May 21, 2017 - Fogo Island Arts - Marlene Creates: To the Blast Hole Pond River
May 21, 2017

Fogo Island Arts

Marlene Creates, Spring 2003, excerpt from Water Flowing to the Sea Captured at the Speed of Light, Blast Hole Pond River, Newfoundland 2002–2003. Pair of chromogenic photographic prints, each 40 x 60 inches.

Marlene Creates
To the Blast Hole Pond River
May 18–October 15, 2017

Fogo Island Arts
210 Main Street, Joe Batt’s Arm
Newfoundland and Labrador A0G 2X0

The Fogo Island Gallery presents a solo exhibition of the work of Canadian artist Marlene Creates. To the Blast Hole Pond River brings together a selection of photography and video that draw inspiration from the river that flows through Creates’s property, a six-acre patch of boreal forest in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, where she has lived since 2002. As the title suggests, the exhibition is both tribute and journey, a meditation on the specificities of place that considers our connection to the natural world as a form of reciprocal engagement.

What began as a project to document a small waterfall in the river’s course became a conversation between the artist and the landscape over multiple seasons. By placing her camera underwater, using the reflected light of the night sky, or relying on motion-triggered trail cameras, Creates relinquishes the photographer’s control of framing and focus. Rather than an imposition of a privileged viewpoint, or a sense that the landscape is passive, awaiting our interpretation, her photographic works establish a form of exchange with the natural world.

Creates’s video works underscore the connection between language and landscape. Changes in the river after a major storm or over the course of a winter are mapped through observation, memory, and a rich vocabulary of terms for snow and ice. The artist compiled over 80 such terms specific to Newfoundland that derive from 17th century English brought by settlers or relate to occupations like fishing. The videos demonstrate that we are entangled with the landscape, deriving meaning and a sense of identity from our environment.

The works in To the Blast Hole Pond River convey a sustained artistic engagement with place, questioning how we are bound to and shaped by our surroundings. Creates overlays her own experience and memory in interpreting the river and forest while also leaving space for the landscape to exert its own influence. Withdrawing her agency as a photographer, and with it, our tendency to impose a singular vision on the environment, Creates shows a receptivity to her surroundings that acknowledges nature and culture as an inextricable whole. This perspective is mirrored in the objectives of Fogo Island Arts and the Shorefast Foundation, making this exhibition a natural fit.

Curated by Alexandra McIntosh (Director of Programs and Exhibitions, FIA) and Nicolaus Schafhausen (Director, Kunsthalle Wien and Strategic Director, FIA).

Artist's biography
Marlene Creates is an environmental artist and poet based in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. Her work has been presented across Canada and internationally. Exhibitions in 2017 include What Came to Light at Blast Hole Pond River, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto; Photography in Canada: 1960–2000, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Belonging to a Place: An Exhibition by Fogo Island Arts, Scrap Metal Gallery, Toronto; and the retrospective Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton.

About Fogo Island Arts
Fogo Island Arts is a residency-based contemporary art venue that supports research and production of new work for artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, curators, designers and thinkers from around the world. Since 2008, FIA has brought some of the most exciting emerging and renowned artists of today to Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada to take part in residencies and to present solo exhibitions at the Fogo Island Gallery. Combining contemporary art, iconic architecture and social innovation in a singular setting, FIA is a world-class institution that is uniquely rooted in community. FIA is an initiative of the Shorefast Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to improving the social, cultural and economic conditions on Fogo Island and other small places around the world.

FIA Advisory Board members include Zita Cobb, Eleanor Dawson, Paul Dean, Fabrizio Gallanti, Elisa Nuyten, Silke Otto-Knapp, Todd Saunders, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Kitty Scott and Monika Szewczyk.

Fogo Island Arts graciously acknowledges its Patrons, including members of the Founders’ Circle, Partners and Friends for their essential support of residencies, programs and exhibitions.

Fogo Island Arts
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To the Blast Hole Pond River
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