Monday, 6 October 2014

Lost. Found.

Installation view

So here's Neruda's Nest installed at the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, AB the last weekend of September, as part of Alberta Arts Days. I must admit, as I mentioned in my previous post, that I was leery about how the piece turned out as I assembled it rather last-minute when they sent me the email indicated they wanted it.

From above

But seeing it in the vitrine, surrounded by other lovely works of art, I discovered that it's actually something I'm growing to love, and in talking to the curator of the show, I discovered that she had figured out, from my very brief description and barebones photograph, that it was worth fostering.

It's not the first time, and I'm sure it won't be the last, that others see the potential in my art before I do. Part of my rehabilitation as both a soi-disant sane human being (although I'm not sure I was one before I became alone again), as well as an artist, has been trying to get to that sweet spot sooner rather than later. It's improving, although perhaps not as quickly as I'd like.

Besides seeing my work, and meeting many of the other artists in the show at the closing reception on Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to check out the local art and food scene. Had some great meals, saw terrific art (including another fibre half-labyrinth built on the same pattern as mine, but delineated with woven panels hung from the ceiling) at CASA, SAAG, and Trianon Gallery, which is part of, and sponsored by, a local architectural firm: how cool is that?

Lethbridge: I'll be back.

The Road Home #1

It was a dull, off-and-on rainy day when I headed down on Greyhound, with not much to look at from a scenery/landscape perspective, but coming back in a car with Calgary friends who had driven down to see family, the views were much improved, and it didn't take much to persuade the driver to stop just outside of Stavely for both a leg-stretch and chance to photograph the sunset and grain elevator.

The Road Home #2

After such a great weekend away, I was glad to be heading home, but so grateful to have had good friends to stay with, the opportunity to see and do new things, and to meet some terrific artists doing exciting work.

For the first time in a very long while, I had an extended stretch of calm and peace in my life, and some good feelings about what the future may bring.

The Road Home #3

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Restaging, remembering, reflecting

Reclamation project

As much as I'm pleased to be making new work, it was restaging The Simplicity of Ritual, which was the last proposal my sweetie helped me write, and was performed/created right after I returned to Calgary from scattering his ashes, that has been incredibly cathartic. The yarn shown above was frogged ("ripped out" for you non-knitters) from a sweater I knit in my zaftig days back in the late 1970s. When I started losing weight, it became the top layer when I would go skiing or hiking in the cooler seasons, and then became part of my sweetie's out-in-the-bush wardrobe.

We had already decided that it would become part of Ritual before he died, and the process of turning it back into workable yarn was something that was both difficult and necessary. Appropriately, it both started and finished the knitting.

For the third edition of the Equinox Vigil at Union Cemetery here in Calgary, I was accepted as one of the artists, with the specific purpose of restaging it and engaging in more "public participation" than I had in the original.

Astute viewers of the video might notice a dearth of visitors but plenty of small hysterical moments on behalf of the artist, and I had a sinking feeling that the same conditions would repeat themselves at Equinox. I was grateful that neither did.

Photo by Simone Lee

Here I am, tinkering with the layout of the knitting against the grid, in the afternoon: trying to attach a yarn grid onto a macadam/gravel road with masking tape is a challenge! And then the breeze got up, so I found a rock to put on the most outside ring to hold it down until we started to get the battery-operated tea lights down. As things turned out, the wind dropped shortly thereafter….


All ready for the big moment of me going down to the entrance for the opening ceremony, after the grid was removed, the knitting taped down, and the grid/yarn gently slipped out from underneath.

Photo by Derek Mah

I had bought 72 tea lights, and figured that would be far too many. Was so surprised and grateful that despite a couple of non-functioning ones, we ran out quickly, and I had to resort to picking up every third one to recycle them twice (the reason why they appear to be in groups of two in the photograph above), and even after that, we had another twenty or so more people walk it without placing a light at all. With more than 400 attendees, my calculation is that one-third of them came to visit me tucked in the back at the top.

Just an amazing experience.

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