Sunday, March 22, 2009

It WAS Spring... NOW it is Winter.... ???

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful, sunny, and warm day here in the Canadian Rockies. However, today there are about 8 inches of snow on everything. Sigh. I love winter but yesterday was such a tease that I realize I am now ready for spring. In fact, yesterday was an amazing day, and today I am just cranky. Must be the weather...

Today is Sunday. A lazy Sunday. We ate left over waffles, which is what I made for breakfast yesterday, and have so far accomplished taking a bath. Not a bad day, right, but I am so out of sorts. MUST be the weather.

Saturday, yesterday, after out delicious strawberry covered belgian waffles, I took Quin over to Motoring Munchkins, which is at the local elementary school, and is an awesome way for little ones to burn off some steam in the gymnasium, during the trapped-indoors-days of winter. The kids play with one another and ride, push, and pull all the toys they have. My friend, Michelle, took Quin with her kids, so I could go up to the Banff Centre to see friend, and fellow artist, Sandra Hawkins of Ottawa.

It was so nice to see Sandra! She is in Banff for the month of March, working on a self-directed residency at the Banff Centre. She is having an exhibition of her latest works in her Arctic Crisis Series, and it was kicked off yesterday with a performance reading.

The images in the exhibit, are taken from time she spent in Northern Canada 30 years ago. She has worked with them digitally, creating collages. Some of the collages include text, from a journal from that time.

For her reading she opened that journal to a random page and started to read. It puts her in a vulnerable position because she doesn't know what she will be reading so she may stumble on certain passages. And it also makes her emotionally vulnerable because she has no idea which memories will be revisited. It was very interesting to me what she read. She has been there working with public health, and among the rich pictures she painted if the aboriginals and their way of life, she spoke of reading about texts on birth control, and programs for women and children.

At the end, she closed her eyes and spoke of one of her most vivid memories, which involved honeypots. Honeypots is a term that refers to the collection of human feces in places that lack indoor plumbing. She remembers them being outside, and how children who lacked activities would drive into them with snowmobiles and they would leak out their contents. The reading and exhibition were extremely interesting.

While Sandra read her images were playing in a slideshow format on two large screens in the room. A camera was filming her hands on the journal and her voice, and another artist filmed the entire scene, and I was photographed Sandra. It was a special thing to be a part of and I am glad I was able to be there. Sandra was disappointed that the Centre's printer broke and that her images were not prints, but I think, especially during the performance, that the images playing on the screen were very powerful.

After Sandra's performance, we went up to the studio of Marian Wihak, who is also a Canadian artist. She gave an artist's talk about her current series.

She is working on very large landscape painting of the horizon and sky. She photographed the images to work from while riding back and forth in the car over a period of time to her job as a film designer.

She has pages and pages of digital contact sheets tacked to the wall of her studio. I found it visually stimulating as a photographer to see all those images behind her as she spoke. She talked about movement and the passing of time in the images. I would like to read more about her work. I had to leave to pick up Quin, but enjoyed her talk and studio, with its blue hues, very much.

I was very disappointed that I could not stay and visit the studio of Austalian artist, Flossie Peitsch.

I was able to go back to the Banff Centre to have dinner with Sandra. It was very nice to have a chance to sit down and talk. I am starting to get acquainted with more artists in my community, but it is nice to talk with someone who knows what it is like where I used to live. There were many exciting and thought provoking subjects that Sandra and I discussed. I hope to be able to go to the reception for her show tomorrow night before my memoir class. And we may be able to have lunch one day.

The Banff Centre is really a special place, and it has allowed me to spend time with friends of mine from away who are staying there to do some work. It is a unique situation to have so many talented people come to what was once the Banff Centre for the arts but is now a place that people of all disciplines come for conferences and other reasons. In fact, Jay Ingram, Canadian science journalist and host of Daily Planet was in the dining room with us last night. And once, I saw Michael Healey, Canadian playwright and actor from the now defunct CBC Show This Is Wonderland walking on a trail going up to the Banff Centre. Just one more place that makes Banff unique...

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