The Story of "Unsettled"

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

In 2018 I was awarded the Elbow Room Residency Program at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery. Through this program, I was given access to a studio at The Rooms from April - August, support from the amazing gallery staff, and time to work towards an exhibition that opened in September. The entire process was an incredible experience.

The idea for this exhibition started from my series of small collages for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. After finishing that project, I wondered what it would be like to take these structures, scale them up, and suspend them in a gallery space. This would allow people to walk around and between them, and shift the focus from the individual buildings but how they interact with each other. I developed paper prototypes of what this might look like, drawing inspiration from the book "Ten Historic Towns: Heritage Architecture in Newfoundland" and the Historic Colours of Newfoundland colour palette.

I spent time thinking about how colour and the buildings we live in constructs our identity in this province, and how the communities we live in, and the communities we leave behind, are so significant to our idea of home. To create the works, I made watercolour drawings from the Ten Historic Towns book, then tested them in my studio by turning the drawings into hanging prototypes made out of foam core. When I was happy with their design I created digital drawings of them so they could be cut at a large scale.

These structures went from small and light to very large and heavy, now being cut from plywood and ready to assemble. After they were primed, painted, and sanded, they started to look like giant puzzle pieces to be put together.

I also created a mural for the gallery space on five MDF panels depicting a community from afar. I wanted this piece to suggest the town across the bay, a place that might be a past just left behind or a future home only starting to take shape.

The title "Unsettled" references a feeling of displacement, when your roots have been pulled up and you're trying to create a home in a new place or season of life. It also offers a nod to our long history of resettlement, where houses literally floated on water. Lastly, the title brings to my mind the expression we say when a house creaks and groans in changing weather, it's just the house "settling".

The final exhibition hung in the gallery space brought me so much joy and it was incredible to see this project finally come together. It depicted the building blocks of community, and explored the idea of "home", with an outstanding essay written by Matthew Hollett capturing my intention perfectly. The exhibition was on display from September 21, 2018 - January 20, 2019. Thank you to everyone who helped make this experience possible and visited the exhibition, your support has been amazing!

Stay tuned for more incredible images soon to come!


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