Sunday, October 28, 2012

Passages and Memories

Friday afternoon I headed out to Edmonton.

My first destination was the Feature Gallery at the Alberta Craft Council, where SAQA colleague Margie Davidson was exhibiting as one of four artists.  In the show, each artist explores the concept of time and place -- Margie (Edmonton) with knitting,  Marcy Horswill (Cumberland, B.C.) with quilting, and the duo of Bridget Fairbank(Nelson, B.C.) and Alana Wilson (Hinton, AB) with ceramics and embroidery respectively.

Fence Study #3 - Marcy Horswill

Ms. Horswill's work was taken from her series "The Other Side of the Fence", about which she blogged recently.  I was particularly taken with her use of felted wool as backgrounds, and her interweaving of wire in some of the pieces, as this is a material I am thinking about for my Burgess Shale Project submission.

Alana Wilson
Bridget Fairbank

Ms. Fairbank and Ms. Wilson, who met at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2009, together created "The Isolation Project", inspired by their shared experience as fire tower observers in Northern Alberta -- a very solitary situation that had them contemplating self, society, the meaning of solitude and isolation, and how we are all affected.  Ms. Fairbank's montage of plates evolved from her travelling across Canada to take up her work in Alberta, "collecting places and contemplating time."  Ms. Wilson's embroidery display was her way to capture her thoughts and reflections about isolation, with materials readily available in a remote area.

Talented as these artists are, I felt that Margie's "Measuring a Year by the Minute" installation best captured the 'Passages' theme.  Of course, perhaps I have a bit of bias as she is an acquaintance of mine, someone whose skills in dyeing and art quilting I admire, and who, like me, is also a knitter, and a participant in a prayer shawl ministry.

Margie's Journey begins here..

Inspired by the song "Seasons of Love" from the musical, Rent, Margie wondered how she might represent time visually.  She began on her birthday, April 23, 2011, cast on 60 stitches and marked off the days every 24 rows, knitting every day for the following year.  

Her colour palette was drawn from the vegetation in her back yard, the city's river valley green spaces, and a trip to India during that same year.  Above is just a piece of this very charming, tactile, touching installation...a prayer shawl writ large.  It runs up and over and through the room, eventually ending in a quiet spiral:

And ends here...

The show, "Passages" is up till December 24th, so if you're in the area between now and then, be sure to have a look!  (And if you can't get to Edmonton, check out the online exhibition HERE.)

Friday evening found me in the company of my children, at the beautiful Winspear Centre on Churchill Square, listening to "The Sounds of Silence" and many other wonderful pieces from the incomparable repertoire penned by Paul Simon and performed in partnership with Art Garfunkel.  Messrs Swearingen and Beedle, accompanied by the ESO under the baton of conductor Michael Krajewski, filled two hours with precise guitar picking, sweet harmonies and even sweeter memories.

A.J. Swearingen & Jonathan Beedle
Having grown up surrounded by this music -- folk and rock from the sixties and very early seventies -- my kids were familiar with many of the melodies, if not all the words. Able to mouth along all of the lyrics, I was transported back to a slow dance with my first real boyfriend ("Sounds of Silence", summer of 1966); to my first summer-long trip away from home ("America", summer of 1968); to passing for 18 to get into "The Graduate ("Mrs. Robinson", autumn, 1969), and so much more.  'Twas a passage back in time, and a lovely memory to carry into the future.

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; they're all that's left you.

- Paul Simon, "Bookends Theme", 1968


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Music is such a powerful tool-your memories sound strong and lovely-enjoyable post!

Judy Warner said...

Remember singing Bridge Over Troubled Water with passion every time it played on the radio or my stereo.
Your friend's Passage contribution was wonderful to read about - sorry I can't see it in person. Great way to mark a year in time.

Nina Marie said...

ohhh thanks for sharing the show - and you can count me in on a big Paul Simon fan - I'm constantly making sure my teen daughter knows the melodies and lyrics by heart - I mean ya gotta make sure her music education is taken care of - don't ya think??? LOL!!