Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder

Gros Morne National Park,  Newfoundland,  Canada
In this post I will speak about my participation in the exhibition Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder curated by Gloria Hickey and Philipa Jones for the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I saw the call in early 2014 on Gloria Hickey's blog and sent a proposal.
Beginning With Time: Day  2015  Judith e Martin  plant dyed blanket wool on re-claimed and over-dyed wool blankets
 90" x 78"  two sided

Here is the call to enter

Fibre Explorations of Gros Morne National Park

The unique natural and cultural wonders of Gros Morne range in scale from the epic to the microscopic to the sublime.  Wild, uninhabited mountains, towering cliffs of a freshwater fjord carved out by glaciers, wind-wizened tuckamore, technicolour lichens, textural fossils.  The history of those who lived in the region and who live there today bring a human response to the spirituality of the landscape.  You are invited to dig deep and create a proposal for an artwork that can be a conduit for yourself - and for visitors - to a deeper visual and emotional experience of Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and the venue for the Fibre Arts NL 2015 Conference.  Let the wonders of Gros Morne inspire you to explore your own wilderness.
rows of coniferous trees climb the cliffs along the highway between Deer Lake and Gros Morne

I was inspired by the words wild, pure, aesthetic and wonder.   My proposal stated that I would create a new work based on the ideas that a) unconscious memories and dreams are unlocked by the sense of touch, b) an emotional experience (such as wonder) gives self-revelation, and c) large spaces filled with subtle small marks distract us just enough to allow for deep contemplation.

beginning with time: night detail  2015  judith e martin
I had never been to Newfoundland but those tourism commercials have been calling.
fjord - western brook pond Gros Morne Newfoundland Canada
I live on Manitoulin Island, a large island in Lake Huron, Ontario Canada.  Manitoulin is the largest island in a freshwater lake in the world.   Would that make my life experience similar to someone living on Newfoundland?   I asked Ned to go to Gros Morne Newfoundland with me in September of 2014.
Betinning with Time: Night  2015  by Judith e Maritn  hand stitch on repurposed wool blanket, a two sided piece,
this is the night side
I found out that my proposal was accepted fairly quickly and began dyeing yards of blanket weight cloth to use in the new work.  I wrote about my process through the summer and fall on this blog. I was so inspired by this project that I considered creating several large wool blanket pieces that would hang as a walk-in installation some day.  I want my viewer to feel enveloped by the intimate marks and be overwhelmed by the scale.  We are just specks within this awesome natural world.  

We did go to Newfoundland.
Ned and I flew to Deer Lake in September 2014 and I was gratified to see how the landscape was like I had imagined.  I kept on with my vertical rows of green stitch that represented the tree covered cliffs of Gros Morne.
We rented a car and explored the many small communities of Gros Morne park and area.  They have wonderful names like Woody Point, Sally's Cove and Neddie's Harbour.  We also drove up the Great Northern Peninsula to L'Anse aux Meadows and back again.  I wrote about that trip here and here.
western brook pond (inland fjord) in Gros Morne national park, Newfoundland
The curators, Gloria Hickey and Philipa Jones were very supportive throughout 2014 during the creation of my piece. I had two phone meetings with them and sent photos of the work in progress.

Today I listened to Gloria speak during a walk through of the exhibition.  She said " I wanted the artists to make work that they wanted to make.  I'm the midwife, not the mom."

May I take this opportunity to thank the Craft Council, the curators and the other artists who make up this exhibition.  The show can be viewed at this link.
beginning with time: night detail of sleeve.  (two sided piece this is the night side)
The exhibition continues at the craft council gallery in St. John's until April 25 and then it moves to the Woody Point Discovery Centre in Gros Morne in May.  It will be up through the season until the end of the Fibre Conference on October 18.  I am proud to be included.

The photos in this post of my piece were taken by Nick Dubecki.  More of his photos here.  Philipa Jones took some of the St. John's installation.  View here.


Mo Crow said...

what a beautiful response to the landscape

Bethany Garner said...

Many congratulations Judy on the completion and sharing of this marvelous treasure you have created, celebrating the land, the forests, the colours and the light of Gros Morn and area. We are blessed to have your art as a reminder of the glory and stunning beauty of this land we live in.
Very best wishes for a sacred re-visit to the area in October when your students will have the chance to sit with you and stitch - slow stitch.
Thank you...always.

mansuetude said...


Would love to see a series of these
Your hand mind heart interpretation of Earth's now magesty. National Treasure
Comes to mind, again.

Beautiful beautiful ...
Thank you.

Velma Bolyard said...

ah, this is so beautiful and very exciting to see the whole story, so to speak.

Heather said...

You capture the feeling of Newfoundland so well - I love St. John's but there is so much more to that land.

Vivien Zepf said...

The work is lovely and very inspiring.

gloria said...

Your work is a dream come true for me Judy! This is what art is for.

Penny Berens said...

Dear Judy, you simply blow me away.... What a powerful response to Gros Morne. Just brilliant.

jeanne hewell-chambers said...

YAY - I'll get to see this beauty live and in person. The places you photographed, too. I can't wait.