A Gust of Wind

Group exhibition at DNA Artspace, London, Ontario
October 2015
curated by Patrick Mahon

This group exhibition and panel discussion was organized by artist Patrick Mahon, whose work was presented in the exhibition, along with mine and that of Canadian artists Sean Caulfield (Edmonton, AB); David Merritt (London, ON); Tegan Moore (London, ON); Francine Savard (Montreal, Q.C.), and Norwegian artist, Elida Brenna Linge.
“Through photography, painting, sculpture, print media and video, the artists respond to the wind through a range of visual strategies that remind us of its power and its delicacy. They also show us that we may often know the wind less through our eyes than through its touch and its effects on physical materials.” PM

I spent a few days installing two installations and an intervention, if you want to call them something, although I prefer the titles, which I borrowed from Fernando Pessoa’s Keeper of Sheep poems, written under the heteronym Alberto Caeiro. (see below).

Much gratitude to Randi Aiken for her assistance in London.

i find it so natural not to think that sometimes I start laughing, all by myself*
With the slightest air movement, these things turn slowly and send reflected lines of light in fast spin on surfaces around them.

because something lightens in us**
A drawing composed of strips of transparent and reflective mylar responds to air displaced by someone walking past. Shown here in daylight, and with one halogen light positioned overhead.

Pessoa sources:

from A Keeper of Sheep


I find it so natural not to think
That I sometimes start laughing, all by myself,
About I don’t know quite what, but it has to do
With there being people who think…

What does my wall think about my shadow?
Sometimes I wonder about this until I realize
I’m wondering about things…
And then I feel annoyed and out of sorts with myself,
As if I’d realized my foot was asleep…

What does one thing think about another?
Nothing thinks anything.
Is the earth aware of the stones and plants it contains?
If it were, it would be a person,
And if it were a person, it would have a person’s nature, it wouldn’t be the earth.
But what does all this matter to me?
If I thought about these things,
I would stop seeing the trees and plants
And I would stop seeing the Earth,
Seeing nothing but my thoughts…
I would grow sad and remain in the dark.
The way I am, without thinking, I have the Earth and the Sky.

(from  A Little Larger than the Entire Universe, edited and translated by Richard Zenith)


Those soapbubbles that kid
Amuses himself with by blowing them from a straw
Are transparently a whole philosophy.

Clear, useless and fleeting like Nature,
Friends to the eyes like things,
They are what they are
With a little round airy precision,
And nobody, not even the kid who’s making them,
Pretends they’re more than they appear to be.

Some are hard to see in the clear air.
They’re like a breeze that blows and barely touches the flowers
And we only know it’s blowing
Because something lightens in us
And accepts everything more clearly.

from Alberto Caeiro: Complete Poems: Fernando Pessoa

January light, so light


polyester, mylar, steel wire
in situ

During January’s brief days three installations respond to available light and air movement at the McClure Gallery.

In Spinning World (version écran), installed near the large front window, a subtle show of lines of light appear most of the day. This bit of light is cast onto frosted mylar panels from assemblies of cut polyester attached to curved wires which turn slowly with any breeze from the opening gallery door. But between 3 and 3:30 pm on sunny days, light reflecting off windows across the street illuminates these spinners which in turn cast bright trains of light across the mylar panels.

Sans titre (light study 01/2015) is a simple assembly of mirroed mylar panels suspended to respond to changing air currents, in turn reflecting even the slightest glimmer of daylight onto a sheet of paper hung nearby. Even days of heavy snowfall days cast light “shows” on the paper.

A few halogen lights, however, help illuminate Vie étendue (feelers) on a wall where the only daylight reflects off the white surfaces of those adjacent to it. Strips of polyester film are suspended from wires inserted into this wall, which is hung with backdrop paper. The strips move gently with changes in air from the door opening or a visitor walking past, reflecting incongruously curved lines of light on the paper.

Galerie McClure, Westmount, Quebec

The Weight of Light

plastic, fishline, glass beads, steel thread & frames; aluminum & monofilament
in situ

Thousands of discs cut from plastic water bottles are threaded together into masses suspended in an atrium to follow the path of the Milky Way overhead on summer nights. Along the wall, groups of spinal-curved arcs threaded with monofilament form a path of lines against which anyone pausing to rest appears to hover.

Permanent installation at Cirque du Soleil Headquarters, Montreal, Canada (corporate collection)

(My Life on) Film

polyester film, monofilament, plywood bench (daylight, air movement)
in situ

Sheets of clear polyester film are cut in strips and suspended in a daylit room with open windows, weather conditions articulated by reflected light in motion. One large swath, at the aspect ratio of a 16 mm film, sinuously reflects outside buildings;  individual sheets hover above the floor, rippling waterily with air movement.

La Biennale de Montréal (2011)