Thursday 20th October: I woke this morning in Havelock, about an hour outside Montreal and five miles from the Canadian and USA boarder. We had a very enjoyable evening with Catherine and her musician husband Chris Crilly. Catherine’s house and studio is set in beautiful countryside and finally I am getting to see the golden, red and orange of the Canadian fall.
When I made my application for the AN travel bursary I had proposed going out to Montreal to seek an artist for Montreal. I am now so relived that we did our research before hand and short listed artists. I am certain that Catherine is the right artist for Cicatrix but if it turns out that after our studio meeting that she is not then I have time and the contacts via The Darling Foundry and Atelier Cirulaire to meet up with other artists.
During breakfast we had a couple of uninvited guests in the form of chipmunks. Their house is surrounded by maple trees and in particular sugar maples that produce maple syrup, which until recently were hand tapped. After breakfast it was a short walk to Catherine’s studio and what a beautiful studio, well organized and huge.
Catherine was very keen to show me some recent work that she had noticed had great similarities to some work I had produced. Both works used a circular motive. Catherine showed me a series that she produced some time ago based on Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. We had not been aware of this work when we had initially contacted her. The work is large and completely stunning, it has a monumental quality that reflects both these structures with out any cliché imagery. Catherine then brought out some work that combined both printmaking and painting that had been made around the time of her mother’s death. They were raw and delicate at the same time. Also on a completely flippant level matched the pattern of my skirt.
We happily spent a day looking at her work and discussing Cicatrix. I am relieved to say that Catherine is very excited to join the project. We have found our Canadian artist! We then discussed the possibity of her showing the Stonehenge/Salisbury Cathedral series as part of 2017 Salisbury Arts Festival. It would be a good lead into the final exhibition in 2018. Also it would strengthen the international exchange. A meeting with the festival director needs to be arranged on my return. We then discussed the possibilities of Cicatrix being exhibited in Montreal. Catherine is so full of enthusiasm and ideas; at one stage we discussed the possibilities of exhibiting the work with her New York gallery but then realized that we would have to add an American element to the collaboration. It clarified the importance of meeting people face to face. So much can be done and discussed that just couldn’t happen over the Internet. Thank you AN for enabling this to happen. The conclusion to our successful day was that Atelier Cirulaire was the obvious place to approach to exhibit Cicatrix at; it was where we found Catherine. She is going to approach Larry and discuss the possibilities of an international exhibition there.
I am so pleased and I know Pru and Susan are also equally excited that Catherine is joining Cicatrix.
We then returned to Montreal to attend the openings of the galleries at De Gaspe Complex. It turns out we were a week early and the group opening of all galleries is next Thursday. We did find the door of Centre Clark was open and we discovered the artist Jim Holyoak working on his drawn installation The Thicket. We had a good discussion with Jim as he sat drawing. It was an exhibition I had hoped to see so meeting the artist and seeing the work in progress was a wonderful consolation to missing the gallery openings. Jim explained “that The Thicket demands that we pause, slow down and take a moment to fully experience the immersive nature of the work. In addition, a total environment is created through dimmed lights and an environmental soundscape composed by Nick Kuepfer, whose own practice involves research into acoustic ecology. Kuepfer’s ambient sound work evokes a deep space through modified and layered field recordings of crickets, dripping water and rustling leaves, lending a contemplative, enveloping effect to the installation. Through this piece, Jim said he hopes “to dismantle the nature/culture paradigm by addressing the general ecology of the forest, whether it be mythical, scientific, or anything in between”. It was one of those great chance encounters. Catherine and Jim discussed the possibility of her bring her students to see the exhibition and meet him. This concluded a successful and busy day.
Jim Holyoak and his work
Tomorrow I plan to visit the Stewart museum on St. Helen’s Island. The Museum is housed in the Arsenal of the British military depot built by the British between 1820 and 1824. I feel it may be relevant for Cicatrix and there is an exhibition called Curiosities by contemporary artist Jérôme Fortin.