painting in the summers – so I felt fortunate that he had a bit of time to spare to show me some of the things he’s gathered, and get his invaluable assistance in finding more materials and getting them to the studio. It turned out that Randy had a great stash of things that were going to be really, really useful for this project, and he’d managed to get a lead on a key item I’d been searching for …
Which brings me to thanking…
Donald McCully (the Fox) – who really made my day by parting with an old hand sewn canvas sail that became a key part of the exhibition! I also got a look at the boat he built, and hear about the process of building it, and other stories besides.
To Susan Clarke (curator) June Wagstaff (archivist), and Lisa Miller (digital records/archives) at Ottawa House Museum. Thanks to you all for your support of this project!
Susan allowed Scott and I to do some field recordings at the Museum in 2016 that have made their way into the soundscape Scott created for our exhibition. She also allowed us to borrow a ship’s bell from the collection for the performance of “Macromareal Prelude” on August 5 & 6. June and Lisa have also been incredibly helpful to me in searching through the image archives and other holdings of the Museum.
To Krista Wells, another local artist @ Artlab – for the scrap canvas I so desperately needed to repair the sail! AND for her excellent coffee and conversation over the month, and for being part of the “Macromareal Band” for our performance on August 6th!
To ALL the musicians, who made the premiere of “Macromareal Prelude” such a success: Kyle Dinaut – tuba, Michael Fuller – baritone saxophone, Timi Levy – violin, Jamie Oatt – trumpet, Joel Robertson – clarinet, Bruce Robertson – trumpet, Krista Wells – trombone
To Angela Glanzmann, friend and fellow artist, for documenting the performance, so that I could be an active participant.
To Nancy Agati and Sara McKarney – who were also on residencies this summer at Main & Station: thanks to you both for the great feedback and insight into the work, thanks for the laughs and the beach walks, and for being such great artists. You are both so inspiring.
To Scott Smallwood, collaborator extraordinaire, colleague, and friend. Thank you for your hard work, generous sharing of ideas and knowledge, and for your faith in this project. It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with you … and I hope we can do more together SOON!
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!
We had a marvellous time on Sunday, presenting “Macromareal Prelude: In Fog and Storm and Rain” !
Everything fell into place so beautifully – we had planned to present at the beach, but the forecast pre-empted that idea – but Plan B turned out to be so great! No regrets there!
Deep thanks to all the musicians for a fantastic performance, and for being willing to adapt as needed on short notice. Thanks also to Ottawa House for lending us the beautiful ship’s bell from their artifact collection for this event. Special shout out to Randy Corcoran for the tremendous support, and donation of the buoys for my performative part in the day’s proceedings!
The Nonesuch Centre for the Performing Arts has really good acoustics, and lovely nooks and crannies to hide musicians … and Scott did a terrific job of adapting the work to the space. We were able to get a really nice recording of the performance, and some great photos and video. Scott even played the pipe organ!
Monday we were into full-on exhibition install mode … and while it was a hard working day, we got a great deal accomplished! Almost ready (already!) for the exhibition opening this Saturday (August 12) … more to follow on that very soon.
In the mean time, you can have a listen to the rehearsal of “Macromareal Prelude: In Fog and Storm and Sunshine”(on First Beach, Saturday August 5) here:
And the performance (at the Nonesuch Centre, Sunday August 6) here:
Had a great evening at the Evidence performance on July 27!
It was a real treat to hear Stephan and Scott again, and especially so since this was the first-ever in the new Nonesuch Centre for the Performing Arts.
It became readily apparent that these two musicians have worked together for some time – but I didn’t realize how long it’s been until that night. 17 years! A real testament to their friendship, and the way their respective practices as sound artists and composers complement one another.
I found it interesting too that the each use completely different software for working with the field recordings they use in live performance. As Stephan pointed out to me after the concert, they think differently, and so they’re each designed their workspaces/software in the way that best suits each of them. Made perfect sense, but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me … and are what they did together even more remarkable somehow, for the seamlessness and symbiosis between them in performance.
I also (despite Stephan’s advice to the contrary) found myself watching the two of them as much as I spent time with my eyes closed, immersed in the soundscape they were creating. Their concentration, and the deep attentiveness they paid to one another and to the improvisational work that developed between them was a fantastic lesson in presence, and in how much we ‘forget to hear’ or simply ‘tune out’ in daily living. Admittedly, often with good reason – there’s not a little white noise to filter just to stay sane these days! But nonetheless – we also miss many amazing little moments through inattention.
And after the concert, there was a happy and unexpected bonus: a great post-performance Q&A session with the audience! Lovely to hear the feedback from several in attendance – there were many insightful, thoughtful questions and comments, which I’m sure was rewarding for Stephan and Scott. Always nice to know that your work has provoked thought and generated interesting connections and ideas for people!
A great night overall, and in a really beautiful space.
Just sorry that Stephan had to leave us to go back to Chicago so soon. I’m hoping he’ll be back sooner rather than later!
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!