This work concerns itself with notions of memory, time, and place. It is a culmination of the practice of walking a single circle at the edge of the Bow River over several years. It investigates the merging of the body with the landscape and the integration of sensory experiences, emotions and what the body brings. Walking provides a way to articulate grief and narrate personal histories with the never-ending dance of the gyre. The repetition of this act carries the art into a realm of ritual. Profile image courtesy of Douglas Barns.
September was incredibly beautiful at the edge of the river. The circle is different every time I walk, just as I am different. This body of work captures revelation, the sadness, and the remarkable pleasure of each passing day. It struggles against time and the clock. It tries endlessly to contain time, weather, the never ending circling, but is helpless, every single time, to succeed. During September I learned that my father, my greatest supporter in this journey as an artist, was going to die. This work captures days before knowing, days after, and the day that felt as though it would impact all time forever. It was the day when a huge tree cracked and smashed down in the deep woods. This art is a tribute to my father.
Containers: One Bush
This work is a response to sensory experiences and archives collected about one bush, during the practice of walking. A single Instagram photograph of one bush is captured for 291 consecutive days, during the practice of walking one circle around a pond every day for five years. Out of this practice, multiple approaches to containment surface. Themes include the passage of time, the collection of memory, the act of scrolling as contemporary response, the artist's body as apparatus, and practices of observation. Acts of ritual translate a sense of nostalgia, preciousness, sentimentality, and accumulation. For the first time, the body inhabits Geographic Information System lines.
Seeing Myself for the First Time Again, and Again
These works lean heavily on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. I identify with the escaped prisoner who sees that truth is more than the cast shadows that move over the walls of his cave. No longer captive, I walk a circle daily at the edge of the Bow River and there, I experience a merging of my body, the circle, other species, and walking. The interplay of light and shadow, weather, and my orientation with this place assure me that I am still here, despite the tremendous grief that inhabits and walks with me. Without witnesses to my life, my memories, or the changing body that carries them, I see glimpses on the circle of my self and I collect, and document them. The paintings are another ritual of acknowledgement of this fleeting moment.
The Clock Falls Back
Six triptychs speak to rituals of devotional practice. Visually referring to The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, the work is transported into a tract of feral land that I circle daily. Red Carbon transfers of GIS routes walked on Nov 7, 2021, the day the clock falls back, appear on the spines of each triptych, beginning at 9 in the morning and repeating on the hour at 10, 11, 12, 1 and 2 o’clock. The front exteriors demonstrate how those same lines become elliptical depending on the orientation I have with the line. Once returned to the line and at the corresponding hour on following days, I spend thirty minutes at six different locations, tracing the slow-moving lines created by shadowed forms captured on the interiors.
The Last Ordinary Month
August 2021 was a month of smoke in the air, fires, and oppressive heat. Our family was waiting for news about my father’s health. Colours and temperaments seemed muted. It was a month shrouded in a grey veil. Daily rituals of walking at the edge of the Bow River and collections of Geographic Information System (GIS) lines merged with stories of nature, thoughts, corporeal gestures, memories, and feelings. A map drawer is an interactive container and an invitation to the viewer to enter other worlds and to consider the lines as a place where words, images and enactment collide. The artist’s voice speaks to the sensory experience of each passing day on a looped recording. Finally, the thickness of The Last Ordinary Month can be seen.
A connection with fibre leads one into an ongoing worrying of strands, a weaving of life threads, and a celebration of what is generated in acts of intense labour. These works pull the artist's body into a physical connection with grief through the body's repetitive movements. Both paternal and maternal family narratives surface as the artist investigates labour, production, love, and familial ways of enacting that love. Making is a form of walking and finding pathways, and the resulting art works are the bodies, containers of memory, cultural experience and place.
Six world globes are collected from six different locations in Calgary. Along with them, brief narratives are collected about their procurement, and the body’s moving in and out of urban as well as feral spaces. The surface of six spheres becomes the structure where the striation of the urban landscape informs the smooth and welcoming feral landscape during rituals of walking. On these surfaces, the artist's shadow becomes a veil between place and no place, an ephemeral moment of recognition of the self as it merges with experience, place, memory, loss, and celebration. The veil is lifted when this moment of recognition collides with the daily experience of emergence and the falling away of the grid.
In Between Place
My body moves into a feral circle of land sandwiched between urban city development and what is perceived as wild lands edged by the Bow River. In this In Between Place, walking and the body moves memory, thoughts, loss, and celebration into the experience where I merge with the land. The GIS line captures this affective merging into a single red line that I collect and carry home in my pocket. The line is a witness to me; the daughter, mother, friend having been and having been there. Installation view includes a voice over, providing the viewer with some insight into thoughts that are filtering through while walking.
A walking practice leads to a sense of observation, responsibility, and appreciation for places, especially once that practice takes a person, again and again, to the same place. It leads to the surfacing of ideas, memories, and emotions, as well as a connection with the body, the weather, and the light. This work gathers up and contains, in part, a relationship between the artist and a single bush perched at the edge of a pond environment circled daily from 22 September 2015 until July 26, 2016. These five moments are collected from an archive of 291 daily Instagram photographs taken of one bush on this one circle. Memory and nostalgia come to the fore.