Beany Dootjes, Jason Trotter, and Troy Nickle
Exhibition Dates: September 25th - November 2nd
Opening Reception: September 28 2019
The southern Alberta landscape is measured equally by the extraordinary uniqueness of our natural surroundings and how the bearing of human-kind shifts our connectedness. The menacing gusts of the Chinook winds challenge the foundations of our built environments and yet are met with the promise of opening us from the confines of our chillier climes. Conversely, the harnessing of those winds have seen wind turbines swoosh to life along the Lundbreck Ridge to the west, the Blue Trail to the south and the Milk River Ridge to the east.
The exhibition OUTSIDE, IN brings together three artists - Beany Dootjes, Troy Nickle and Jason Trotter - a group of working professionals who each practice in a blurring array of mediums providing the opportunity to find insights to reawaken their audience(s) to the beauty, natural and man-made, that surrounds us.
This exhibition is a study in strikingly difficult and beautiful balances. It will encourage its audience to look within and without while maintaining a strong sense of immediacy.
Guest Directed by Laura Kenwood
As an artist my work may encompass a variety of ideas and processes derived from a study of natural phenomenon and connections between nature and culture, time and temporality and the cosmos and us. I am a multidisciplinary artist and use a variety of mediums. My practice may involve collaborations with scientists, creating site-specific interventions, sculpture, installation, photography, printmaking, painting, drawing or book works.
Many of my site-specific interventions evolve from hiking in the river valleys, mountains, forests and even city alleys where I discover many of the materials that I use in my work such as plants, wood, bark, stone, moss, mud, snow and found materials. When I create an installation or a site-specific intervention my focus is as much on the surrounding space as on the materials themselves. A connection between myself, the material I am working with and the site will develop. From these connections I seek to express the potential of the material, to explore it, further understand it, and allow it to be seen in new and altered ways. I am interested in the relationship between the various forms these materials can embody and the conceptual associations these materials have in relation to place.
For some reason a lot of my works are made from trees or in collaboration with trees. I think I am drawn to the presence of the tree and the calming effect of trees. I create site-specific interventions with trees; sculptures carved from logs and create woodcut prints that reveal the intricate growth ring patterns within the tree. The undulating contours and lines of the rings in the prints fascinate me. I enjoy discovering the age of the tree by counting the rings, (dendrochronology) and am intrigued at how scientists can understand the climate through the patterns found within the growth rings, (dendroclimatology). Through my work I seek to bring nature to the forefront of our experiences and allow us to expand on our understanding of life, and our role within it.
The pieces in Outside In include two series of hand-coloured drawings, one of which focuses on the poplar tree and its changes over the four seasons, and the other which concentrates on specimens from the Coutts’ Centre gardens. Admiring a rich history of scientific botanical illustration, Dootjes deploys a simplified graphic line to capture intricate details. She then hand-colours the drawings to emphasize the nuances of the samples and to become more intimate with their personal characteristics.
With the orbs, collectively known as “Warmth”, the textile practice of wool felting and the notion of the life-saving properties of this material (as defined in the works of Joseph Beuys) reflects the emotional and tactile life-long experience that Dootjes has to fiber. Using a hollow spherical form to suggest interior/exterior space, dwellings or nests, she continues to experiment with size, colour, and presentation.
This work connects me with my artistic roots. As a young, aspiring artist, I found myself transfixed by the artwork found on the walls and halls of the inner city and the rolling canvas of the railyards. Living in Edmonton, I was immersed in the street art realm and engaged with the works of street artists and writers, an experience that to this day greatly influences my art practice. Street art can be misunderstood due to the fact that the work is not produced in a controlled environment. The message can be lost in the medium.
Over the years, I have explored a variety of different backdrops on which to write a story. The material on which I paint is as important as the subjects themselves. The organic, tactile quality of jute, the cold rawness of steel, or the strong but delicate elements of wood, all impact the direction of my work and help me define a place and time. The materials are reflective of the urban environment and allow me to bring the outside in.
I hope the viewer will see the humour and subtlety of this work and not be consumed by an underlying meaning or agenda. The old cliché “it is what it is” holds true in this case. Like a train that passes in the night or a letter from an old friend – just enjoy the moment!