Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Ode to a Prairie town; and Doing it, bug-style

Saturday, April 26th, 2008


The Tribeca Film Festival’s screening 2 nights ago of Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg was delightful – particularly enhanced by his own live narration in Winnipeg twang, and paired with Isabella Rosellini’s hilariously funny Green Porno micro-shorts describing the bizarre sexual practices of common bugs. She plays the costumed male of each species as well as various hermaphrodites, and is subjected to all manner of physical trauma. The low tech effects are enchanting. Beckley and I agreed that these should be shown to kids, and also would work well in a gallery installation. Rick Gilbert, Green Porno‘s producer who I recognized from somewhere (Winnipeg, it turns out), told me they have been trying various configurations as they tour the work. Stay tuned for her second series featuring sea creatures!

Maddin’s signature blurry style of a bygone era in endless snow grace this documentary/travelogue of our shared prairie home town. Its highlights include a hockey match between historical hockey greats amidst the wrecking ball demolition of their beloved arena; a reenactment of Maddin’s childhood living room complete with dead father exhumed like a mound of dirt beneath the carpet; a steamy coming-of age in arena locker rooms and the subterranean levels of a public pool; and Golden Boy pageantry in the otherwise dull and fading Paddlewheel family restaurant.

My favourite line references the newly erected MTS building looking “like a zombie in a cheap new suit” where Canada’s iconic Eaton’s department store once proudly stood. I’ve been away from home for a long long time – thanks for the memories, however self-deprecating.

Presto change-o!

Friday, February 22nd, 2008


After reading an article in The New York Times during a recent two-hour frigid midnight subway ride, I am now a huge admirer of the cunning cuttlefish. Related to the octopus and squid, cuttlefish are cephalopods, masters of disguise, and hapless performance artists. Research scientist and marine biologist Dr. Hanlon studies their incredible camouflage ability in his lab and in their underwater environments.

Check this NOVA Video featuring Cuttlefish, and Dr. Hanlon’s footage of an octopus instantly reversing it’s camouflage. It’s real.

weather widget

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

widget weather

I heart my Apple default weather widget, and although I try others, I come back to it every time. For example, who wouldn’t love the melting sun icon that lasts all summer in Brooklyn, the fat happy snowflakes, or the disintegrating particles of sparkling white atmosphere? Today I looked up Winnipeg’s weather because my whole family is there right now, except for me. It’s a good thing I couldn’t make it…as best I can tell from the visual iconography, in two days Winnipeg will be obliterated.

Canadian Martyrs

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Martyrdom of The Great One

In Miami last month, I ran into fellow Winnipeger Diana Thorneycroft. I missed her work at Photo Miami, because a day of beach laziness, iguana tracking, and stone crab was a far more attractive offer than another marathon session at the art fairs. Later I visited her website and came across her 2006 photographic series featuring Canadian Martyrs.

My favourite is Martyrdom of the Great One, where Gretzky is torn asunder amidst a flock of terribly calm Canadian Geese. Yesterday I watched a few documentaries about Gretzky while researching a new video, and learned that number 99 was the only number ever retired from the NHL. I also found that the great one doesn’t have a lot to say, and barely blinks. The lions and tigers are priceless, not everyone is aware that Canada is home to these beasts.

Pictured above, Martyrdom of the Great One.

Winter in Williamsburg at A.M. Richard Fine Art

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

snow stories

Now that it’s finally cold in Brooklyn, Snow Stories is in a wintry show titled No Wonderland in Winter in Williamsburg – shiver shiver! From the press release, “Winter is a time capsule of desolation, decay, discomfort, isolation, frost, obscurity, death and stillness. The eight artists presented all work in distinct mediums – be it paint (Joel Adas, Jessica Weiss), computer animation and film (Jillian Mcdonald), line drawing (Sascha Mallon), photography (Andrew Garn, Vanina Feldsztein, Stephen Mallon) or clay (Michelle Sholtis).”

A.M. Richard Fine Art, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
January 18th 2008-February 17th, 2008
Opening Reception: Friday January 18th from 6-9pm

more info

Winter in Zombie Land

Monday, December 24th, 2007

avoca in winter

View of the road where we shot “Zombie Loop”, in full winter dress. Somewhere along the way, this land in Avoca, Wisconsin became my muse. No art-making this time, just a quiet winter vacation.

Fright Night

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

falls at night

I visited Niagara Falls three nights ago while in St Catherine’s for a fabulous opening at Rodman Hall. To my surprise these stage lights were trained on the Falls at night, from the Canadian side, so tourists won’t miss a viewing oportunity. The spectacle of nature never sleeps and meanwhile alien abductions happen left right and centre. Note to self: perfect location for a zombie film.

new corpse in The Bronx

Sunday, September 16th, 2007


There is a new corpse flower mega-star about to bloom Monday night at Lehman College’s garden in The Bronx – the corpse flower was once the official flower of The Bronx! This is an extremely rare occurance and particularly if you missed the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s corpse flower bloom last year! I made an animation about Brooklyn’s corpse flower – it’s on view right now at Long Island University Gallery, in a show curated by Aron Namenwirth (see previous post).

Sun Suckers in the final days of summer

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Writes Ken Gregory, “Sun Suckers feed by sitting in the sun light and sucking up rays of light with their skin out stretched…They don’t bite…Sun Suckers are notorious singers…Sun Suckers communicate with other Sun Suckers using a sort of complex telepathy that uses high frequency sound waves which humans can not hear.” Sun suckers are non-native, non-invasive, machines introduced to the banks of the Red River by Winnipeg artist Ken Gregory. Read more at his website

my tobacco plant lives on

Monday, August 27th, 2007

tobacco plant

It’s true that I have not yet killed, just inadvertently tortured and maimed, the one piece of nature I have been in contact with this summer – namely, a tobacco plant given to me by artist Zoë Sheehan Saldaña as part of her recent “Homegrown” installation at ArtMoving Projects.

I am trying to nurse it back to health for the love of plants and my friendship with the artist, but despite giving it a home in my new studio which is essentially a greenhouse, the tobacco is not thriving. Maybe this early demise has to do with my poor relationship to smoking offending its very being – I do make the occasional rude comment to visitors about the “odour”. Perhaps it’s my special brand of aloofness that passes for “nursing back to health”.

I just visited Zoë’s website and was met with an onslaught of glowing nurturing green faces – feeling extra guilty now.