Submitted by the Fieldwork Collective


FieldworkAs the birds begin to return and the frost is losing its grip on the ground at FIELDWORK several new artists have also been arriving in the past weeks to create new installations for this year’s exhibition of site-responsive art that opens Saturday, May 9 from 2-4pm.

Your eyes and imaginations will be delighted by this year’s new works. A wave of green and blue by Christine Nobel and Brian Barth will greet you as you arrive. 191 Meters draws attention to the subtle shifts in topography and imagines the way water may have drained from the land when a glacial lake that covered the area receded 12,000 years ago. (Thanks to the Perth Planing Mill for its support)

Also bringing fresh perspective to the landscape at Fieldwork and illuminating an important chapter in the history of painting and drawing technique is Franc van Oort’s Eye Box. This human-scaled Camera Obscura at the east end of the field is sure to open eyes and minds. Franc has been furiously experimenting with optical lenses, focal lengths, and rotation devices in his studio like a modern day Da Vinci and enlisted the help of his daughter, Almonte artist Linda Hamilton, and his sister-in-law (and artist) Sally Sheeks in the painting of the box’s exterior. You won’t want to miss this one. (Thanks to Dr. Curtis Bain of the Perth Eye and Vision Clinic for his support).

In the forested areas behind the field, some exploration will unearth two other new installations. Kimberly Edgar’s memories of wandering in the forest and bird watching with her grandmother inspired her work – Bird Memories. Riffing on the ubiquitous urban activity of postering, Edgar’s clusters of ephemeral paper prints of birds pasted onto various objects at Fieldwork suggest both the modern ‘message boards’ on city poles and the transient and seasonal presence of birds in our midst.

An old sand pit is one of the topographical ‘features’ at Fieldwork. The significant disruption to the land and its inhabitants that resulted from the extraction of sand decades ago is now less apparent and receding into memory after years of ‘re-naturalizing’. In a similar way, Annette Hegel’s Two Guiding Principles, located at the front of the pit plays with (in)visibility and scale to question the seen and unseen consequences of resource exploitation on ecosystems and human settlement.

The installation of Reinhard Reitzenstein and Gayle Young’s work, Castorimba Suspended has been postponed until later in the summer due to unforeseen circumstances. With a return visit to FIELDWORK you’ll be able to make experimental music with their suspended marimba-meets-beaver-inspired ‘instrument’ that will be hanging from the trees near the pond.

A special feature this year is the installation of bird boxes created by the students at Brooke Valley School. Using nesting boxes – made in the wood shop at Algonquin College by St John’s High School students – that were donated to FIELDWORK, the children at BVS combined science and art projects by researching a specific bird and artfully ‘retrofitting’ the boxes to suit their birds. The BVS students will be using the opening at FIELDWORK as an occasion to speak to visitors about their birds and boxes.

We hope you will make it out to the opening Saturday, May 9 from 2-4pm. Artists will be speaking briefly about their work beginning at 2:30. If you can’t make it that day remember that FIELDWORK is open year round and is a great place to visit anytime with friends, family, or simply on one’s own for a peaceful, self-guided experience of art in nature. Please remember that nature also includes bugs. Dress appropriately for exposure to sun and insects (i.e. covered up).

FIELDWORK is an outdoor space located just west of Perth that is dedicated to connecting nature, people and creativity. The site hosts a diverse collection of site-responsive art installations and is open to the public year round. It has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council since inception (2008). Keep your eyes open for news about a new initiative happening August 23rd – Framework: Words on the Land – 10 writers in conversation about a weekend spent writing in situ at FIELDWORK. We are excited to be working with the Ottawa Writers Festival/Perth Chapter on this. For more about FIELDWORK and our events visit the website – and our Facebook page