Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Art of Glass and Stone with Peter Rice

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

We’ve got a special event coming up this Friday! Peter Rice will be stopping in to do an artist demo… it’s Art of Glass and Stone!

Peter Rice is one of our long-standing artists at the Algonquin Art Centre. He was born in Toronto but spent most of his childhood in rural areas around the Canadian Shield. It was here, playing and exploring among that unique geology, that Peter became fascinated with rocks as an artistic medium. It wasn’t until his university years at Guelph that he discovered how to perfectly incorporate them into amazing sculptural tableaus. By combining minerals with the practice of setting stained glass, he developed his characteristic mode of depicting the landscape in sculpture.

As intriguing as these pieces are, watching them come together makes them even more fascinating.  Taking raw materials of wire and stone and twisting them into life as a unified sculpture takes patience, insight, and a strong vision of what you want to accomplish. And hearing Peter talk through his work is an extra privilege! He’s great to hang out with while he works his craft, and our visitors love speaking with him. That’s why, year after year, we’re delighted to have him back.

This special event will be taking place throughout the day this Friday, between 10 am and 4 pm. There’s no charge. We’d just love for you to stop in and engage with one of our artists! You can get all the details over on our site.
Join us and spend some time with a fantastic creator in his element!

David Grieve: Warm Shore

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

As the summer progresses and this season’s theme of Metamorphosis continues, we’ve got a new solo show! We’re proud to welcome David Grieve’s Warm Shore, which showcases light and landscape in his signature impressionist style.

David Grieve has worked with oils most of his life. He started out very young, accompanying his mother to her studio, and later attended Guelph University for fine art. All throughout his long painting career, he’s been captivated by landscapes, most importantly the Southwestern Ontario fields he calls home and the rugged woodland of our wilderness.

“Resplendent 2″

David’s style is based on broad bands of colour aligned into impressionistic renderings of the landscape. His technique has some surprising results. It makes you move in, step back, engage with the image, and interrogate the way the trees and hills resolve out of his form. By revealing his brush strokes so dramatically, he adds an extra layer of interpretation onto the already beautiful landscape.

“Warm Shore”

David’s solo show, Warm Shore, specifically explores his use of light. Sunlight’s animating presence transforms a dormant landscape into a kind of radiant wonder-world, brimming with possibility. The daily change of light between sunrise and sunset is among the most fertile territories for an artist to explore. That change reveals new regions overlaid atop familiar geographies. We all know the feeling of revisiting a favourite location at an unfamiliar time of day or year. It’s almost an entirely new place. David’s use of light captures just that experience in his depictions of the familiar Algonquin landscape…

“Wagi, Jumping Rock”

You can experience Warm Shore July 21st to August 15th at the Algonquin Art Centre, located at km 20 in Algonquin Provincial Park. Get all of our details over on the website, Stop by, and let these beautiful interpretations of the landscape guide your experience of Algonquin!

Off-Season Artists: Rich Baker

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

It’s here! Another post in our Off-Season Artists series, in which Alex, the guy who draws a fiery crucible full of molten data out of the web-furnace with his bare hands, interviews our favourite artists for your winter reading pleasure!
This time around, he speaks to one of
 our most fun and eclectic artists, sculptor Rich Baker

First off, it’s nice to speak with a southwestern Ontario boy with a love of the outdoors, not unlike myself! Can you tell me a little bit about growing up, and the process of finding your place in the artistic world?
I was born in Grimsby Ontario and enjoyed most of my teenage years living at the base of the escarpment in Winona. I spent a good deal of my childhood exploring that Escarpment. School, much to my parents’ dismay, was never a priority for me. My mind would always be wandering, to past and planned adventures of the outdoors: hiking, cycling, walking the orchards that surrounded my home with my trusted BB gun, anything but paying attention to the task at hand… school. This is where my addiction to the outdoors and wildlife was founded. Growing up, music was always around our family. My parents met while my dad was a musician in a band. I think my mom was a groupie… she would never have admitted to that, though! The professional music phase of my life didn’t start until I was in my late twenties. I like “left turns” in life, so I packed up everything and went on the road, playing for well over 13 years. Shortly after meeting my wife Jenn, I decided it was time to put the road behind me and get serious with music and try my hand at writing songs. As far as the music industry in Canada was back then, I was one of the fortunate ones. Landing some number ones, top fives and top twenties on the country music charts. It fuelled my artistic cravings for some time. But nothing remains the same… thankfully.

I have to say, you’re certainly one of the most eclectic artists we’ve had at the Art Centre. Artist, musician, sculptor… that’s quite a roster! The only common denominator seems to be creativity. It seems that you’ve settled pretty comfortably into metalwork these days.What made you decide to focus the bulk of your attention in that direction?
I’ll be perfectly honest: metal sculpture is a bit of an anomaly. I’ve had training in welding, but this art medium… it’s a complete fluke. I believe some of the best things in life come to us that way. For me, I believe that each piece I do is a story, something I’ve seen or witnessed, experienced first hand, or heard of in the news. To me, it’s quite similar to songwriting. Rather than putting pen to paper on what I have in my mind, I hammer it out in steel… country music gone Heavy Metal, so to speak!

“Clear Cut View”

Within metalworking, you have a huge focus on animals and birds. What attracts you to wildlife?
As I mentioned in the beginning, the outdoors has always drawn me in. If I’m not in my shop working, then I’m outdoors, hiking, exploring, and trying my best not to fall into the swampy areas that surround our home. If I’m not outside, as my wife Jenn will attest, I’m staring out the window or pacing the floor dreaming about getting out there. Out here, we reside in an area that is at the base of a wonderful lake and conservation area. I’m extremely fortunate to view an amazing amount of wildlife right from my yard. Deer, wild turkey, fox, coyotes, incredible majestic wolves, and, of course, numerous birds of prey. The birds of prey have always drawn me in, probably because of my love for flying. They soar over my house and call out to one another as I watch from below until my neck gets sore. Bald Eagles, Osprey, Red Tail Hawks and Falcons, they are all truly incredible to witness on a daily basis. Each time I see the different wildlife, it’s an inspiration in it’s truest form, right in front of me. I know I’m spoiled.

Now, you’re speaking to someone who spends most of his time dealing with paintings. Sculpture is a bit of a mystery to me! I’d love it if you’d take us through your process a bit. How does a piece go from inspiration to idea to structure to sculpture? What are the challenges along the way?
I am a very visual person. Each time I see something that captures my attention, the first thing that’s going through my mind is,”how can I make that.” Usually, I’ll toss the idea around in my head for a while. Then I’ll tack up as many pictures as I can of the subject in my shop, surrounding myself with the creature, living with it for a bit. Pictures work best in lieu of bringing the actual animal into my shop… I don’t believe they’d sit still long enough. I’ve discovered that I have the ability to look at a subject and figure out the anatomy. Where this ability comes from, is part of the magic of what I do. I don’t mean to sound evasive or vague about the process, but I just start cutting metal. As I’ve often explained, it’s as if my eyes are just watching (front row seat if you will) what my hands are doing, and it comes together. For each piece of the subject, I hand cut, hammer into the shape and then weld in place. I usually start with the nose (or beak) of the creature to get the proper sizing. This alone could be up to 10 individual pieces, carefully placed together. I then work my way back from there. I see and look for the finite details in everything I do; I am not an abstract artist by any means. This is always a challenge to me, to make metal look, well, not like metal. My goal is always to create the illusion, that the closer you get to one of my pieces, the more details you will see, as if you’re right up close and personal to the animal. That is what I strive for.

“Phase Blaster”

Apart from your wildlife pieces, I notice that in the industrial pieces you have a tendency toward the use of found objects. That must be a very different process from your scratch built wildlife sculptures. Can you talk a little bit about what goes into making one of these fantastical objects?
These works, at times “Steampunkish,” allow me to use a different side of my brain. It’s like a puzzle to me. My wife and I enjoy spending time at auctions and junk yards, and it’s there that we find those unique and interesting components that inspire and become, well, anything. It usually starts with one certain piece. From that I’ll add to it, sometimes taking weeks, even months, to complete a vision. Usually, the hardest part is to know when it’s done, since the subject matter that I’m putting together is quite often fictitious. Making these type of works gives my mind and my hands a bit of a break. They aren’t very labour intensive on my hands; no cutting or pounding is usually required. I love ‘em.

“Screech Owl”

You also seem like a guy who likes to have a good laugh and some fun with his art. How does that sense of play enter into it?
I do like creating things that make people smile. I don’t consider myself a “serious subject matter” artist. I’m not trying to shock someone into seeing a point of view on anything. If someone laughs at, or with, something I’ve made, then I’ve gotten their attention, and as an artist in today’s “quick” world, I believe that’s a good thing.Today’s society is filled with a lot of painful, trying circumstances. I for one would not like to contribute to that. Art should make one smile; humour to me goes hand in hand with that.

And last but not least, what’s something fun we might not know about you?
I am a fishing fanatic, plain and simple. I was even fortunate enough to spend almost two years as a fishing guide along the Trent River system. I didn’t even mind if no one was booked for the day. That would just mean more fishing time for me!

“River Bank Bounty”

So that’s that for our friend Rich Baker! It was an absolute pleasure speaking with him…
Check back in soon for our next Off-Season Artists!

Perennial Threshold Artist in Residence!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve selected an artist for our Spring 2016 residency, Perennial Threshold.! Friends of Algonquin Art Centre and lovers of all things art and nature… meet Sarah Carlson!

Sarah’s an artist from the GTA with a BFA from York University and a close relationship with the outdoors. She’s explored the backcountry in every way you can imagine, from cycling and paddling to hiking and scaling rock walls!
Her work straddles a number of different media including painting, printmaking, repurposed objects, and collage, while combining seemingly disparate techniques like representative portraiture and geometric abstraction. Just now she’s fascinated by mystical encounters between the realms of the human and the wild. Her work treats themes of growth, decay, symbiosis, and regeneration. You can see why she’s a perfect fit for Perennial Threshold!
Just take a look at this composite piece, “Canmore Caribou.”

From March 11th to the 21st, our partners at Algonquin Provincial Park have provided Sarah lodgings at their Clarke Lake cabin. She’ll be able to use that as a base of operations for her explorations, art-making, and the much needed time in the wild that every naturist-creator needs.
Sarah will also be leading activities and demonstrations at the Visitor Centre at various points throughout the week and they’re open to the public. So stay posted for exact dates and times.
In the meantime, congratulations to Sarah. We can’t wait to see what you get up to in this beautiful part of Ontario!


Off-Season Artists: David Grieve

Friday, February 5th, 2016

It’s our next Off-Season Artists post! In this series Alex, the guy who feels right at home among both keystrokes and brush-strokes, helps you ride out the long winter season by talking to some of our favourite artists.
This time, he’s speaking with David Grieve, a southwestern Ontario artist with a talent for creating landscapes out of his unique oil painting technique.

So first off, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, originally? I understand that your mother was also an artist. I imagine a lot of your early artistic exposure comes from your experiences with her. What kind of art did she make, and how did the beginning of your artistic interest take shape?
I was born and raised in Brantford, Ontario.  When I was young, my mother encouraged me to draw and paint.  My sister and I were able to accompany her to her studio in the summer.  While there we had the chance to work with oils on canvas alongside the adult artists.  I took it for granted at the time but realize now that not many 8-year-olds have the opportunity to paint with oils.  As a result, I found myself at ease with the medium years later when I was studying fine art at the University of Guelph.
Looking back on my experience at school, I was always interested in art.  I recall being scolded in grade one for skipping my desk work to spend more time at the easel.  I’ve always been drawn to the artistic elements across subject areas in school.  Even something like drawing the cells in biology class was an artistic experience for me.

“After Harvest 2″

One thing that stands out in your work is the fact that it deals with Southwestern Ontario. That’s a very different environment from a lot of the Canadian landscape art we’re used to seeing—northern forests, the Rockies, big rainforest pines out west…
What attracts you most to the landscape of Southwestern Ontario?
It is appealing, to me, looking for beauty where you live.  The natural environment in Southwestern Ontario is a part of my daily life. Where I live, I am surrounded by beautiful rolling hills of corn and beans as well as trees that have lived here for many years.
The change in environment has an impact on me. It’s easier to breathe.  I am saddened however by the high rate of urban sprawl that is taking place in Southwestern Ontario.  Where I used to see fields and open spaces while driving along Hwy 403, it’s now being replaced by shopping centres and parking lots.  I feel that it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the importance of the beauty in nature.


I’ve definitely noticed that as well. Once it seemed like a Toronto problem, but you can see it across the board, even reaching up toward the Muskokas! Slowing that down is going to be crucial over time.
Speaking of the trees you mentioned, some of my personal favourites among your work are when you capture them standing alone against the sky. That’s such a characteristically rural image, with strong associations of home and melancholy for a lot of people. And I feel like your heavy, distinctive swathes of paint are the perfect method for it! How did you develop that unique method of painting? Were there any influences that pointed you in that direction?
I have always been interested in thick paint.  Whenever I visit a gallery, I inevitably end up spending the most time in front of paintings that are ‘thick.’  When I was in university, I was lucky enough to go to New York with some of my friends.  There was a large exhibit of Lucian Freud works. I loved how thick and expressive they were.  I am also influenced by how loose and expressive works like Monet’s lily pads are.  It was a special opportunity to be able to stand in front of them during my visit to New York.
I feel that there is a parallel between myself and the lone trees that I paint.  I am similar to the solitary trees when I am alone painting in my studio.  I enjoy this solitude and find it peaceful.

“Cold Front”

Another aspect of your painting and one that’s made especially interesting by your technique is the way your big skies aren’t just a backdrop to your pieces, but performers in their own right. They’ve got rich textures and an uncharacteristic sense of depth. I’d love to hear about how you imagine the dynamic between foreground and background in your work, and if it’s a challenge to bring out so much liveliness in the sky, something that so many artists relegate to a place of secondary importance.
When a storm rolls in, and you get to witness it while out in the countryside, it stirs something inside of you.  Excitement, danger, beauty and drama.  I love trying to convey that energy and excitement in my skies.

I gather that you tend to work from photographs when you’re painting scenes from southwestern Ontario, but I also know you’ve got a cabin in the Kawarthas where you and the family like to spend some time. That must be a great platform for getting closer to the natural landscape, and for a change of tone. How does your artistic practice differ when you’re up at the cabin? What’s that experience like as a change of pace?
Spending time in the Kawarthas has changed me and my work. Having a place to go has been fantastic.  Since I work from home, sometimes it feels like I am always at work, so it’s simply nice to get away.  The drive north offers me the opportunity to observe nature and the changes that take place in the fields and trees across all four seasons.
Spending more time on the water has been wonderful.  I think about the lake a lot and the beauty around it.  There are times when the sun shines just so on the lake and surrounding islands that it feels awe-inspiring.  The open skies around that lake also offer dramatic views.  Whether it’s a summer sunset or storm clouds rolling in, the image is often breathtaking.
I do work from photos, and I’m now taking many at the lake. It took me a little while before I started to paint images from the KawarthasI was getting to know it.  The landscape there now feels like it’s a part of me and my life, which allows me to recreate it on canvas.

“Sister Sunset”

Speaking of being up at the cabin, what’s your favourite thing to do when you’re out in nature? What kind of environment do you find most fulfilling or inspiring?
It would be difficult for me to find anything better in life than paddling a canoe on a warm, calm day with my family.  The peacefulness of being on the water and the soothing sound of the paddles propelling us forward gives me great joy.

And last but not least, what’s something interesting that we might not know about you?
I love fishing. Whether it’s fishing from the boat during the summer or drilling a hole in the ice during the winter, I enjoy being outdoors.  The added thrill of catching a beautiful bass or a giant muskie makes it that much more enjoyable.

So that’s David Grieve! We love gazing into his large-scale canvasses and getting lost in those bands of colour.
Check back soon for our next Off-Season Artists! 


Off-Season Artists: Michael Dumas

Monday, January 25th, 2016

It’s that time again! Here’s Off-Season Artists, where Alex, intrepid interlocutor of the internet, interrogates some of Canada’s most interesting artists. This edition features Michael Dumas, a realist painter who imbues his canvasses with a sense of elevation and nostalgia that reach beyond simple representation.

 “Watchful,” depicting a red-tailed hawk alongside its creator, Michael Dumas

It’s a pleasure speaking with you, Michael! You’ve had a long career in the arts and naturalism, starting with where you grew up, right outside of Algonquin Park in Whitney. You even spent time as a ranger! I’d love to hear a little bit about your experiences in the bush and how that contributed to who you are.
I guess everyone is influenced by where they grew up, and Algonquin is part of my very earliest memories. We would often take Sunday drives in the park when I was very young, and that was when there was a lot of deer in the park. I remember feeding the deer by hand, just like in those early postcards from the late 1950s and early ’60s. When I was a bit older, I had the opportunity of exploring a few of the hiking trails, and I spent a lot of time in the bush on the outskirts of the park. Being a ranger was an extension of all that, and something that I took to quite naturally.
Among the things that have stayed with me from all this is a vivid sense of nature as something dynamic, changing from moment to moment. When you’re in the bush day and night, every day for weeks at a time, you become intensely aware of weather, the wind and the rain, the passing of the sun, wildlife, whether you can find dry firewood, and so on. You become sensitized and very observant of the world around you, and it is a mix of both pleasure and hardship. Even a simple thing like having really cold water to drink is something very rare in the bush, and if you come across a spring on a hot, humid, summer day, it’s like striking gold. This combination of hardship, awareness, and moments of comfort and natural beauty, really does have a lasting influence. If you’re an artist, it’s bound to influence your work.

Michael in 1970, his ranger days

I notice that your education is a blend of art and ornithology. Which would you say was your first love, being a naturalist or being an artist? How do the two occupations come together in your art?
Experiencing nature has been instrumental to my art, but my art is first and foremost an expression of self, and that comes first. I do more work involving birds than any other single subject, and maybe it has something to do with childhood experiences. We always had winter bird feeders, and I also have some very early memories of being shown nests with eggs and baby birds in them. My mother used to put out short pieces of yarn and twine on a cedar in the front yard for the cedar waxwings to put in their nests. Swallows would nest high up under the eaves of the stable and my grandfather’s workshop. Seeing birds was an everyday event, and I never tired of watching them.
When I was maybe seven or eight years old, a bird had flown into the kitchen window right behind where I was sitting. By the time I ran out to see what it was the bird was already dead. It was a sparrow, and I remember picking it up and being fascinated by the colours and markings of its feathers. Of course, I’d seen sparrows before, but not up close, literally right in my hands. I hated the idea of just tossing such a beautiful thing away, and that was probably my first attempt at holding on to something by drawing it. This all just came about without any planning on my part, just me following a natural inclination of the moment. And, I suppose that’s pretty much at the heart of both what I do, draw, and paint, and what my subjects are: things that draw my attention. And if the interest is strong enough it winds up being expressed in either a drawing or painting, often both.

“Recumbent Grace”

Speaking of your favourite natural subjects, starting in the late 70s you really launched into conservation efforts. Now you’re known as a force in Canadian conservation. What prompted that initiative that’s had such a profound effect on your life and your art?
I think my involvement in conservation efforts is a very natural one. People care and protect the things they love. I am aware of the many objective reasons for conservation and preservation, and they are all good, solid, and sound. In the end though, it’s the emotional aspect of it all that really has the final say, and it’s the underlying reason so much of my time over the years has been devoted to it.

Now in terms of your artistic style, what guided you towards realism?
I draw and paint in response to either a direct experience or a concept that comes to mind, and my thoughts relating to both are always in the form of realistic images. I think the reason for this is simply because there is not a moment of our waking lives that is not directly connected to imagery of real things. When we read or listen to a story, when we think of family and friends, places we’ve been, and any memory we might have, it is realistic images that form in our minds. Even our subconscious, such as when we dream, is in the form of realistic images regardless of the emotional content of those dreams.
So in this sense, realism is the fundamental experience of life, and because of this, it is also a universal means of communication. I certainly want my work to be relatable, to communicate with the viewer. But real life experience is always subject to a high degree of interpretation because of our individual preferences, biases, and so on. This is what makes realism in art quite different than, say, the realism found in a photograph. The artist working by hand has a very differentandI would argue a much widerrange of purely subjective choices at every turn of the process. The end results are also influenced by the unconscious individual ‘touch,’ much like one’s signature.

“Hardwood Down” and “Stable Mates”

I have to admit I just love the paintings that focus on chopped wood or rustic tools, with small wildlife perched and hanging out around them. There’s something so charming, and the textures are perfect for your style. Where did the inspiration for that series come from?
Well, all these things I’ve been saying can be applied to subjects dealing with man-made objects. I’m painting what I know, things imbued with meaning to me personally. All of these objects I’ve included in a painting are familiar because I’ve actually used them, or has been directly observed being used. I know what it feels like to heft an axe, walk into the coolness of a stone mill on a hot day, or feel the silvery patina on the handle of a well-used implement. The wildlife that finds its way into my paintings is just exactly those species that you see in that environment. The sparrows that appear so frequently in these paintings are not generic representations of the species, but individual birds I have come to know over time. It’s all very personal.

“Down Time”

Within the realm of realism, I notice a preference for muted tones: russets, muted golds, pale light… something almost like soft stage-lighting. What attracts you to that aesthetic?
It comes from being selective in the use of the various things that make up a painting. This applies to colour, but also to manipulating edges or adjusting tonal ranges, or detail emphasized in key areas but subdued or eliminated in others. Being selective is part of the process at every stage, even to precisely locating the various elements within the painting’s borders, adjusting the proportions of the painting itself, and so on.
But getting back to colour and how it directs the variety and range of colours used. It has a lot to do with light, and the purpose light serves in a work. Light can be considered like the French Impressionists did, where all the colours in the prism are contained in white light. And if you work from that premise it is a natural path to emphasizing the colour spectrum and making it a primary feature. On the other hand, you can view light first as a means of illumination. In this case, the effect is to reveal three-dimensional structure and how the patterns of light and dark contribute to revealing shape, depth, and surface texture. Selectively manipulating all of this in just the right way can lead to a heightened dimensional effect. So it’s a matter of emphasis. The first premise emphasizes colour first, and the second premise emphasizes form. That’s not to say the emphasis on one eliminates the other, but it does tend to sort out which is primary and foundational, and which plays a supportive role.
Your question clearly indicates which approach I am inclined to work within, but maybe I haven’t really addressed why I am attracted to that aesthetic. I think there are a couple of reasons, the first being that all of my work is based on drawing, and drawing is essentially the description of form and as such it doesn’t require colour. I don’t separate my drawings from my paintings, so paintings become extensions of the drawing process rather than something entirely different. In the vast majority of my work, colour is a means to support and enhance the drawing element, not the other way around. Couple this with my preference in subject matter and exercising restraint by being selective and you get the general approach of my work.
Oh, but one more thing about colour and subject matter. If I choose a very colourful subject, the colour is there in the painting too, but not at the expense of reducing form. Something very colourful, such as a peacock, will still be treated with a version of light as illumination. In fact, I have done that in a painting called “Indigo and Umber,” and even though colour is a primary feature it does not reduce the importance of form. It is also a good example of how my work can be said to be realistic, but it is a realism greatly filtered through very personal preferences and emotional responses.

“December Twilight”

What an amazing chat with Michael! I just loved hearing him speak about his ideas concerning the use of colour and light…
I can’t wait to interview our next artist, so stay tuned and we’ll be back soon with David Grieve!

Rhiannon Vogl: Landscape, Experience, Memory, Expression

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The creators from our summer residency have had some time to process their experience and now, back in Ottawa and Luskville, Rhiannon Vogl and Manon Labrosse are working toward the project they started at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station. They’ll be keeping us apprised of their progress as the work moves on, so stay tuned!
In this post, Rhiannon tells us about her history with Ontario’s wilderness, her thoughts on landscape, and the beginnings of Manon’s artistic enterprise at the AWRS…

Photo-credit: Rémi Thériault

Thinking about my connection to Northern Ontario, specifically that in and surrounding Algonquin Park, I can’t help but find myself returning to Margaret Atwood’s iconic statement that “all landscapes are psychological.” I’ve referred to her writing in Wilderness Tips several times in relation to other artists work – Zachari Logan, Peter Doig, Sarah Anne Johnson – and of course, with this residency, was looking towards considering it in relation to the paintings of Manon Labrosse. Which, returning now after my time in the Park, I still certainly will…

I have yet, however, to turn that phrase towards myself, my own work as a writer, and my own experiences of the natural world. Exposed, expansive, secluded, sublime, the land seems to present itself to artists as that which can be written upon, consumed, possessed, but also equally possessing, imposing and manipulative. Rarely just about nature, only about the vista, or the world “out there,” landscapes seem always already loaded with that which exists “in here.”

Having spent five days steeping in the wilderness, staying in an incredibly unique and special area of Algonquin, rarely visited by the public, the “in here”-ness of the land began to reveal itself in ways I am only beginning to start to process.

Until I was 19, I lived in Powassan Ontario, just north of the Park’s border. The landscape of the Canadian Shield is one that is simultaneously nostalgic and familiar, a source of current wonder but also tinged with malaise – a place I unabashedly rejected while growing up. I no longer have a family home there, yet it is nearly impossible for me to imagine life disconnected from this part of the country.

Psychologically, and physiologically, this landscape is truly inside me, part of my internal memory-scape, that, while on residency, I was able to access more intensely, to feel again in a more tangible way as I moved through my daily activities there – hiking, observing, meditating, and talking with Manon. This immersion was a chance for me to reconnect with a place in myself too long left unvisited…

Reflecting on what we saw, experienced and discussed while in the Park, it dawns on me how lucky I am, as a writer, to be able to see an artist in the midst of inspirational shifts, watching her growth and excitement for new work on the horizon, and being able to share events and encounters that will in turn shape the future work she creates.

Times and spaces like these are rare – and even more invaluable when shared with another creator. Many thanks should be extended to the Algonquin Art Centre and to the Wildlife Research Station, for welcoming us and for allowing for this creativity to begin unfolding…

Algonquin Art Centre - Gallery in the Heart of Algonquin Park

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located at km 20 on Hwy #60

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