June 2010

If You Go Out In The Plantation Today...

fieldwork dan nuttall bewilderness art trees forest flesh surreal dream

...you're sure of a big surprise. Cause today's the today I received a call from Susie Osler, a member of the fieldwork Collective, to tell me that sometime during the night my raven installation has been attacked!

Is this a political act I wonder? Or the work of a vandal? On the one hand, this could be a good sign. A lot of great art has been attacked over the years: The Mona Lisa; The Pieta in the Vatican; Chris Ofili's "Holy Virgin Mary" (1996). Susie goes back to the scene of the crime and sends me an image of the disfigured raven, including a close-up showing a small patch of fur stuck in the tar surface of the raven's back. Dark fur. Black fur. Hmmm… Black Bear? I now have to re-align my theory regarding this act of desecration: clearly the piece has been attacked due to its realism. This could be taken as another good sign. A seal of approval from nature herself? Or perhaps, in staging the unconscious human mind, I have tapped into a greater unconsciousness or id, where primal nature is exerting its forces. The bear has finally subdued the intelligent and mischievous raven that can no longer act as a guide or talisman. On the other hand, maybe the bear just didn't like my work. I am on my way back to Brooke Valley to repair the damage. Somewhere out there is a bear with tar on its paw.

 

Bunnies overrun Kiwi Gardens

fieldwork - hares and squares by real eguchi at kiwi gardens
fieldwork - hares and squares by real eguchi at kiwi gardens
fieldwork - hares and squares by real eguchi at kiwi gardens

The bunnies had a fun-filled weekend!  First they went to the big city, Ottawa, to check out, and be checked out at  the New Art Festival.  Then fieldworkers, Chris Grosset and Susie Osler took them to their summer digs at Kiwi Gardens near Perth, where they are currently happily cavorting about!  Thanks go to Paul Loiselle and Max at Kiwi Gardens for their help in installing these slightly oversized hares and squares. 

For those of you who missed this fieldwork installation last summer (when it was installed here in the field), now's your chance to catch a glimpse of them in action.  They will be at Kiwi for the rest of the summer so please visit this fabulous place!

For more information about 'Hares and Squares' you can search our site for postings and information on the installation by typing 'hares and squares' into the search window.  It was created for fieldwork last summer by Barbara and Real Eguchi.

The Fear, The Love: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

fieldwork, dan nuttall, artist, trees, ecology, landscape architecture sculpture

Dendrophobia:             the fear of trees

Nyctohylophilia:          the love of dark wooded areas

Silvaphobia:                 the fear of cutting trees

Xylophilia:                     the love of wood objects

Some of our deepest fears are ecological. As with other fears, humans often deny or resist becoming conscious of their ecological fears because they threaten the "self".Moving into the darkness to confront our ecological fears may be a step on the path to sustainability. If it is true that our separation from nature is one of the contributors to our current state of un-sustainability then we must devise various and new means of annealing the rift. How do we not just get closer to nature but actually re-stitch human animal culture back into the larger fabric? Is it by considering all living entities as vital and invaluable partners to work with as we secure our coincidental fates?  What living entities are of merit? In our hierarchical world with its arrogant and lethargic attitude to the conferring of rights, how long will it take and how malleable is our capacity to recognize the value and necessity of both the "self" and "others"?.

What is our greatest ecological fear? I think our biggest fear is that we've gone too far. That we are no longer able to control what we have created - the oil spills, forest fires, biodiversity loss, habitat loss, famine and suffering. The fearful thing we have created - the ecological crisis - is coming out of hiding and is beginning to read its book of revelations.

Recent work by landscape architects and artists is questioning the future of our planet, and our relationship to nature, using the tree as a focus. Do these works, as a group, suggest a "broadened" acknowledgment of what we might consider as "other"? Or are these works just further examples of our romantic and resourcist views of nature? Is each and every form of life some kind of barometer corresponding to a deeper ecological value or a meaning that we may not be able to sense or have yet to plumb? Is it appropriate for us to use simulacra to meet needs while displacing "originals" which might provide a broader suite of ecological resources? What about the social and cultural impacts of simulacra? Overall, the body of work expresses novel revelations that help diversify perceptions and create new connections within, across and between the political, economic, socio-cultural and ecological strands of our lives. Check out the fear and the love, and see both the trees and the forest, in the following works:

 

  • Claude Cormier, Landscape Architect - BLUE TREE, 2004, the surface of a denuded tree festooned with sky-blue Christmas balls, the whole acting as an environmental barometer; LIPSTICK FOREST, 1999-2002 bold use of color and form immerses passers-by in a hand-cast simulated forest in the Winter Garden of the Palais de Congres in Montreal, Quebec. Please see www.claudecormier.com 
  • Don Maynard, Artist - FRANKEN FOREST - at the Agnes Etherington Gallery at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, until August 8, 2010. Maynard asks us to examine the utility of simulacra in our lives while focusing, in part, on the tree. Please visit: www.don-maynard.com

  • Roxy Paine, Artist. Recent works such as ERRATIC, 2007, in Prospect Park, CONJOINED, 2007, in Madison Square Park, and MAELSTROM, 2009, on the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art - all in New York City - have underscored natural phenomena with "substitutes", many of which are dendritic and made of stainless steel. Represented by: www.jamescohan.com 
  • Robert Hengeveld, Artist - FORGERY ISLAND, 2005 - Like Maynard, Hengeveld fakes us out to get real. Rich brown trees with pink felt linings make a sensuous foray into our consciousness and invite new forms of contact.  You can see more work at: www.roberthengeveld.com

  • Juniper Perlis, Artist - Like Paine, Perlis goes hard to underscore things soft. A recent visit to SISTER TREE, 2008, in Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York, showed spring-time robins happily engaging with the welded steel and vinyl needled evergreen, underscoring the fact that all creatures can be attracted to simulacra if life history needs are being met. Fake is real if it meets a need. For more information on Perlis's work please visit: www.socratessculpturepark.org

  • Chico McMurtrie/Amorphic Robot Works - A TREE FOR ANABLE BASIN, 2007 - a floating island with a stainless steel tree that can be mobilized and inserted into the shoreline, this site-specific installation references the ongoing dialogue between ecological and industrial dimensions of the New York City waterfront. See: www.amorphicrobotworks.org

 

Badges for Brooke Valley

fieldwork, Flower Marie Lunn, Badges for Brooke Valley

Alongside the events and passages that shape the life of a community are smaller, more individual events
in a life in the local landscape.  Badges for Brooke Valley celebrates the small moments of life in its woods
and fields, drawing upon memories of growing up in the area adjacent to the fieldwork site.

Skating over weeds frozen into ice, discovering secret patches of flowers in the forest, or going to the
outhouse at night – these passages were a big deal to me as a child, and form a unique kind of skill set,
overlooked beside more practical proficiencies and forgotten when I became an adult, now living in a city.
When I think back to my life here, I miss those subtle engagements that quietly strengthen the connection
to the land.

This is what Badges for Brooke Valley commemorates. Like scouts’ or guides’ merit badges,  the badge
marks experience of mastery, of adaptation to the situation at hand.  Unlike official merit badges, these
ones mark memories and skills unique to a person’s experience of growing up in the landscape.  Here  it is
the minor events, the childhood memories, the overlooked and idiosyncratic experiences of daily life in the
country, that are commemorated.

There will be an opening on Sunday June 20th, from 2 - 5pm.  All are welcome to come and take a badge, whether as souvenier, or memento in honour of shared experience.

first stage of Badges for Brooke Valley up

fieldwork, Flower Marie Lunn, Badges for Brooke Valley

There are now three poles with flag banners atop them marking out the field, waving in the wind. 

One of the poles will also be the support for a badge pavilion, so to speak.   That is stage two. All stages will be up for the opening!

fieldwork interviewed on CKCU

Tune in tomorrow, Friday, June 18th to listen to an interview about upcoming events and news at fieldwork with Vanessa Davies of CKCU 93.1 FM - Ottawa community radio station - at 7:30 a.m.  You can also stream it live online (goto their website).

Opening of fieldwork's Summer Installations

Just a reminder to all that the opening for fieldwork's summer installations is tomorrow (Sunday, June 20) from 2-5pm. Bring friends and family, and enjoy a wander around the field and forest exploring Flower Marie Lunn's Badges for Brooke Valley and Dan Nuttall's Bewilderness.  Both artists have started to post blogs about their work (see postings below).

Click on 'location' in the menu to the right for directions.
Hope to see you in the field tomorrow!

bewilderness

fieldwork dan nuttall bewilderness tree forest art ecology landscape
fieldwork dan nuttall bewilderness spine tree art forest ecology sustainability

 

bewilderness

fieldwork dan nuttall bewilderness tree forest art ecology landscape

 

bewilderness

fieldwork dan nuttall bewilderness birch tree forest art ecology landscape