Tidal Trace, 2004- 2013, In collaboration with John FreemanPage 1 of 3go to page 2
Dimensions: 10 ft high, 18 ft wide, 26 ft long
Mixed media installation: styrofoam, dried day lilies, shredded paper, kelp, moss,
shells,paper-covered puffballs, tea bags, scrap plastic, sea balls, pumice and video

Artist Statement

Imagine walking barefoot along a coastal beach, collecting material or darting to dodge the incoming tide as it washes up to an undulating line on the sand of the beach. In 2001, I was artist-in-residence at Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Tidal Trace has been created from that experience: sand between the toes, stepping gingerly over pebbles, the crackling of dry seaweed underfoot, the soothing noise of rolling surf, water lapping in the ebb and flow of tide, each wave’s retreat a sucking sound, hot sun, cumulous clouds, wind, foam, the briny smell of the salt spray in your face, the holes of Pippy clams in the sand, crabs scurrying, the litter of flotsam-driftwood, dead fish, bones, shells, shards of plastic and sandy pumice.

Translating these elements into the work, Tidal Trace, I wanted to focus my attention on the zone of interaction within the narrow strip of sand and rock. This is a shifting place between the moving line at the water’s edge and the contour of debris at the high water boundary. The cove at Trout River, Newfoundland has a continuous line of seaweed-covered boulders, positioned in such a way that they create large tongues of broken-up kelp as the tides advance and recede. There are other traces left by the retreating water such as pebbles, shells, plastic and other refuse discarded by offshore fishermen.

The contrast between Trout River cove and the wide, white sandy beaches of my youth in Australia resonates deeply for me. The strength of returning internally to these parallel recollections allows me to call up similar sensations accumulated from 30 years of living in the open flat lands of Alberta, where I have honoured the seasonal ritual of observing, walking and collecting in the fields surrounding my home. The relentless tide, in its cyclical nature, is meditative and restorative to the spirit, and echoes its great power for regeneration and renewal on this planet.

 Mutations of the Commons, Nickle Galleries, 2018photo: Dave Brown, University of Calgary

photo: Dave Brown, University of Calgary
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