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Kathy Slade, Tugboat

Kathy Slade, Tugboat (2007), production still from 16 mm colour film [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, Nov 21-Feb 20]

Silva Part II: Booming Grounds

Nanaimo Art Gallery
Nanaimo BC – Nov 21-Feb 20, 2016

Last autumn’s Silva Part 1: O Horizon announced itself as a “contemporary art project that follows the thematic path from the microcosms of the forest floor, to the quantifying and processing of lumber, to the global distribution of forest products.” The mission remains the same in Part II, though the cast of artists, writers and storytellers has more than doubled.

Participants in Booming Grounds include Carol Sawyer, whose video Wood Work (2011) is made up of digitally manipulated film footage of logging and sawmill activity shot by Alfred E. Booth in Depression-era Vancouver. Another logging-related video is Kathy Slade’s Tugboat (2007), featuring a tugboat “pulling a donut” off the docks of East Vancouver. An equally playful work is the “forest gallery” of the late George Sawchuk, a former logger who devoted the last half of his life to a whimsical blend of art and activism.

As he did for the NAG’s coal-oriented Black Diamond Dust exhibition of 2014, resident curator Jesse Birch has taken a resource vital to the economic development of Vancouver Island and fashioned from it a project that speaks dialectically to those who have benefitted from – and suffered for – its natural and commodified forms.


Michael Turner

 Sun, Feb 7, 2016