What comes After Eden? Visual and performance artist Stephanie Kellett and sound artist Robert Livingood explore this question in a multi-media exhibition at the Kootenay Gallery of Art.
Kellett and Livingood are life partners as well as artistic partners, based in Nelson, BC. The pair have traveled on several occasions to central and northern BC and Yukon, spending months in the wilderness. In their most recent excursion to Yukon, they came across very little wildlife and crisp, dry tundra.
With this exhibition, the artists express the increasing emptiness of the northern landscape that they experienced on recent journeys. Kellett has created a series of portraits of animals, such as wolves, caribou, and salmon. The paintings feature silhouettes of the species on an abstracted background, imprinted with a ghostly image on top, leaving the viewer with the impression of loss. Together, Kellett and Livingood created a short video featuring Kellett as a figure in mourning floating on the barren expanse. The ethereal figure searches for indications of the abundant wildlife that once occupied the now empty space. To complete the exhibition, Livingood crafted work in situ, using field recordings and analogue synthesizer. The subtle and eerie sound piece loops continuously throughout the gallery.
As calamitous climate events escalate around the globe, people are displaying classic symptoms of grief, including anger, depression and denial. While these emotional states are often intangible, the tender work by Livingood and Kellett materializes the losses. As witnesses to these losses, the exhibition offers viewers an opportunity to reflect on and to re-engage with the climate crisis from a new place.
In conjunction with the exhibition, adult educator and therapist, Jan Inglis is offering a workshop entitled “Grief, Grit, and Gratitude: Developing Resilience in the Face of Climate Crisis”. This workshop will take place at the Kootenay Gallery of Art on April 18 from 1:00 – 4:30, (right after the artist talk. The exhibition will remain up until mid-July)
Written by Maggie Shirley
Curator of Kootenay Gallery of Art