lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Vernal Pool

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

IMG_1772I am participating in Vernal Pool, an art project about place + precipitation – “snow gathering as artistic practice”. The project is produced by artist Karen Abel with Jessica Marion Barr, and will be exhibited from April 24-27, 2014, at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto as part of Grow Op: Exploring Landscape + Place, curated by landscape architect Victoria Taylor. Very up my alley.

I approached my participation as an extension of my research for an upcoming installation at Rodman Hall Art Centre as part of the exhibition, The Source: Rethinking Water Through Contemporary Art. My work for that exhibition is centred on the Twelve Mile Creek and is part of a body of work based on the North Niagara Watershed (see Fall and Distance of Their Mouths). The work is  titled, Streaming Twelve, although at the present moment, due to total strike-outs with grants, I am not sure whether the installation will include actual streaming video or not!

On February 20, I headed off with my dog, Rupert, to gather snow before the big melt that was predicted to start later that day. (This proved to be overstated.) I gathered snow in a used Mason jar from which I had previously eaten delicious pears preserved by DeVries Farm and sold at the St. Catharines Farmers’ Market. Given that Vernal Pool is about place, the jar was an important choice for me. I have been a Serious Locavore for many years and have addressed concerns about our precious Niagara fruit farming heritage in The Guardian of Niagara: The Soft Fruit Industry and in how I live.

IMG_1759IMG_1765IMG_1761Weir 5 is at the foot of the bank behind Rodman Hall and the Walker Botanical Garden. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) owns the creek bed and controls water flow in that area of the Twelve. I photographed my mason jar of snow below two of the OPG signs, warning the public of dangerous water. I framed the shots to include the tags as they speak to public space. Take a look at the difference in the water flow between the above centre and right photos, the sites of which are mere meters apart.

IMG_1777I will get the jar of melted snow to Vernal Pool in time for it to join other samples from across Canada and beyond. In the meantime, it waits in my back mudroom where it melts and refreezes dependent on the temperature, ever in flow.

As a gathering practice, Vernal Pool also resonated for me with a project I did in the Walker Botanical Garden at Rodman Hall in 2002 when I placed 46 stainless steel bowls throughout the garden and documented their contents over a year in 433 photos. (I also shot some video and was sure I had a snow section but can’t find it.)

Now, here comes the terribly important diptych of Great Importance – Jar of Snow By Twelve and Dog with Jar of Snow By Twelve.



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