fieldwork

alicia marvan - photos for gallery

fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012

Blind Hunting and Gathering

fieldwork, chris grosset, blind, autumn 2012

 

It’s been a busy time for sport hunt enthusiasts in this part of eastern Ontario.  I saw many satisfied hunters rushing around this past weekend. The first two week period of deer hunting season in the wildlife management unit where the fieldwork site is located closed yesterday.  The next hunting period for this year runs from December 3rdto 9th.  Meanwhile, retailers in Ontario are gearing up to take advantage of bargain hunters on Black Friday, November 23rd, an American shopping traditional that coincides with the celebration of Thanksgiving south of the border.  Our Canadian retailers don’t want to Canadian shoppers to miss their chance to bag a few good deals so the marketing is in full swing.

All of this activity made me reflect on blind, my recent installation at fieldwork.  The forces of politics and economics have transformed many things in our lives, including our connection to the land, and the resources that are provided by the land.  I think we're being put in a position of defending our food choices and where our food comes from.  It seems to me that our attitudes towards hunting and shopping are greatly influenced by where we come from, whether rural or urban, and these attitudes can also define our connectio to the land itself.

blind invites visitors to the field to take some time for quiet contemplation, inside a hunting blind structure, to think about where their food comes from, and whether we are hunters, gatherers, or somewhere in between. Ask yourself this question, “where does my food come from?”, and then maybe think a little about why that matters.

Some Thoughts About Creature Trail - An Installation by Stefan Thompson (Autumn 2012)

fieldwork, stefan thompson, creature trail, wool

Early Morning:  This picture (above) was taken the morning before i put on the finishing touches.  Its definitely deer like, but also kind of looks part dinosaur.

I arrived at fieldwork about 9 days before the opening.  I wanted to create a trail through the woods on which viewers could find hidden creatures.  So i named the installation creature path. I made markers to help visitors find their way to each of the creatures.  It was a great challenge and I learned a lot.  Around the third day I remember walking barefoot to the swamp to collect willow branches in the middle of an amazing torrential downpour.  You know, the kind of storms that just soak you and the rain moves around in waves.  When you were a kid you probably ran outside in your underwear in these.  It was September, but still fairly warm out.  

The sculptures and drawings of the creature path were made on site but I did prepare some of my materials in advance.  This is a picture of the wool i used, drying between trees at my studio in Rupert QC. Theres a lake there so i brought the wool out to a raft in the canoe.  It was surprising to see how easily the oils washed out of the fiber with a little soap and lake water.  I tried felting the wool after arriving at fieldwork but I wasn't really prepared or experienced with the procedure.  I ended up wrapping it around the wood frame of my 'deer like' sculpture. You can also see rawhide and buckskin, some of the material i used to tie the wool in place around the underlying frame.  The coloring is made from charcoal mixed with beeswax.  Its all natural so it can decay on sight when its ready.  I expect a lot of birds in the area will be lining their nests with wool this spring.  And someone will likely get a meal from it at some point.

Hiders: The First things I made when I came to fieldwork where some drawings on birch trees (using a homemade crayon).  I ended up working on a fair number of creatures by the time I finished.  Some obvious, others  harder to find.  Here is an example of one that I think could easily go unnoticed by viewers.

Many thanks to the fieldwork team for having me and especially Susie for helping me through the process and generously housing me at her farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alicia Marvan visiting artist at Fieldwork July 2012

fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012
fieldwork, alicia marvan, 2012

Alicia Marvan (Mexico) worked at fieldwork this July (2012) as a visiting artist.  Much of the preparation for her work involved investigating the site and the area around the site to find inspiration and to familiarlize herself with available materials.  She ended up working with mixed materials including branches, fabric, metal, and clay.  The photos above show some of her creative process.

Old Brooke Rd. Old Field: An Incomplete Field Guide and Self-Guided Tour. Thoughts from artist Sylvia Pendl

fieldwork, sylvia pendl, spring 2012
fieldwork, sylvia pendl, spring 2012

Images above: S. Pendl.  Studies for Old Brooke Rd. Old Field: The Incomplete Field Guide and Self-Guided Tour. (2012)

The ways in which undefined wild places and landscapes are perceived, and named, informs how they are valued. Landscapes that appear to be undifferentiated: an old agricultural field, a woodland, a lakeside, a pond, are now romantically valued. Sometimes people gaze at them as they pass by on their way elsewhere, to a place where there is something to do, something going on. Yet all of these fields, forests and water bodies are precise arrangements of plants, animals and relationships, teeming with activity, albeit in a quiet way.
However, these natural phenomena are not discreet, fragmented items. These seemingly individual wonders: a shrike employing a hawthorn’s thorn to impale its prey, as an example, are inter-related and have connections that reach far beyond the place they may be found in, while at the same time they are also very much of their location.
I fear that literacy in the natural world is disappearing. Although western science has allowed for fragmented insights into the physiological aspects of the natural world, this perception of “objective” seeing and investigation has neglected other ways of seeing. This method of deconstruction and categorization does not acknowledge that all the individual entities are part of a larger schema. The inter-relationships and connections remain invisible.
Knowledge disappears quickly. I am already forgetting some of the things my father told me about the forest when I was young. The knowing of these things needs to be practiced regularly so that I don’t forget. What will future generations know about the world outside if they no longer have any context or thread to learn from?

- Sylvia Pendl

Fencebuilding Workshop with Scott Dobson at Fieldwork. May 2012

fieldwork, scott dobson, sheep fence, workshop

At the beginning of May (2012) fieldwork  organized and hosted a workshop with local fencebuilder Scott Dobson.  Scott, a master in heritage fence-building (as well as creative rail sculptures) has been building gorgeous fences across Ontario for years.  He gave us a good day's worth of guidance while we built the sheep fence that now surrounds the parking area at fieldwork.  The day began with a talk from Eugene Fytch (pictured below) who has been studying the history of  Lanark county fences for many decades (and also has several books on the subject). It was a great day and what an addition to the site!  Many thanks to all the (18) participants - young and old - who came to help out and learn some solid fencing techniques.

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