The Nanaimo Art Gallery will present eight artists and their varied responses to the work of a man whose poetry and art through exploration and documentation allowed him to intimately observe “spaces between rural and urban experience” .
“Fielding Road” is not only a two and a half month gallery exhibition of the work of Peter Culley, but also a series of events and performances throughout Nanaimo.
NAG curator Jesse Birch said the show’s name is derived from a road Culley often visited with his dog Shasta.
“We see Fielding Road more as a metaphor than an actual site that is part of the show. It’s a site that was very important to Peter Culley – like this space between the rural and the urban – and also a space that reclaims nature. It was really important to him as a poet and as a photographer,” Birch said.
According to an art gallery press release, the causeway was cut from its original use when a freeway was built in the 1990s, and in Culley’s trial Walking in Nanaimo, he wrote: “By the time I rediscovered it, it had become a picturesque ruin – the thick pavement of moss and accumulated leaves and needles, the cracked and darkened yellow partitions under the canopy of conifers, d alders, maples and strawberry trees. Another colony of crows noisily dominates the stretch along the landfill, scattering shards of packing and bone, draping long strips of plastic from the trees.
Birch co-curated the exhibit with Elisa Ferrari, who had known Culley before his death in 2015, and the two worked on the project for more than a year before it opened.
The artists in the exhibition were selected for their different media styles and their interest in Culley’s work.
“Culley has been an important person for the gallery for many years. It was part of the first exhibition I curated here, ‘Black Diamond Dust’ in 2014,” Birch said, and added that in the post for Black Diamond Dust, one of Culley’s poems referenced Fielding. Road. “So maybe the germination of this project started even with that, seven years ago.”
Visual artists Maya Beaudry and Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes, who worked together in dialogue but produced separate pieces, responded to Culley’s online material, based in part on his “Mosses from an Old Manse” blog. In their work, they have used his images to create and transform digital media into sculptural and printed objects.
“It’s just nice to see this era that reminds us of Tumblr – or something before social media that was so strictly Instagram and now oversaturated, this kind of style of photography… iphone photography and composing… And [Culley’s] the composition just feels like a precursor to that. So all of his photos are super nice that way, that point-and-shoot way. It’s like a not too distant nostalgia… a lot of tight cultures and unique subjects,” said Kriangwiwat Holmes.
“And the way the blog takes you on these walks through Nanaimo. How you inhabit someone’s point of view,” Beaudry added.
Until October 2, additional artistic responses to Culley’s work can also be seen and experienced by Megan Hepburn, Crotch, Will Holder, Sky Hopinka, and Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback.
As part of the exhibition, there will be two designated walks hosted by the gallery on August 27, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., for which online registration is required via the gallery’s website, www.nanaimoartgallery.ca.
A related event at Cavalotti Lodge on July 16 included a performance by Thrasher and Saddleback. On September 1 at 5 p.m., Thrasher and Saddleback will perform at Nanaimo Night Market along Commercial Street as part of the Fielding Road Expo.
The latest scheduled event will be a reading at the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver on September 22.
For the gallery exhibition, there is an allergy alert for those who wish to attend, as some of the artworks contain aromatic materials.
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