19 Jun

Prairie Adventures

This summer is going to be a Prairie Adventure, two residencies, and a lovely slow trip across the Canadian Prairies. Tuesday morning, June 20 2017, I leave along with artist Anne O’Callaghan for the long drive to Saskatoon to be part of Linda Duvall’s In The Hole residency. http://www.lindaduvall.com/ . This is followed by a residency at Medalta Museum in Medicine Hat which includes an exhibition in collaboration with Calgary based artist Laura Vickerson, in one of the historic Beehive kilns. More about this later…

In The Hole is a short-term art residency located in an earthen hole on Treaty 6 territory in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. In The Hole will feature up to forty four participants from across Canada, Europe and US who will spend 6 hours with artist/curator Linda Duvall, and a video camera. This series of 6-hour blocks will transpire regardless of wind, sun, rain, hail, or non-human visitors on a daily basis for the entire run of the exhibition from May 5 to June 30, 2017.
Each six-hour block will be projected with sound into the PAVED Arts Gallery, set into an installation about In The Hole project by Linda Duvall.

June 25, 2017 is the date I will be in the hole…

Increasingly, I am interested in long looking and the idea of getting into a hole for six hours and responding is intriguing. The hole, situated in the unique landscape of the Prairies, a temperate grassland, an ecological region of Canada is the perfect site to reveal an intricate world of flora, fauna, time and history. I am excited to experience and record my first view of this unique biome in a visceral way, through all my senses – sight, sound, smell and touch.

In preparation for this project I have been researching and exploring earth pigments, clay, sand, prairie grasses and water. I have imagined several scenarios or activities that might occur during my residency and each bit of research generates more ideas, more possibilities but it will be the long looking, the direct experience that will guide my activity and is yet to be imagined.
What will I find there? What will I bring? What will I leave? What will I take away?

A special note from Linda Duvall this morning revealed that a group of bank swallows has joined the hole. They have been very busy digging nests in the walls, and currently seem to be sitting on eggs. They are very used to people being with them and their holes, but swoop around quite a bit. Everyone has gone ahead and done what they planned, but have been careful not to disturb their holes. It has been a quite curious development and one I will treasure to see. I will keep you posted.

10 Mar

The Reveal

This is pretty late as a post but I thought I would end the story of my amazing Artist in Residence experience of 2013 at Ganna Walska Lotusland, Montecito California www.lotusland.org and the exhibition Swarm: Collaboration with Bees before I start on my next adventure.

Every two years Lotusland has been mounting incredible International exhibitions that take a look at the ecology of the garden.  In 2013 the concern about bees and colony collapse was in the zeitgeist and Lotusland as a leader in sustainable garden practices, and the preservation of endangered plant species devoted this biennial to bees and their relationship to biodiversity and life.   I was lucky enough to be selected as the Artist in Residence and spent a month creating Daphne, a beeswax architectural intervention inspired by the garden and housed in the Pavilion Gallery on the 37 acres estate. to see more images of Daphne        penelopestewart.ca/category/daphne/

penelope stewart Daphne succulent wall2

penelope stewart Daphne tile and object wall 2


The opening reception was fantastic as was the general attendance during the run of the exhibition.  Nancy Gifford, curator and Gwen Stauffer the Executive Director of Lotusland organized events such as film, dance and tours throughout the three month run.  One such event was an invitation to the Santa Barbara Poet community to write poems inspired by Daphne and the garden.  This group wrote over thirty poems which was such a rich gift in response to my beeswax intervention.

bee 1

Barrel Cacti in bloom

Though this project was 2 years ago it lives strongly in my memory and continues to inspire my current practice.

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