We've been busy this winter planning our 2016 program. Our 9th year! Here are the goodies to look forward to. We hope you will journey out this season with friends and family for a dose of creativity inspired by the land.

 

  

  • 5 new visual art installations opened Saturday, May 7. Work by Jolie Bird, Janine Miedzik, Marco D'Andrea, Chris Turnbull, and a collaboration between Jerrard and Diana Smith, Gayle Young and Reinhard Reitzenstein (RSSY). Installations explore a multiplicity of perspectives from the suggestive positioning and poetics of words, to the narratives conjured up by an abandoned car situated in a field.  We also feature a piece by the children of Brooke Valley School created at an on-site workshop in April. The exhibition continues all year long.

 

  • The 2016 edition of Framework: Words on the Land - Sunday, August 21.  This year's roster of writers:  Natale Ghent, John K. Grande, Helen Humphreys, Jonathan Kaplansky, Katherine Graham, Andrew Kaufman, Monty Reid, Sandra Ridley, John Steffler, Alissa York. (Please note that Kathleen Winter is no longer able to participate).  We are so pleased to be partnering again with the Ottawa International Writers Festival (OIWF) in presenting our second writers' weekend and reading. The launch last year of Framework: Words on the Land was a hit with a near sell-out reading in the loft of the barn at Fieldwork. So, we are doing it again this year with a whole new group of writers! A public reading of their work - created over  a weekend of in-situ writing in the forest at Fieldwork - will happen Sunday, August 21 beginning at 3pm. Tickets are on sale now (in advance only) through the OIWF website.

 

  • We are excited to be announcing an entirely new event this year. Fieldwork is partnering with 2 women productions and the Ottawa International Writers Festival in presenting Storywork: Telling Tales Rooted in the Land. This promises to be a riveting performance with some of our regions finest storytellers who will be exploring the landscapes of traditional folk and fairy tales. With: Marie Bilodeau, Katherine Grier, Daniel Kletke, and Marta Singh. Curated by Jennifer Cayley of 2 women productions.  Saturday, September, 24 beginning at 2pm in the loft at Fieldwork. Tickets are on sale now (in advance only) through the OIWF website.
     

 

Fieldwork would like to acknowledge the generous contributions made this year by the Ontario Arts Council National Bank Financial and Foodsmiths. We also greatly appreciate the contributions - whether in-kind or financial, donations of time or expertise, or simply the gift of good energy by numerous friends, family and volunteers. We could not do what we do without you.

 

 

 If you are interested in volunteering your time and skills we'd love to talk. Please send us an email.

Like what we do?  Please spread the word and share with your social networks.  Here are ours: https://www.facebook.com/fieldworkproject/ ">Facebook and Twitter

Fieldwork has been funded by the Ontario Arts Council since 2008.  We also rely on the generosity of our supporters. We appreciate donations of any size.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss donating.


 

ABOUT US:

Fieldwork  is open to the public daily, all year and free of charge.  Just park and walk.
Note: Please remember that it is a natural setting and there are bugs (including ticks).  Be sure to dress accordingly and cover up.
Directions to the project are
here.

Since its inception in 2008, Fieldwork has been run by a team of artists (The Collective) that volunteer their time and energy to make Fieldwork a vibrant and dynamic destination for the creation and experience of site-specific artwork in and around a field in eastern Ontario, close to the towns of Perth and Maberly.

Fieldwork hosts work by local, national and international artists at various stages of their careers and invites the public to visit and explore the artwork all year long.  Fieldwork also hosts workshops in collaboration with other organizations, an annual writers' weekend and reading, and as of this year, a performance of storytellers.

The Collective looks after the site, co-ordinates and promotes projects, shares administrative duties and makes joint curatorial decisions. From time to time the Collective members also create their own Fieldwork installations.

The Fieldwork Collective welcomes proposals from interested artists and circulates a public call for proposals annually in January.  Suggestions and proposals for events or workshops are also welcomed from the local community, schools and arts organizations that are interested in fostering connections, dialogue and creative action between people, art, and nature. Please contact us at fieldworkproject@gmail.com

More information on current and past installations can be found by scrolling down this page and/or by looking in the archives in the right hand menu.  Be sure to also check out additional photos of the installations - found in the galleries located in the right hand menu.

 


 

If you would like to be notified by email when a new posting or change has been added to this blog, press the orangy/red 'syndicate' button (RSS symbol) in the menu to the right and follow the instructions.

For information on the first three installations at Fieldwork (Summer 2008, Autumn 2008, Winter 2008/09)  visit our old blog.

Fieldwork gratefully acknowledges the support of the   Ontario Arts Council,   and Foodsmiths as well as all of our friends, volunteers, and especially our artists and visitors!

susie osler - May 6, 2013
Fieldwork 2016, Landmark, Chris Turnbull

‘the rock’ - Chris Turnbull

The first time I saw this rock was with my son. I was attracted first to its shape and colour; he was attracted to its
size and surface, and climbed onto it.

This rock is made up of deposits slowly gathered through glaciation; it has been shaped by uncontrollable forces
such as ice, water, and wind, combined with the energies of movement. The rock is a visible presence, its size
suggests unchanging solidity and a sort of timelessness. It is situated at the edge of where Fieldwork and the
neighbouring property share a common boundary, perhaps it was part of a wider boundary/shore of two glacial
lakes, aeons ago. Yet, boundaries are transitional spaces, too, suggestive of states in change, even if slow or
proceeding in ways we do not see or imagine.

The rock is complex enough as a rock. As I worked on it, I started to see (and feel) that its tilted, bulby, granular
and flat elements were themselves composites of multiple surfaces — upon which insects land, pollen and seeds
settle, lichen emerges from symbiosis, a variety of species navigate sensorily or mark, and my son (and any of
us) might clamber.

Constructing a poem, for me, starts with movement - typically outdoors - and then a run through the mind-mill
into a series of notes interspersed with other notes in a ratty old book. I start with hand-written text and
eventually move toward the computer and its virtual space as defined by boundary marks (margins, screen
edge, window, wall, door). I write virtually onto this ‘page’ and then print it off. I am always trying to work off the
page; I find the surface of the page somehow not enough for words which, for me, are themselves constructed
objects that interact, producing a visual presence, sound, meaning. I may play around with text size and font,
but rarely above 14pt. It seems too big. I tend to move toward the small and smaller, toward seeming
invisibility. I play with space and shade.

 

It wasn’t until I had started to cut out stencils and gather materials (paint and ink) for writing on the rock that I
realized how uncomfortable I felt inscribing large letters onto it. It may be partially because the rock itself does
not need the letters I put on it. It’s big enough, and interesting enough, on its own or in relation to the variety of
things around it. However, its size became a bit of a challenge. What are some of the elements of the rock that
make it so intriguing? What pieces of its story could words emphasize — what interactions might the letters and
words — their own suggestive surfaces and depths, their measurements — themselves encourage?

you th
are is

 

 

Maybe the installation starts with you-who-has-a-pronoun (and likely a name). Or maybe you is a group of you.
Then are you this? Or are you both singular and plural, both are and is? Always? Are you sometimes I and
sometimes you? Is it this? Is this erratic? What is th(are)? There? It’s very erratic, gathering meaning that is not
fragmented, that does not come from a variety of directions, that is solid. Add to the mix our own perspectives
and we find we have to move around, look a little closely, pay less attention to what is immediate. The rock is
erratic, too - it is an erratic. If you’re not erratic, what are you?

There is no assumed direction or required reading on this rock. The pieces build on each other; they can break
down or can be recomposed; some letters aren’t in the pattern you might expect. As a result, the process is
deliberately slow and you may not find all the words (you don’t need to try to find all the words). There are some
discrete fragments scattered on the rock; they are difficult to see because they are small or blend in with the
rock’s colouration. One of them, “just/before/the hour/the news” has been placed on a patch of lichen, an
ecosystem in and of itself. What does the hour or the news have to do with the rock? Whose news? “The news” is
a composite; it is a variety of stories batched verbally or visually at a common time and place. We rely on its
consistency and immediacy, and use it to inform our relationships with other (mostly human) elements of our
world. The hour — as a unit of time — and our estimated measurements ( “just/before”) are variable
constructions; the rock, too, is a gathering of news, mostly non-human, and made up of the very old and the
immediate.

In an assumption that most people would really love to climb this rock, I have stencilled (using colours of pink,
green, grey, black, and white) a sound poem that runs up and over — it could be read in either a N-S direction, or
a S-North direction. Either way, I encourage it to be voiced, with as many voices in chorus as possible. Or, if not,
read silently in tandem with sounds and presences of what lives and moves through the Fieldwork space as a
whole. You will have to move to read it. The sound poem starts or ends in poetic grandiosity with epic
invocation: Sing —

Sing-ing touches on the chorus that got us “here” and represents continuity, taking its cue from “land/ing”. It
touches on measurement and units of time that seem so concrete, among other things. From here or maybe
before, you may run into multiples of shadow text — one of them from Canadian poet and artist a rawlings’ play
“How to Manage a Conservation Conversation” (in o w n: Cue Books 2014). This piece follows the rock toward
the tree at its base. It was written in the shadow that the tree casts, but the movement of the sun during each
month and season, and the changes that the tree itself undergoes, will shift the readability of the poem and the
appearance of the rock — except at a certain timeframe of the year, when the piece will be covered in shadow
again. In a similar way, other pieces on the rock will also be covered at certain times of the year — in fall (moss
and needles) and winter (snow/ice). These elements will shift the poems’ meanings or make them illegible in
places; some poems will be rewritten; they will shift or emerge into new forms and meanings.

This rock is a place — a remnant of a process and a reminder of processes. It is “here”, on the surface of the land,
clearly visible. Sometimes it is writing and words that are blurred — a smear on the surface of the writing, not
this rock.

susie osler - May 4, 2016
Fieldwork, Framework:Words on the Land, August 23

Fieldwork is excited to be partnering with the Ottawa International Writers Festival/Perth Chapter this year to present Framework: Words on the Land  - a writers weekend and public reading on August 23 at 3pm.

Writers:  Amanda West Lewis, Amanda Jernigan, Phil Hall, Michael Blouin, Matthew Holmes, Wayne Grady, Merilyn Simonds, Christine Pountney, Jeff Warren, Troy McClure

A growing collection of three dimensional artwork has been inhabiting the land at Fieldwork for the past 8 years.  This year we will also explore how the land can work on writers. For a weekend in August ten invited word-workers will be positioned in front of portals framing specific vantage points around Fieldwork from which words for stories, poems or other writing experiments will be invoked.  On Sunday afternoon (August 23) we are offering guests a window into their writing processes as writer-participants read from their creative output and discuss their experiences.

Words are ephemeral and elusive, like shadows of animals disappearing into the woods, until they are coaxed into phrases for the page or are committed to memory. But when a writer captures words to express an inspiration, insight or observation, words can become elegant and incisive tools with the ability to conjure new sensory experiences, perspectives and imaginative leaps in the minds of readers. The ten Framework writers were chosen, in part due to their broad swath of writing styles (poetry, prose, fiction and more) and thematic interests (from nature writing, to explorations of consciousness).  Please be sure to click on their names to learn more about them. We are pretty stoked that they are keen to participate in this weekend of land-inspired creative action at Fieldwork.

We hope that Framework will illuminate, for writers and listeners alike, our nuanced and varied relationships with, approaches to, and experiences of/in nature.  These are the common threads that are woven through all of Fieldwork's activities. Whatever emerges from this weekend experiment promises to be, at minimum, imaginative, fresh and full of sponteneity. 

Join us Sunday afternoon, August 23 at 3pm in the intimate and welcoming space of the barn loft across the road from Fieldwork (15 minutes west of Perth, ON) for readings and discussion with the writers at Framework.

Tickets will be sold only online through the Ottawa International Writers Festival website at at http://www.writersfestival.org/events/spring-2015/framework-words-on-the-land. Note that space in the loft is limited so it is advised that you purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment.  We will be selling tickets at the door only if there are some remaining on the day of the event.

Interested in knowing more about the participants? Over the weeks preceding Framework we are featuring a writer each week in our 'Sneak Peaks' on  Facebook and Twitter.  Have a look.

As always we encourage you to pass this on to friends who may be also be interested by using the social sharing buttons below. Thank you all for helping us spread the word!

We look forward to sharing Framework with you!

susie osler - Jul 16, 2015
Fieldwork 2015, 191 Meters, Christine Nobel and Brian Barth
Fieldwork 2015, Two Guiding Principles, Annette Hegel
Fieldwork 2015, Franc van Oort, Eye Box, inside the Camera Obscura
Fieldwork 2015, Kimberly Edgar, Bird Memories
Fieldwork 2015, Opening, Artists' talks
Fieldwork 2015 opening, Brooke Valley School kids, Ornithology 101
Fieldwork 2015,  Brooke Valley School student, presenting her science fair

Fieldwork opened its gates to 4 new installations, 13 wonderful bird boxes, a science fair, and many many visitors on the beautiful breezy afternoon of May 9, 2015.  What a great turnout.  We were all charmed by the students from our local independent schooll - Brooke Valley School - who painted and installed bird boxes and also presented their science fair projects - on birds - to visitors that afternoon at Fieldwork. 

We were pleased to also introduce our 4 new art installations which delighted and intrigued visitors:

Annette Hegel's Two Guiding Principles, Franc van Oort's Eye Box (a rotating camera obscura you can enter), Christine Nobel/Brian Barth's 191 Meters,  and Kimberly Edgar's Bird Memories.  More information and photos on each of these is or will soon be posted on this blog, so keep scrolling down the page and have a good read!

More photos of this year's installations (and other year's) can be found in the gallery menu to the right.  There are also many more on our Facebook Page which we encourage you to check out and 'Like'.

Many thanks are due in pulling together this year's exhibition. First of all a big shout out to the artists who have put great amounts of sweat equity, dedication, and passion into their wonderful work. Second, a bit thank you to the other collective members - Chris Osler and Sheila Macdonald who's councel and assistance is enormously appreciated. And also big gratitude to Cam Gray for being so generous with his time and expertise.  Coral Nault, principle at the Brooke Valley School, thank you for your creative ideas and for organizing the kids and their projects. Finally, we could not do this without the financial assistance of the Ontario Arts Council. Thank you OAC for your support once again this year.

Scroll down the page to read more about this year's installations.

susie osler - Jun 8, 2015
Fieldwork 2015, Kimberly Edgar, Bird Memories
Fieldwork 2015, Kimberly Edgar, Bird Memories
Fieldwork 2015, Kimberly Edgar, Bird Memories

Kimberly Edgar's wheatpasted linocuts (over 60 of them) can be found at numerous sites around Fieldwork - if one is looking.  

She writes:

"I started off doing wheatpastes of linocuts and silkscreens in the fall of 2012. Wheatpasting, a street-art medium, is the process of adhering paper cutouts and images to walls and other objects using wheatpaste, a glue made by boiling flour, sugar, and water.

What drew me to street art were many things:
the idea of interacting with the spaces I pass through on a daily basis

  • the idea of beautifying ugly and run-down places
  • going outside at night to do this (which can be frightening when you’re a young woman)
  • the idea of drawing attention to things and corners often overlooked by the public
  • facing my fear of doing something that transgresses the law

I wheatpasted transient spaces, like construction walls and abandoned buildings, in order to draw attention to these ephemeral spaces and also to pay attention to ignored spaces. The wheatpastes themselves would fall off after a long while if they weren’t drawn on first, ripped down, or added to. At heart this process was temporary. Newsprint cracks and yellows in the most beautiful way, and in the summer, insects eat the glue.

I love the process of making a very labour-intensive product, and then sacrificing it to the streets. Printmaking is a long, labour-intensive process. On top of that I hand-cut each of my pieces, sometimes I hand colour them each uniquely, and paste them in clusters, so that one piece could take me upwards of a month to create. This futility helped to detach me from the end product of the work and to focus on the making instead.

For Bird Memories, I am taking this labour-intensive, temporary process and applying it to a rural area. Wheatpaste has urban connotations. I am curious as to how this method is read in a rural context. When I wheatpasted in the city, I used lots of natural imagery, mostly insects. I often felt like, in a small way, I was bringing nature into urban spaces. Now, I am bringing urban practices into natural settings. In some ways this reflects my own personal experience with rural and urban spaces, feeling that I don’t belong in either, as I grew up in the suburbs.

Living in Dawson City, Yukon has allowed me to consider the difference between the boreal forest in which I now live, and the st-lawrence/great lakes forest of eastern ontario which I grew up near. When considering how I wanted to explore the difference between these two forests, I conjured the most vivid memory of eastern ontario forests I could remember, which was bird watching with my grandmother. She and I would sit in her cottage with binoculars and she would teach me to identify the birds; grosbeak, cardinal, bluejay, chickadee. These birds (except the chickadee) do not exist in my new home. They have become symbols of the difference between the two canadian landscapes I know and have called home."

susie osler - Jun 7, 2015
fieldwork 2015, christine nobel, brian barth, 191 meters
Fieldwork 2015, Christine Nobel, Brian Barth, 191 Meters

Christine Nobel and Brian Barth's eye-catching 191 Meters, and some of their preparatory images showing the site overview, and a cross-section of the elevation gain in the field.

They write:

 

191 Metres expresses the relationship of water to the landscape, making visible forces of nature that may not be apparent through casual observation.. For example, after the glaciers left their mark on this region, much of what is now southern and eastern Ontario was covered with water as the climate warmed and the ice melted. Later, as the glacial lakes receded, the landforms that we see today were revealed. Since then, the interactions of rainstorms, surface flow, soil type and vegetation patterns has continued to sculpt and refine the contours of the landscape. It is this millennial dynamic between water and earth that we sought to capture. The title is a reference to the elevation of the Fieldwork site above sea level.

The installation is a marriage of our professional backgrounds in landscape design and visual arts. The installation contrasts the smooth surface of a lake with the dynamic movement of flowing water and the exuberant growth of riparian vegetation. A meandering line of blue and green posts travel along the low point of the field as if the last of glacial meltwater was draining away, leaving lush growth in its wake. The top of all the posts are perfectly level, as if forming the surface of a still lake, meaning they increase in length from the shallow to deep water as the slope travels toward the east side of the field. Early in the process of developing a plan for 191 Metres we surveyed the field with an A-frame level - a primitive surveying tool consisting of three pieces of wood formed together in a triangle that was used by the Egyptians and other ancient civilizations to lay out aqueducts, agricultural terraces and other works of civil engineering. We also used a laser level to determine the elevation change from one side of the field to the other.

Once the concept was established, we set about figuring out how to build it. We sourced about three hundred-fifty 8-foot wooden posts, purchased a battery-powered circular saw, a post pounder, 7 colours of blue and green acrylic paint and various other tools. Construction took place during a narrow four-week period between when the ground thawed in early April and the Fieldwork opening in May. On our first day of work there was still a layer of frozen earth about 4inches below the surface!

We began by setting up a string line along the elevation of our conceptual ‘lake’ which served as a reference point for figuring out the length to cut each post and how far to pound them in so they would all end up at the same level. The shortest posts are about 4 inches aboveground and extend to almost 4 feet tall at the ‘deepest’ part of the installation. The posts are spaced 2 feet apart and have been pounded deep enough into the ground to ensure stability through the seasons.

Once each post was in the earth, the paint was applied. The selection of the blues and greens went from a light moss green to a medium, reflective blue to a deep grass green—all meant to identify the depth of the water and its relative closeness to the grass or the ground. At the very end of the project we placed the stakes on angles to give the illusion of them falling towards the ground as if the water was spilling out of them. The placement of the stakes and intentional colour relationships make this an animated space that invites people to experience it in a playful way.

susie osler - Jun 7, 2015

Located at the front of the old sand pit at Fieldwork, Annette Hegel's miniature subdivision, Two Guiding Principles, like the incident that inspired it, is both a site of disruption, and one that is easily overlooked.  She writes on her  website:

"The 1975 “James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement” (regulating massive hydro-electric projects in Quebec’s North) between the Quebec, Cree and Inuit Nations was based on two guiding principles: first “that Quebec needs to use resources […] all it’s territory, for the benefit of all its people”; and second “that we must recognize the needs of the natives peoples […] who have a different culture and a different way of life […]

The last 40 years are proving that the two principles are at great odds.

While producing enormous amounts of power, the dams discontinued the way of life of the people living in their shadow: threats to food security – release of mercury into the water systems and thus into the food chain, loss of animal habitat; caribou migration patterns; climate change resulting in actual shift of the tree line; relocation of people for convenience; significant social impacts through new connections to the South. This is the classic tale of human interventions displacing what has developed over millennia, applying quick fixes.

The installation of Two Guiding Principles is placed in a spot of disruption on the FIELD, but maybe, if left alone it just might allow us a new perspective on old habits."

The above pdf can be downloaded by clicking here

susie osler - Jun 7, 2015