Places, Paths And Pauses

Marlene Creates

The Rooms, St. John's, Newfoundland
October 12, 2019 - January 26, 2020

Larch, Spruce, Fir, Birch, Hand, Blast Hole Pond Road, Newfoundland 2007–ongoing

Larch, Spruce, Fir, Birch, Hand, Blast Hole Pond Road, Newfoundland 2007–ongoing , 2013 (excerpt)
black and white photograph, silver print
11 ½ x 15 ¼ inches

Curated by Susan Gibson Garvey and Andrea Kunard

Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in partnership with the Dalhousie Art Gallery, with generous support from the Museums Assistance Program of Canadian Heritage and from the Canada Council for the Arts.

This retrospective exhibition presents the works of leading Newfoundland-based environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates, offering visitors a comprehensive and immersive experience of nearly four decades of her unique activities. Internationally known for her work in photography, mixed media assemblages and (more recently) prizewinning videos and poetry, Creates explores the complex and layered relationships between people and the natural world they inhabit. Although her work has taken her across the country and around the world, her projects since the mid-1980s have focused mainly on Canadian lands and peoples.

The natural environment and the land itself have long been central to Canadian art, but Creates‘ work holds a unique place within the landscape genre. From her earliest ephemeral gestures in the land to her immersion in the boreal forest that surrounds her home in Newfoundland, Creates’ projects have explored the idea of place—not simply as a geographical location but as a process that involves memory, multiple narratives, physical imprinting, ecology and language. Central to her practice is her use of photography, not only as a documentary medium but also as a means to call into question the status of art and the art object. In Creates’ work, photography as a present reality (not simply a past record) can also link the viewer performatively with the processes of the natural world.

An illustrated catalogue published in English and French editions by Goose Lane Editions accompanies the exhibition. The catalogue includes essays by Robert Macfarlane, Joan Schwartz, Andrea Kunard and Susan Gibson Garvey. Additional texts include a poem and commentary by poet Don Mckay and Marlene Creates’ reflections on her work.

Marlene Creates is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2019).

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